Sunday, 18 April 2021

Current progress and future plans

My hand is taking an annoyingly long time to recover. I can sew a little, but only for short periods. (One thing I've noticed in the last couple of years is that any sort of injury takes far longer to mend than it used to - the joys of ageing!) So not a lot of progress has been made with my dress. I do at least have a completed (albeit unhemmed) skirt, and an almost completed bodice now.

The unusual shape and construction of the 1935 blouse which I'm using for the bodice meant that I seemed to spend a lot of time sewing apparently random raw edges together, before a blouse-shaped article eventually appeared. It was also difficult to neaten the edges as I went along, because I couldn't work out what was going to become of that edge later on. Having my previous version to hand, to use as reference, was very helpful.

Seams everywhere

The blouse front is shaped with three vertical tucks from the waistline on each side. I wanted the middle tuck to line up with the seams of the central skirt panel, and realised early on that I had calculated its position wrongly. The easiest solution was to leave the tucks until both skirt and bodice were made up but, even then, the correct placement eluded me. Eventually, I decided that the best thing to do was write it up in my new sewing notebook and - it worked! There was just something about showing my workings out (complete with diagram) in my best writing, which seemed to move my brain up a gear.

Success! All this . . .

. . . led to this - matching seams!

There has been one advantage to my slow progress. The skirt has a side opening and as I didn't have a suitable zip, I was resigned to making a side placket with press studs. However, by the time I actually got round to this part, non-essential retail had reopened in England, including fabric shops.

I only popped in for a zip and some more curved petersham, honest. Well, you don't need me to tell you how that ended! During lockdown, I'd treated myself to a pair of American Duchess Harriets in blue, and decided that I quite fancied a blouse and skirt to go with them (yes, my foray into the world of separates continues). A 'quick look' through the "suiting" remnants bin turned up a perfect mid-blue fabric with a narrow red check.

The fabric, with the shoes

I'm actually going to cheat a bit with the skirt. View 2 of this 1970s Style pattern has a very similar look, and is in my size (unlike the Simplicity pattern, which is actually two sizes smaller). So, rather than redraft the Simplicity pattern, I’m going to alter the Style one to use period construction techniques. I'm hoping that with careful cutting out, I might be able to eke a waistcoat front out of the remaining fabric as well.

Simplicity 2480 from 1937 and Style 2025 from 1977

Part of the reason for choosing this particular remnant was that I knew it would go well with this length of Liberty lawn which has lurked in my stash for years, and which I want to use for a 1940s blouse.

Stashed blouse fabric with the skirt length

The Stashometer has been pushed further into the red by this, but hopefully not for long. However, I really do want to finish the dress before I start anything else, as otherwise it will definitely get pushed to the back of the queue and become a PHD*.


* - Project Half Done. It sounds so much more impressive than UFO (UnFinished Object!)


  1. LoL! I love PHD, yes much more impressive. I have two Liberty fabric pieces about a yard and a smidge that I have stashed since...1978. It's the art nouveau design, which makes it a bit challenging (obviously).

    1. Wow, 1978, that's impressive! Yes, some of the Liberty designs are lovely, but hard to work into clothing.