A Failed Zipper, and a Finished Dress!

by Laura Mae on April 29, 2014 · 10 comments

in 1950s,Dresses,Spadea,Vintage Sewing

It has been way too long since I posted here, but I promise I have not given up my vintage sewing obsession!  I can always count on inspiration on these pages, not to mention all the new-to-me blogs I discover.  Thank you for keeping me motivated!

When I was contacted by Deirdre of Vintage Pattern Lending Library about testing this stunning Ceil Chapman pattern, I was ecstatic!  Ceil Chapman is a favorite of mine, and I was lucky enough to reproduce another one of her designs a few years ago, so I knew I was in for some fun, and a great challenge.

The biggest issue I had was figuring out the pleat lines on the skirt pieces, and once I had that I was off and running.

All of the seams were finished, including a waist stay, and a zipper guard made of grosgrain ribbon – and then the darn thing would not zip up.  Even with an extra pair of hands, the vintage metal invisible zipper would not make it past the waist seam when I put in on my body.  Aargh!!

I had a bit of a tantrum, and decided it would be best to put the project on hold.

Then the weather started improving and if I was going to wear the dress anytime soon (it’s made of wool), I needed to get to it!

A strip of silk organza and a standard nylon zipper came to the rescue (a similar fix can be found at the end of this post – what is it with me and invisible zippers lately!?!).

Now I have two Ceil Chapmans in my closet!  And if I ever find a spectacular fabric suited to the design, I just know I will be making this one up again.

More pictures of the finished dress may be found over on my blog, Lilacs & Lace.  I am so very glad I figured out a way to make this dress work!

This post was written by...

– who has written 27 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I adore sewing and knitting, mostly vintage or vintage-inspired patterns.

Laura Mae's posts / Laura Mae's website

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire Cooper April 30, 2014 at 12:46 am

Beautiful dress. I might have to keep an eye out for this pattern.


Jet Set Sewing April 30, 2014 at 5:19 am

You did a fantastic job with a very tricky pattern. I’m so glad you brought this Ceil Chapman back to life!


thisblogisnotforyou April 30, 2014 at 6:44 am

Beautiful, beautiful dress! And the fabric is amazing, too!


BoPeep April 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

The dress is fabulous! I’ve been yearning to make a draped bodice style for a while now. And your zipper issue is exactly why I am very leery about vintage notions. I’ve had trim completely disintegrate while I’m sewing it!


Laura Mae April 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

The zipper snafu was actually my fault – the vintage zipper is in fine condition and waiting for a more suitable project! The bulk of the back skirt pleats at the waist seam make an invisible zipper a bad option, which I knew going in, but was just too stubborn to admit to myself. Lesson learned (I hope)!

But I do agree that some vintage items can be a bit too delicate for real-world uses. They sure are pretty, though!


datura April 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Yes!! I love all of your creations and have been eyeing this pattern on Vintage Pattern Lending Library! I love that you chose to make it in wool instead of more of a “nighttime”/special occasion fabric. Your work (and you) are stunning.


Fiona May 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Gorgeous dress! And fabulous finishing details. You look amazing!


Reading Goddess May 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Straight up fabulous!


Lauriana May 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

I’ve said it before when you showed this dress on your blog, and I’ll say it again: it’s absolutely fabulous!


Kait May 5, 2014 at 5:04 am

It’s amazing! I love both of the Cecil designs you made!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: