I finished my posh frock for the Exeter Museum dinner I mentioned back in August, and it was a success! I made two versions in the end. The navy silk (above) for the dinner, and a shorter practice dress in black linen/viscose to wear on holiday (below). I wanted to wear a version of the dress before cutting into the silk – especially because I’ve not sewn silk before.
I’m so pleased with both of them. They’re very comfortable and the wrap at the front is flattering and feels so glamourous. The wrap is a separate piece with a pencil skirt underneath.
It wasn’t a difficult make, much easier than I thought it would be. The bodice gathers fit into the bottom half of the side panel, which is very neat. I did sew the side panel on upside down at one stage – having no printed markings on the pattern pieces is confusing. I marked the waist edges on my traced pieces in the end, which really helped.
The pleating on the skirt confused me at first, but I took it slowly and used tailor tacks in three different colours for the different symbols. There are pleats within pleats!
This pattern was in the right bust size for me, which I recommend if you are tackling a vintage pattern. I’ve just read Mad Women by Jane Maas . She was a real life Peggy Olsen and is in her eighties now. It’s very entertaining and fascinating to read the truth behind the myths – actually, most of the myths are true. She says that one of the things she remembers most about fashion of the time is how uncomfortable the underpinnings were. So I decide to forego authenticity and increase the waist and hip measurements!
I used my serger to finish the seams. How you would finish the waist seam with all those pleats is beyond me. I decided not to bone the bodice and don’t feel it needs extra support.
I have plans for another dress using this pattern for next summer, with a modified skirt. Single layer, with a few pleats instead of the over skirt, to make more of a day time dress.
Total for both dresses: £78