Sunday, September 19, 2010

just playing around.

I'm still working out the details of the 1950s cocktail dress project, but suffice it to say that it will involve pattern grading skills & the blending of more than one vintage pattern.

Advance 5737

I bought this 1940s pattern on ebay because I liked the neckline & draping at shoulders. To help prepare for constructing the '50s cocktail dress, I decided to grade this '40s pattern down to my size. Then, to take things a step further, convert the dress bodice to a top.

I used the Cut and Spread Pattern Grading method from Threads magazine. I've tried pattern grading before with less than stellar success, but it was a lot easier this time.

Bodice front pattern piece, cut & overlapped to grade down:

pattern grading bodice front

And here's the final pattern piece:

bodice front graded down 1 size

There's no zipper (or any other type of closure) on the dress bodice which is just weird. A narrow-shouldered woman would need a cocktail &/or personal assistant to get this dress on, but there aren't enough cocktails available for a broad-shouldered woman such as myself. So for dignity's sake, I added 1/2" allowance along the bodice front to accommodate a zipper. And I was incredibly proud of myself for remembering to do this before I started cutting the fabric.

added allowance for zipper

I also shortened the sleeves--

shortened sleeve

--which became a moot point because while I was congratulating myself for the zipper allowance, I forgot to lengthen the bodice front and back patterns for conversion to a top. The end result was crop-top short, which just proves I should never congratulate myself for anything until the entire garment is sewn. And probably not even then.

I didn't have enough fabric to recut the front/back pieces, so I had to use up the sleeves which is why this will be a sleeveless top now.

Here are a few pictures of the top pinned to my dress form while I figure out what to do next. I'm working without a net here, so I'm not really sure what's next. For one thing, I'm not thrilled with the drape on the left side (right side in photo) so I'll probably redo it using the fabric's natural drape instead of forcing a drape by using the small dots on the pattern pieces.

I also need to figure out how to finish the center front facing, given that I'm adding a zipper.


Pleats at the waist in the front:




Despite the fits and starts, this has been a fun exercise and that's probably because I have no specific end result in mind. I'm just practicing a few things for future reference & trying new things as they come up.