1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo | Vintage Sewing

The Completed Fall Fancies Dress!

By on July 30, 2012

This post is all the behind-the-scenes details of my latest me-made project, which I recently featured in an outfit post ~ My Fall Fancies Dress.

I started this dress in February with an vintage Advance 9785 shirtwaist dress pattern I got off Etsy and some vintage thrifted cotton.  I think the Advance is late 1950s – early 1960s?  I’m not 100% sure, but I thought it was pretty anyway.

I had to tackle a few new skills with this pattern ~ doing to an FBA on a kimono sleeve bodice was just for starters.  The dart ended up looking funny, so I just moved it to where I thought it should go and thankfully it worked!

I also had to try my hand at my first on-the-bias project, as the bodice was bias cut, and to make the layout trickier, I had to pattern/stripe match as well!  This meant that it took me THREE hours just to cut out the bodice, and I wasted a fair amount of fabric which led me to the conclusion that, although pretty, bias cuts aren’t necessarily worth it.

Buttonholes and pleating were also two new skills to me ~ and I have to say I adore my Bernina 860!  It’s five step buttonhole program is the easiest, simplest way to do buttonholes and once I practised a few I just breezed through the three buttonholes on the dress’s bodice.  I never thought I would say this, but ~ I love stitching buttonholes!

The pleats were relatively simple, and I am positively ecstatic with how they look!  I think that they suit my figure far better than gathers, so I know I will be trying these again.

Of course, although I like the original pattern, I still made an alteration and took out the buttons/facing strip down the front of the skirt.  I think my reasoning for that was that the bodice buttonholes were scary enough without having to do more!  Plus, I find button-down skirts annoying.  They tend to pop open a lot on me for some reason.

I had trouble with the collar/neck facing and end up tacking and sewing that down in about a hundred different ways/places, as well as the collar being a pain to put on.  I had to re-apply it and rip it out at least three times, but even though the inside is a little messy, you can’t tell from the outside, which is good. I guess these things just take practise.

All these new challenges meant I did a lot of stop/start sewing; sometimes leaving the dress for weeks until I could summon up the courage and the time to pick it up again.

However, the thing that I am most proud of with this project is how perfectly my seams match!  The centre back seam and the shoulder seams are spot on and I love how the front facing has that lovely ‘bridge’ between the two front chevron-stripes.  Pattern matching is fiddley and time-consuming, but oh, so satisfying when it comes out right!

~ Project Details ~

Year:  Late 1950s – early 1960s
Pattern:  Advance 9785
Fabric:  About 6 yards/5.5 metres of thrifted cotton doona cover {$9.00} ~ this is one fabric eating pattern!
Notions:  Three buttons {$3.00}
Time to complete: I have no idea…
Make/Wear again? Definitely wear again!!  I am really happy with how it came out: I love the fit, the style and the fabric. However, I am not so sure that I’ll make the pattern up again.  I’m thinking that once was enough.  Although, I do love the skirt, so it does seem likely that I might use that part of the pattern again.
Total Cost:  $25.00 including the pattern



P.S. ~  For more posts, outfits, tutorials and more, please visit my blog Depict This!  I hope to see you there soon!!  ^ω ^


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1940s | Dresses

My Dress And Me ~ Stitching Stories

By on January 26, 2012

Happy days!  I get to share with you the details of my very first me made dress!  Yes, it’s a shirtwaist ~ er, of sorts {you’ll see why  say that in a bit}, it’s got an A-line skirt, a self –drafted Peter Pan collar, cute buttons and pockets; and oh!  I should stop talking and just SHOW you.

I started out with the McCall’s M4769, in view C.  Yes it’s a modern pattern, but I figured that using possibly-vintage thrifted fabric and styling the dress in a 1940s manner it would pass for retro sewing?

