1950s

Dress Fail: Marian Martin 9253

July 10, 2009

I am posting this as a Fail!, though not an irretrievable one, since it might still be usable to somebody else.

I won this on eBay a few months ago. The seller was a little unclear on sizing and, as you can see, the eBay camera watermark obscured the size stamp. I got most of the way through and was thinking, “Gee–that looks a little short-waisted.” Actually, it looked a lot short-waisted, but I was optimistic.

Optimism lasted until I got down to the buttons and the hem, tried it on, and realized that the “natural” waistline was around my ribs. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a half-sized pattern, intended for mature but petite women. I haven’t been petite since I was eleven years old (and I’m long-waisted), so it’s a whole lot short.

I am keeping the pattern and plan to do a re-draft on the bodice to see if I can get it to fix my dachshund-figured self, but this particular incarnation of it will do me no good. If you are a vintage size 18 (bust 36, waist 29-ish, hips 39) but 5’2″ or shorter and would be interested in trying to salvage the dress, visit my profile and drop me a line. It needs buttons, buttonholes, hemming, a belt, and some general finishing work, but it’s not mangled and I was very pleased with how it was turning out right up until I discovered that the belt would be up under my chin. I can’t stand to have unfinished projects lying around, and it does not deserve to be cut up for quilt scraps.

It’s in a good-quality Moda quilting cotton, rust-colored and dark brown calico. More pictures of the fabric on my Flickr set.

* * * * * * *

Measurements:
Bust: 36″
Waist: 31″
Shoulder-to-waist: 15″

  1. ooooo what is the length from the nape to the waist? I'm a shortie!! (there's no hope for me really is there ;D)

    That fabric is beautiful by the way!

  2. Could you add a midriff band and salvage it for yourself, or are there other sizing issues besides the waist length?

  3. It would look weird, for one thing.

    Also, all of the seams are already finished either by flat-felling or false-French seaming, so picking them apart is twice as much work. It needs too much of an overhaul–when I want to put that kind of effort into it, I'll start with a re-draft and a muslin, and not have a finished product full of picks and holes because I had to pull out half the seams. The proportions are just too far off.

  4. What about just taking the skirt off the bodice, adding a waist band, and wearing it as a skirt only? You could make the bodice into a cropped vest? Or scrap just the bodice for quilting and take the nifty skirt out on the town!

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