This Dress was a long time coming. I started working on it in November of last year. Originally, I intended to make it from a wool crepe and that the red rayon would be a wearable muslin. Using the Colette Patterns Oolong Dress pattern (purchased for 1/2 price, when they were discontinuing the pattern), I decided to make one modification - add godets to the skirt in the princess seams to give it a little flip and flare.
After sewing up the sample, I turned it wrong side out for easy pinning, and tried it on. Immediate disappointment. Needless to say, the FIT was not great and wreaked havoc with my body image. Isn't that interesting? It's been almost a year and I can still remember how I feel. Have you ever felt this way? Ugh, so discouraging.
I went ahead with the fitting, regardless, with my friend (and colleague) Maria to do the pinning. Looking at the dress as if I was the client was super helpful and gave me some perspective and having a helping hand was crucial as well. Maria pinned up the back, which I could not see at all, and we pinned out a dart along the princess seam, into the bodice.
Well I made the corrections to the pattern and then hung up the sample and put it away. For 7 months it hung on the rack in our shop, ignored completely and shunned from my project list. Then, you know what happened? I needed a dress for an event. It was a tropical evening out at The Art Deco Collection, a wonderful warehouse full of Art Deco Furniture. There was going to be an open bar (one that is actually for sale), a DJ and a lot of fabulous vintage fashion in this amazing Art Deco setting. Not owning anything tropical, I set out to throw together something that would work. In the back of my mind, was this feeling that I had something already started. And there it was, this red dress. Red is tropical, right? But how do I make it look more flattering? Well, this is what I decided to do:
1. Change the sleeve - I realized that after looking at the photo, it was just not right for ME. I had just bought a dress pattern that had this cute cape-like sleeve - 1930s Ladies Afternoon Tea Frock - Reproduction Sewing Pattern #T3221 from Vintage Pattern Lending Library. Done AND easy - This sleeve doesn't even have an underarm. It's literally just sewn to the armhole about half way down the front and back of the sleeve.
2. Change the bodice - The bodice on this dress was just not working that well for my figure and I didn't like the idea of a bust dart in addition to the shirring at the center front. I had been making the Colette Patterns Parfait Dress all summer long . I have 3 of them now, because the bodice fit is so nice and FLATTERING. So I grabbed the front bodice pattern pieces from both patterns and laid them on top of each other. Amazingly, the shapes were similar enough that I could combine the two patterns into one and adjust so that the skirt would fit. Yay!
This was going to work & I was thrilled. So hard to let that hard work and fabric go to waist. I had just enough fabric to cut a new front bodice and sleeves. I took apart the old bodice and used the back with a few corrections to make it all work.
In the end, I'm pretty happy with the results. I don't think I will make it up again, but If I did, I would fit the skirt a bit differently and make the godets come up higher. I've worn it twice now - once to the tropical event and once to a local production of Castle Happy, a play about William Randolf Hearst and Family.
Until Next Time....Happy Sewing!