I’m sure we’ve all seen those 1970’s patterns that imitate 1930’s and 1940’s lines, right? Simplicity 6164, Simplicity 5844, Butterick 3174, Marian Martin 9327 . . . you get the picture. Well, I decided it was time to turn the tables.
Since I spent so much time and bother fitting 4727, I figure I might as well get as much use out of it as possible. I’ve actually used it as a semi-sloper a couple of times, not to fit precisely but to ballpark the sizing of other patterns before I do detailed alterations on them. I’m getting a lot of wear out of that orangey-tan gingham sundress, so I figured I should do a few more projects out of that pattern to make it pay for itself.
Back to that turning-of-tables bit. Alas, I don’t have any pictures of the dress on me yet, but I used the bodice to make a 1970’s-style prairie sundress. I raised the neckline a bit and rounded it to make it easier to apply bias binding (I wanted a little bit of trim on the neckline and armscyes). I had four yards of . . . probably 1980’s or early-1990’s black Concord calico with tiny yellow roses.
Four yards sounds like a whole lot unless you want to make a dress with a long skirt and a flounce, because flounces take up an insane amount of fabric. You can do a 2:1 flounce:skirt ratio, but that’s really minimal–your flounce will be adequate but still kind of skimpy-looking. I did a 3:2 flounce:skirt ratio and I think that, for this project, it came out just right. Fluffy but not ridiculous.
I saved calico by making all the interior parts out of solid black scrap fabric. Here, you see the pockets, inset belt lining, neck facing (I added a neck facing even though I was bias-binding the neck because the calico was pretty thin), and the back button placket:
I also used up five different colors of hem tape. Ha, ha. Navy, teal, electric blue, pale yellow, and olive green.
The front is plain. I did hours of lunchtime Google research on Gunne Sax dresses, trying to choose a pattern for the front of the bodice, but I couldn’t settle on anything. I knew I needed trim to break up the sea of floral-ity, but I didn’t want it to be that Seventies, and I wanted it to be a kind of neutral look so I could wear it with a belt and denim jacket, and I had just spent the weekend hanging out with metalheads and didn’t want to interfere too much with the . . . blackness? Yes, I know this is the least metal garment in history that isn’t pastel, but aesthetic influence is weird stuff.
I went with just binding the neckline and armscyes, and adding a trim strip around the skirt above the flounce.
It buttons up the back. This is completely impractical but it’s hot. Yes, hot. As in, I’ve had to block Flickr stalkers who love back-buttoning dresses hot (I wish I were joking about this because it’s actually pretty creepy, but . . . nope. Not kidding). I think it’s because it suggests that one needs help getting undressed, but I’m not going to go too far into that because this isn’t that kind of blog.
For the record, I can dress myself. I button the mid-back buttons, slip the dress over my head, and then button the nape and the waist (reverse the process to undress). It’s tricky but I’m going to enjoy it while I can before I dislocate something and have to convert it to a side zipper.