1950s | Vintage Sewing

Don’t Let the Pattern Matching Get You Down…

By on May 22, 2017

I can’t say for certain that we have all been there, but I know I’m not the only seamstress to have had a definite plan and then once you actually take a hard look at the fabric you have to work with in more detail, you realize the plan is just not going to happen! Such was the case with this dress, as I had planned originally to cut everything with the print mirrored along the center front, but as soon as I laid the fabric out properly I understood that certainly was not going to work out.

The fabric I used to make this dress had some pretty serious downsides going for it. Firstly it was left over yardage from another project that had been languishing in my stash for years, so the piece I had left was an odd shape to start with. The other issue was more of a problem; though the print was hypothetically perfectly mirrored…it was actually off-set by about half a centimeter. I assume this fabric, being flocked (mimicking cut velvet) , was made by printing down a layer of glue in the areas where the black fibers would be, and then applying the flocking powder and then repeating this process along the center of the yardage, and when they did this it was obviously not perfectly lined up. So my original plan to cut this dress with the mirrored center of the print going down the center front of the dress had to be scrapped, for if I cut it like that it would appear as if I had done a very poor job of it since the fabric itself was off kilter.

It is in moments like these, when you have your pattern pieces strewn around you on the floor trying to figure out how to place and fit them on your fabric, that it is very easy to get too frustrated and give up before you have even truly started. I was tempted to scrap the idea of this project entirely, but instead took a deep breath and the time to look at other options. I decided, after much deliberation, to use the white space between the printed motifs to my advantage and cut the center front bodice pieces with their center in the white areas so when they were sewn together there wouldn’t be a jarring break in the pattern along the seam. Next I had to determine what to do with the skirt, and though I knew no matter what I couldn’t get the print to match along the side seams, to try and find an angle where the print would at least sort of flow. I ended up cutting the skirt pieces diagonally, but not perfectly on bias. As Tim Gunn would say, make it work!

Though this dress was a challenge to cut out, and looks different that I had originally planned, I am happy I persevered and still made it despite the puzzle like conundrum at the start.  Lessons learned, don’t get too attached to your original idea lest it not work out, and two- take your time and consider all the possible solutions when pattern matching. Such lessons came in handy recently when making another dress and matching stripes! If only fabric was always printed perfectly on grain and perfectly matched up, but such is not the world we live in.

I wore the finished dress on a recent trip to Paris and if you would like to see more photos, you can check out a full outfit post over on The Closet Historian.

Thanks for reading, and don’t let the pattern matching get you down! 🙂

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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

xox,

bonita

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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