1940s | Dresses | Introduction | Mail Order Patterns

Marian Martin 9154, WIP

April 19, 2014
Back of the dress, showing the V neck
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.

  1. Welcome, Liz! So glad to have you onboard 🙂

    I absolutely love the pockets on this. I picked up a box of 1950s patterns with massive pockets this weekend that I’m planning to go through today.

  2. Ditto on the pocket love! I must follow through on skirts and dresses with pockets. I just made a skirt with similar front ones like those and it does make you wonder if they were meant to be functional in that placement…

  3. Thanks, everybody! Pondering this overnight, I think the pocket placement, especially with where the scallops come, accents the hips, shrinking the waist. Why not love that? I would not stroll around with my hands in those pockets, but it would be entirely possible to fish a hanky or a duster or a gerbil (kidding) out of there easily enough.

  4. You did a really good job, this is a very beautiful dress. I love the green bias tape accents and congrats to the successful pattern grading (something I never even dared to try).
    I can understand that the pockets are too high for being comfy, but as you said, maybe they aren’t meant to put your hands into all the time. I know from myself that I tend to put my hands in pockets whenever I am able to and it gives me a very sloppy posture. So I skip pockets when sewing skirts now to avoid this pocket-lazyness-problem, but maybe attaching them a little higher would be a good alternative.
    love, ette

  5. This is so cute and I love the contrast details. The pockets are super cute too if a bit impractically placed. Great job! And great job on your weight loss so far!

  6. This is lovely! You did a great job of grading up. The details on this dress are lovely, and it’s nice that there’s interest both front and back. I was going to say the same thing about the pockets as you’ve already noticed – although the placement of the pockets is quite high if you want to stand with your hands in them, I think they’re super flattering, accentuating the smallness of your waist.

  7. Gerbil, hee! You look so elegant and cool and comfy. A perfect dress for summer. I made a similar dress and ended up putting a snap in the back right where the v closes, but it was a pain to get snapped! I want a dress just like it (and a gerbil, too. Or perhaps a baby kitten.)

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