1950s | Dresses | Spadea | Vintage Sewing

A Failed Zipper, and a Finished Dress!

April 29, 2014

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!

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

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