To be fair, there have been a number of changes of plan through the week. The fabric is one of my UseNine2020 choices, and the intention was to make it up using this pattern.
|Plan A - Advance 2229, 1939|
Unfortunately, it is missing the collar and sleeve pieces. However, a few weeks ago I spotted another 1939 pattern for sale which had a similar sleeve, so I snapped it up.
|Plan B - Du Barry sleeves on an Advance dress|
I redrafted the bodice of the Advance pattern, shortening it and using the armscye of the Du Barry pattern pieces. I also slightly redrafted the skirt, as the centre back piece bears no resemblance to the actual shape of my behind!
|Comparing sleeve pieces, and the 'never going to work' skirt|
The fabric was a remnant which I bought some years ago because I liked the retro print. Stupidly, I hadn't checked it before I started this project, and when I finally unfolded it I discovered that it was far smaller than I remembered. There was no way that even I was going to be able to squeeze this dress out of the fabric I had.
The main problem was the full, flared skirt, which just eats yardage. So, I decided to abandon the idea of a dress with buttons all the way down and instead have a buttoned bodice, a straight skirt, and a side placket. For this I turned to my tried and trusted CC41 dress pattern. Even this didn't fit on the cloth available, so further economies were needed. The bodice front has a self facing, which makes it very wide, and therefore difficult to fit on the material with other pieces (the fabric is an odd 133cm/52½" wide), so I split that into separate bodice and facing pieces. This was far less wasteful of fabric.
Finally, there was the issue of the missing collar. I wasn't keen on the plain round neckline, but nor did I have enough spare material for a collar adapted from the Du Barry pattern. Then I noticed the tiny illustration at the bottom left of the pattern envelope.
This was View 3, with a shaped neckline, and it was perfect. Finding it on the pattern was another matter, though. Most of the unprinted patterns which I have used before have had a clear key and/or diagram in the instructions, explaining what all the perforations mean. The Advance pattern did not, it was up to the maker to decipher them. The Du Barry pattern was the same.
|Bodice front piece, with lots of perforations|
(This is why I would recommend that anyone wanting to try using a true vintage pattern, rather than a reissue or a vintage-style pattern such as Gertie's, starts off with one from the Big Five - Butterick, McCall's, Simplicity, Style or Vogue. The information may not be presented in the same way as on modern patterns, but it is all there somewhere. I consider myself a fairly experienced dressmaker, but I found this pattern taxing.)
I don't know whether it was my poor drafting, but after all that the end result barely shows the curved shaping at all (I tucked some white fabric underneath to show the shape more clearly). It might be more visible in a plainer fabric. I do like the little notched effect, though.
|The finished neckline|
Then there were the sleeves. I've never made anything with the structured, darted, style of sleeve head before, and hadn't realised that it involved quite so many darts. Plus, there were a further three to shape the sleeve at the elbow. For someone whose pet dressmaking peeve is transferring pattern markings, this was torture!
|My Darts Hell|
I also made a mistake with the sleeve openings. The raw edges are finished with binding, and this should have been attached in such a way as to create an underlap so that the sleeve edges meet when the sleeve is closed. I just turned the raw edges under and bound them, so the sleeve has to overlap slightly to be closed. Fortunately I have both thin wrists, and teeny tiny vintage snaps to minimise the overlap!
So this catalogue of quirks and changes is my excuse for why it is now November and I do not have an October dress. However, now there are 'just' the snaps on the placket and the hem to do, so hopefully I will have a completed dress to photograph soon.
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