Sunday, 27 September 2020

'New' sewing techniques

I've been working on Style 2630 this week, and finding parts of it quite challenging. It's a fairly simple dress, but like Style 2912 (also from 1979), there are some construction techniques which are entirely unfamiliar.

I'm making view 1

The first thing which I found odd was the complete lack of interfacing. Not even the cuffs or the collar have any. Suggested fabric include soft cottons, rayon, crepe, wool/cotton blends and fine jersey, so clearly the design is intended to be entirely unstructured. I did consider using a very fine iron-on interfacing for the collar and cuffs, but decided to stick to the recommended method - time will tell whether or not this was a good idea!

The method used for the front opening made no sense at all when I read the instructions; but I followed them to the letter, and they did work. The two pieces are sewn together along the stitching line ('1' in the picture below), then one side is snipped to the top of the sewing (the green circle), and the other to the small dot ('2'). The top sections are folded back along line '3' to form the facings, and then overlapped and sewn across the bottom.

Dress front pattern piece

This means that there is a pleat running down the front of the dress, with the front seam hidden inside it.

The completed front - lying flat, and turned back to show the seam

The dress front and back are sewn together at the sides, with the all-important in-seam pockets. Then the sleeves are made up and the cuffs added, and sewn to the dress. At this point I realised that I had an incredibly wide dress, which had to be gathered onto quite a small yoke!

Small yoke . . .

. . . big dress!

Joing the two was a long job, not helped by my rash choice to do all the gathering on a single thread rather than in sections. Although the illustration shows the dress gathered all round the yoke, it actually turned out with most of the gathers on the sleeves and back, with relatively little on the front. This seems rather odd, but all the marks and notches definitely matched up.

The completed back

The front, with facings turned back

The pattern just has a single layer for the yoke, but this was one thing which I did change. Even if I overlocked the seam allowance, it just seemed terribly untidy, and a lot of weight of dress hanging off a thin yoke. I used some of the soft cotton left over from my Victorian drawers and chemise to make a facing, which I will slip stitch into place round the bottom. The top edge will be inside the collar.

The facing pinned in place

I'm really not sure how this dress is going to turn out. I tried it on, and without collar, buttons or belt it looked very. . . baggy. Hopefully these additions will improve it. On the plus side, it is quite warm. I did a burn test on a scrap of fabric, and that confirmed my suspicion that it's a wool-cotton blend. Using a fabric recommended on the pattern envelope - this may be a first for me!


  1. I am old enough to remember when this style of dress was popular. It was called a "chemise" style, and my mother made me a similar dress out of a lovely floral polyester knit. I looked up Vogue patterns from the 1970s on Etsy, and there they were! What a nice trip down memory labe.

    1. Thanks for the comment Brigitta. Etsy has been the source of a number of my 1970s Style patterns.