Anyway, because I have never sewn a dress and have no idea how to do a tissue fit or anything I decide to trace the pattern pieces and then do the Full Bust Adjustment I knew I would need from the measurements on the back!  I found that this FBA tutorial on Sew L.A. Blog was EXTREMELY helpful, and I could actually understand what I needed to do. Yay for comprehension!

I didn’t take any photos of the construction process, unfortunately I was too focused on the garment and getting in finished ~ I had an end of 2011 deadline, so I was all guns blazing!  The fabric I was using was a pale baby blue with cute little three colour flower/teardrop things with with white diagonal lines.

Thankfully I was paying enough attention to notice as I cut out the first piece of skirt that the back skirt piece and the back bodice were “upside down” on the fabric and the pattern would have been going the wrong way!  A reshuffle of pattern pieces, and the disaster was adverted *whew* so that all the pieces were going the right way and would match.  After I finished cutting out, the dress seemed to come together quite easily.

My first sleeves set in really quickly, which was a pleasant surprise for me ~ but I think I was helped because I adjusted the sleeves so that they were puffed{using this tutorial} rather than a plain cap sleeve, so that meant I could have gathers to my heart’s content up the top of the sleeve and smooth out the underside so that it matched the arm scythe nicely.

I changed the button closure to a zip for ease of breastfeeding access by sewing the zip to the left hand front placket and then to the inside edge of the right hand front placket so that they overlapped and hid the zipper.  I also sewed two invisible snaps to hold the placket shut on the top of the bodice, and a hook and eye at the waist because all the vintage dresses have them so it seem right to do that!  I sewed the skirt shut so that the placket overlapped and couldn’t fly apart, as the zip was only 16” long.

Then I ran into my waterloo ~ the collar.  Of course I hadn’t been able to leave well enough alone, and had adjusted the shirtwaist collar into a Peter Pan collar.  {That’s why I am not sure if this dress technically counts as a shirtwaist at all!}  This changed the whole front of the bodice and the construction of the collar which meant I skipped steps 42 to 48 on the pattern instructions and just had to wing it.  I think if I had ever attached a Peter Pan collar before I might have been fine, but as it was, there was almost a meltdown of nuclear proportions, with a ton of seam ripping, fraying fabric and some holes as well as – well, swearing.   It did finally go on{although I had to mend it before I wore it as I somehow missed a bit and there was a hole already!}, and even looks quite alright for a totally made-up-as-I-went-along attachment.  The collar turned out to be quite deep which I also really love, even though it was a total fluke!


When I tried the dress on the bodice ended up being too large at the back, so I pinched out 2cm of fabric from the middle with a dart and made a belated Sway Back adjustment.  Of course I had already attached the bodice to the skirt by the time I figured that out, but it still worked out ok.   To finish off the dress I did a blind hem, which is a nice touch I like to do, popped my new pretty on and did an outfit shoot ~ On My Way.

Here is a sneak peak of the dress in all it’s glory ~

And that my friends, is the saga of my first sewing foray into Dressland, of which I hope there will be many more tales to follow!

~ Project Details ~

Year: Modern, 2005 styled by me to look 1940s
Pattern: McCall’s M4769
Fabric: About 2.9 yards/2.6 meters of thrifted cotton{?} doona cover {$9.00}
Notions: One zipper {$? ~ I think $5.00}, three buttons {$6.90}
Time to complete: About a week on and off ~ maybe 15 hours all up?
Make/Wear again? Yes! Now that I have a perfect fitting bodice, I am dreaming of all sorts of ways to mix it up.  I think I want at least two more of these dresses; I am planning to add a full circle skirt for a 50s shirtwaist dress, and another version with gathers at the shoulders for a really 1940s look and tulip sleeves.
Total Cost:  $20.90

I would totally recommend this pattern for beginners who want to sew a dress. I am a total beginner, and I did it, so you can know for sure that it’s a pretty easy pattern.  : 3



P.S ~ For more posts, outfits, and tutorials please visit to my blog Depict This!  I hope to see you there soon!  ^ ω ^

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