Vintage Sewing

I Fought This Dress

November 11, 2009


I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it. Our relationship, however started off a bit rocky when the element of “neck facings” was introduced, and over the course of one afternoon, I sobbed, I laughed, I cried and I said things I’ve never said to a dress before. In the end, I won, although I will probably still wince when I hear the term “neck facings” for some time to come. The dress is a charcoal stretch wool, I added the braid along the diagonal seam, around the collar, used vintage glass buttons post-WWII. The inverted pleat isn’t very clear in this photo, but it swishes wonderfully when I walk. The whole sordid tale is documented in greater detail at The Republic of Dresses.
Finished dress (my dress form has a covering not unlike Astroturf on it–I swear the dress lays flat and does not pull to the side. If I threw tennis balls at my naked dummy, they would stick):

  1. The dress is beautiful! I love your fabric choice, it suits the dress wonderfully. It looks like even though you had some issues it still worked out. I've had a dress like this too and it didn't turn out as well as yours. Hope to see more of your projects!

  2. The dress is lovely. I had a similar challenge with a vintage Vogue pattern a couple years ago. The neck facing was quite challenging to understand. The diagrams just didn't make sense! It is fine and the facing lies flat, I finished it but ended up doing most of the seam work by hand to get it all to really lie flat.

    It looks like a similar kind of collar. Does anyone else do that-if facings or other front to back transitions are just to confusing the understand, just sew the seam by hand? I use the tightest and smallest stitches! That way I can see the seam from the front side and don't have to figure out from the back how to align the seams in layers. This shows how inexperienced I am, but I like to have facings be finished nicely. I must have ripped that collar out three times and I didn't want to destroy the fabric so I took out my needle.

  3. Gorgeous, the perfect black dress. I have yet to make anything with neck fackings but I will remember your battle for the years to come.

    xo Darla

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