I’m usually a very slow seamstress, but occasionally–very occasionally–I actually work well under pressure.
I had an event coming up and decided I really, really, wanted a new dress to wear. A themed dress. I’d had the fabric for awhile but hadn’t given myself permission to sew it (this is an ongoing problem for me: I feel obligated to burn through a bunch of boring utility projects before I let myself sew the high-investment ones. But of course I have limited time so I never get to the high-investment ones).
The fabric was Moda Purebred Bluegrass Foals in coral red (not quite this bright in real life. The foals are natural cotton color, not bright white, and the coral is slightly faded):
It’s a big print. The foals are about three inches each.
My pattern requirements were specific: It had to be 1950’s (big skirt) and it had to have a skirt that was four panels or fewer, and couldn’t have a lot of design elements, because I wanted to preserve the foals as much as possible.
I went around and around on this but kept coming back to Weekly Star Farmer (probably Pattern Bureau) 2207, from the early 1950’s. This design was also sold as Pattern Bureau 2911 and, later, as 2593.
I love the pockets. How can you not love those pockets?
It needed a lot of adjustment, partly for personal fit (longer bodice, added upper back width, minor full-bust adjustment) but also for design reasons. The illustration is kind of a lie: The skirt is actually conical, not bell-shaped, and the pockets are set two inches below where they’re shown.
The skirt pieces have straight sides. Not kidding. And no darts.
I knew this would need alteration, anyway, because I have big hips, but the test muslin, while better, still didn’t look good and wasn’t comfortable. The final solution was to both curve the side and center back seams, and to add 3/4 inch width per side in the back, and then create waist darts.
The other major issue was the collar. The original collar was two pieces that, I guess, met in the back? I didn’t like the way this looked and also thought it seemed structurally weak:
So I reshaped it to meet in the back as a contiguous collar. But the test collar was enormous. I am not kidding–it was as wide as the shoulder points on the dress, and it looked nothing at all like the illustration. It was like wearing an open jacket flapping around all the time, except it was attached. I narrowed it by two and a half inches (you read that correctly) and lowered the point in the front by an inch and a half. It’s still plenty big but at least I’m not in danger in a stiff wind.
I mounted the pockets two inches higher than the pattern called for. For the record: I’m a little over 5’7″, so I have no idea for whom the original pockets were intended. Chimpanzees, perhaps? I don’t know how a shorter woman would have reached them. (They’re not crooked. I’m slouching because the show lasted 15 hours.)
Still plenty of collar! I think I could narrow that by another inch and it would still look good.
I sort of want to make this again . . . ideally in a large blue-on-blue gingham with solid trim.
And in case you’re wondering why I needed a dress with horses all over it . . . Lemmonade Live Model Horse Show 2017.