Here are two sheath dresses I made from a vintage 1958 pattern, Advance 8617. The yellow “tropical dress” has kimono sleeves and the fitting is more relaxed in general, and I think it is better for it. The blue dress has gussets in the sleeves and a more fitted bodice. The original 1958 pattern was much too big and I re-sized it to my size. My weight has shifted slightly since cutting the pattern, so the fit was longer perfect, a good learning experience for the next dress. (Don’t wait 8 months between cutting and sewing!) I ended up taking in the bodice side seams a little and lengthening the darts slightly.
What I found in the test run with this pattern: This dress is best in a very lightweight cloth with good drape, especially silk, chiffon or rayon. The pattern is more roomy than expected, leaving space to take it in or let it out later.
The inspiration was Joan’s dress from the accordion scene in Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men, see photo below. But obviously I am not shaped like Joan, and few people are.
Tropical dress – I imagine myself wearing this dress lounging on a warm and breezy veranda sipping hibiscus cooler. Since I’d be lounging, who needs a belt?! So I set aside the belt hardware and I did not make the self-fabric belt. But maybe I will make it later. What do you think?
Blue dress – I like the shorter sleeves and the more fitted upper body, but the extra time to do the gussets was not really worth it. Short cap sleeves or very short kimono sleeves might look just as nice and save a lot of time.
To see much more technical detail on alteration and fitting issues, please go to WesternSpinster.com