Sunday, 28 February 2021

Vogue 9546 completed

Well, it didn't end up in the bin! Despite last week's traumas with the midsection, I now have a completed dress that I'm very happy with.

Anyone who remembers my #UseNine2021 choices from January will have twigged that this wasn't a planned project for the year. It all started with this year's #vintagevalentinechallenge and the prompt 'Accessories'. I posted a picture of my straw bag, along with the lament that I don't use it much because it doesn't go with anything I own. Then remembered this fabric in my stash, which I thought might have similar colours. It does, as the colour dots on the selvedge show, and the leaf shape is a good match too.

Perfect pairing!

It's a fine cotton which I bought years ago on a whim because I really liked the colours and design. Initially I had no idea what to do with it, but then I found a thin, silky, satin in exactly the same shade of red, and had the idea to make the two-tone version of Vogue 9546. My UK pattern has a black and white envelope, and as a result it's not obvious that this is an option (although the yardage requirements section does mention it). It's far clearer on the US version of the illustration.

British and American pattern envelopes

I made the original dress back in 2015, and while it still fits, it could do with some minor alterations – not least to fix the ungraded sleeves!

Version 1

I discovered a novel problem when cutting out the blouse section. Regular readers (thank you!) will know that I am normally trying to coax a three-metre dress out of two metres of fabric. This time I had plenty of yardage to play with, but the issue was placement of the pattern pieces. I wanted the point at the bottom of the blouse to be as much green as possible, to contrast with the red of the skirt. The best way of doing this left the blouse front consisting almost entirely of red leaves and green background, but I wanted a reasonable quantity of the floral sections to appear. At the same time, however, there was also the need to avoid 'boob flowers'!

So much fabric!

In the end, I was very pleased with the way that the pattern flows across the blouse front.

The completed blouse

Satin didn't feel right for a day dress, so I used the fabric wrong side out. As the pattern dates from 1942, my 'story' for this dress was that it was made when clothes rationing was in full swing, and its owner had Made Do and Mended by creating something from the less worn parts of a cotton dress, and an old 1930s evening gown such as this one from National Museums Liverpool's Putting on the Glitz exhibition.

Silk satin evening dress, 1932-5

I was resigned to having to make a placket opening and sew on a lot of press studs, not my favourite job. Then, miraculously, I discovered that I actually had a zip of the right length and colour in my zip collection – possibly the first time this has ever happened!

The instructions for the tie at the front were still beyond me, so instead I snipped some of the covered buttons off my fictional 1930s dress and used these for decoration. Although it was impossible to photograph, the satin makes a good contrast with the rest of the dress.

Satin buttons against a matte background

I talked my friend D into acting as photographer again (I had warned him last time that he would come to regret making such a good job of the role!) but unfortunately, the day we chose turned out to be the one dull day in a sunny spell. On top of that, my hair steadfastly refused to play ball with whatever styles I tried to get it into, so regrettably it looks very non-period (although a passer-by did make my day by saying "Ooh, very 1940s" as she walked past us).

The completed dress, with the bag

On the plus side, my American Duchess oxblood 'Marilyns' had arrived that morning, and were a perfect match for the dress in both style and colour.

New shoes!

So I've now got a dress which goes with my bag, and it's chipped away at a bit more of the stash. I've also decided to join in with the #fabrichoardchallenge hosted by @jabbadal, and this is my first contribution; hopefully the first of many.

Six metres used so far


  1. As you know I always enjoy your posts. This one struck a cord on many points - finally finding a use for an unusal zip, buying fabric because it's gorgeous but no other reason - and then years later not having enough of it and then having to make weird joins! I like your determination to work through the stash. My main plan for all the scraps is yet another quilt. But the pile of scraps is not diminishing.

    1. Thank you Kate. Because I have a physical fabric shop nearby, I tend to shop there rather than online, so sewing from stash is my only option at present (it also goes some way to explaining the alarming size of said stash). I fear that my dedication will waver once non-essential retail can open again, however!