Marian Martin

Hello, I’m Mel from New Zealand!

It’s winter in my neck of the woods, so for my first post let me introduce Marian Martin 9388 – made in a gorgeous authentically vintage dusty pink wool crepe.



I purchased the fabric on TradeMe (the New Zealand equivalent of eBay). The woman selling it was cleaning out her stash, and this was from her Nana’s stash! (Queue school-girl scream). The only bad thing about the fabric is that it was quite moth-eaten in places. I managed to get the dress cut out, but I had to cut the pieces out in a single layer to avoid the damaged areas. It took for-ev-er. Totally worth it, though. I pre-treated the fabric using the Washing and Drying method, with no felting issues.
 
 
Vintage fabric of this quality deserved to be made into something equally delicious and vintage…. enter Marian Martin 9388. I purchased this pattern on eBay a few months ago. It was easy to put together, but I had to alter the fit quite a bit. The pattern is a size 14 1/2 and the measurements of this size match mine, almost perfectly. Once put together it was fine around the bust, but I had to take it in at the waist at least two sizes. I used an invisible zipper, as I prefer the finish of an invisible zipper.
 
I am in love with this dress. I’ll be wearing it to the office on Monday!

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Handmade Vintage Dress
This dress was the first item of clothing I made, with the exception of the few things I made during Textiles class at school (I remember an awful fleece hat in particular…). I didn’t make things easy for myself by starting with an original 1940s Marian Martin sewing pattern (9049)!
Sewing Pattern Marian Martin 1940s (9049)
I made this dress while I was still at University studying for my undergraduate degree (BA English as it happens) approximately eight years ago, but pretty much never wore it as the original length (ankle length) didn’t really suit me. When I rediscovered the dress in the attic last year I lopped a big chunk off the skirt to get to the current length. Much more my style:)
Handmade Dress from Marian Martin 1940s Sewing Pattern (9049)
This week (spurred on by me made May) I finally got around to tidying up the hem and redoing the buttonholes (which were frankly awful, tut tut Charlotte of 8 years ago). Now I can finally get some wear out of my new-old dress!
Handmade Dress from Marian Martin 1940s Sewing Pattern (9049)
I love the pleated front and the awesome roomy pockets. The dress is worn below with my Brigitte Scarf from Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch.
I’d love to see you over on my blog English Girl at Home.
Handmade Vintage Dress

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pattern envelope picture

Mailing envelope says "Marian Martin"

Hi, everybody! I really enjoy reading this blog and figured I’d better start contributing.

So, here ya go!

I love this style of dress and wanted to make it up even though it is three sizes too small for me based on bust-as-high-bust measurement.
I used the Threads article on slash and spread pattern grading.
My first muslin (bodice only) was plagued with large ripples on the back.

front of dress
So the second muslin – the full version in yellow flowers shown here – I assembled out of order from the pattern instructions, leaving the shoulders last.
Yes, it was a pain, yes it was worth it.
I adjusted the dress to accommodate my lopsided shoulders, then stitched it together.

I took horrifying shortcuts on this, doing nearly everything on the machine.
The material, a thin, unlabeled synthetic from Walmart was not too bad to work with, but the double fold bias tape would have been better single fold.

Back of the dress, showing the V neck

No wonky ripples!

Because my waist is one size larger than my bust (I’m 1/3 of the way done with my weight loss), the dress does not overlap as much as it ought, so there’s a pin at the V keeping my bra band out of sight. I’ve also pinned the back as I don’t have two buttons on hand at the moment.
So I can’t say it is done, but I can say it has a lot of promise.

I like the set in belt, which defines my waist a bit. I like the scallop details – even the pockets, which I might modify to protrude a little less next time. I even like the yellow flowered print, something I was very unsure about to begin with.

standing with hands in pocketsThe pockets are very high up on the skirt. Awkward to get my hands in there. Are they supposed to be that high?
When I graded the skirt, I added length through the middle of the pocket as well as the skirt. I may move that grading line to above the pocket altogether for my next try at this pattern.

A lot more of my ramblings about this project, and pics of the wonky ripples, are available in a post on my blog, Waltzing Sieves. You can also read there about my plans for a vintage-flavored wardrobe as a treat for when I’m skinny again.

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