This was a last-minute, impulse project – that’s the only way I sew anything for myself, to be honest. The pattern is Vogue 9059 – one of my favorite Vogues of all time. It took me the better part of two years to find it in my size for a price I could afford – I ended up getting it for under $25, yay! Even better, the fabric for this dress was totally free. My sister found a bolt of this gorgeous Ralph Lauren tartan sateen home dec fabric at a thrift shop and bought the whole thing. She’s made a few projects for herself and she also cut off a generous dress-sized hunk for me. Everything else, from the velvet to the zipper to the vintage belt buckle, was scrounged from my stash. (Know what this means? It means I get to buy some more fabric.)
My first thought was that the elegant yoke bands should be a contrast fabric – maybe solid white. However, as you can see from the line drawing, the bands end at the shoulder seam; using a contrast color would have caused awkwardness there. (Design elements that end abruptly at a side seam = my absolute biggest fashion pet peeve. Remember all those awful Nineties blouses with the vest attached on the front only?)
So the yoke bands were plaid, but I eliminated the button overlap and cut them in one piece so they wouldn’t be too busy. Totally unintentionally, the plaid on the top and middle bands matched perfectly. Nice! The bottom band didn’t match and I needed something there to break up the yoke seam, so I cut the bottom band out of some black cotton velvet instead. (The bottom band doesn’t reach the shoulder seam – as you can see, it peters out around the high bust area.)
This pattern wasn’t really intended for a plaid – I don’t think it was intended for a print material at all, actually – so I knew I was going to have to fudge it on the skirt. So I decided to worry about matching the plaids on the skirt front seam only and let the others fall as they may. This was my first attempt at matching plaids, and I was clearly affected with some sort of beginners’ luck, as it came out pretty good. We just won’t even talk about the other skirt seams, particularly on the zipper side!
And here is the dress in action on Christmas morning, complete with red lipstick and pearls and my new chiffon petticoat!