July 4, 2012


It's not so bad after all, is it?
At least, it wouldn't be, if I weren't cheating... 

These things add about two cups sizes and I don't plan on wearing them.

This is what it looks like without.

And without trying to pose.

I made the dress a size smaller than I should according to the measurement chart (Anna Mae made this dress a while ago and posted about it on Burdastyle. She went down two sizes. I should have done the same but the 'finished garment measurements' on the pattern tissue suggested that would leave me with no ease at all at the waist. Judging from the end result, that wasn't quite right). I shortened the waist length by the tiny amount needed for me. I made it in an appropriate fabric (one which behaves appropriately, I'm not talking about the look of it right now). Of course, I know I'm small-busted but the measurement chart actually gave be reason to believe that my chest and wiast measurement were in proportion. I cut the hips a size larger to compensate for their disproportionate circumference. 
Oh, and I left out the shoulder pads. I'm not a big fan of shoulder pads and, in my experience, my shoulders are on the wide and square side in relation to my bust circumference (in Burda's sizing, I'm a 36 at the bust but the shoulders of a 38 usually fit me better). As a result, designs which are meant to be worn with small shoulder pads usually work best without. 

In case you were wondering, this is what the dress looks like with shoulder pads.

And with shoulder and bust pads.

And with just the bust pads.

Of course, I could try to take it in, but with a design like this, that would take a lot of time (re-doing the side zipper and the hems on the cut-on cap sleeves...). And because of those gathers, the side seams would start mis-matching pretty soon. I could also try some sort of small bust adjustment but, also because of the idiosyncracies of the design, that would be quite a challenge. 
And I don't think it's a challenge I'm willing to take on. Don't get me wrong, V2787 is a great design. It's wonderful Vogue made a genuine 1940's pattern available to all of us modern-day seamstresses and adjusted it to its current size range. It's not as difficult as it's 'advanced' rating suggests either. 
I had some trouble with the way they mark the connecting points for those gathers (all the small and large circles and squares which were place so far away from the edge of the pattern tissue it wasn't obvious those should be marked with notches) but that is also down to me not reading the instructions. It's just that I could draft something 40-ish with gathered bits, made to my size and proportion faster than I could adjust this pattern. And it has some, historically correct, design details which are just not that great on me. That high neckline for example. The chest-to-shoulder gathers help a bit but on the whole, wide cut-on cap sleeves combined with high neckline only work well on a figure with a well-defined bust. 

And this is one detail I like: I went with a side zipper but made loops and buttons at the back. I didn't crochet loops but made a very narrow tube of bias cut fabric which was a nightmare to turn. I didn't feel like wasting a cover-your-buttons kit on a dress I wasn't happy with, so I sewed on these transparant buttons instead. Which actually provides a rather nice look.


  1. I do like the dress on you. It does work best with all the padding, but it's not unwearable without. Perhaps the conclusions you've drawn from the dress have been the most valuable part of this make.

    You've got me interested to make my own now (I've got a footballer's shoulders and a padded bra ;-) since I've had the pattern laying around for ages.

  2. Oh, I agree! I didn't do shoulder pads either. You did a great job on this dress and yeah, I think it's totally wearable without the bra inserts. Although I'm a much larger size, I had to take mine in too, especially in the waist. It's nice for larger sized ladies that the pattern is so generous but I wish the sizing was more accurate. Beautiful job!!

  3. Well done! It's annoying when things don't turn out as they should... In this case a full redrafting of the bust would be needed and it's not easy on an already made dress... Thank god for padding ;) I also wish measurements were written more accurately

  4. I don't think I've commented on your blog before, but I've admired your work for some time. No exception here...except for the unfortunate sizing. I even have this pattern - even though it falls into the "what was I thinking?" category for me (just because it's not really something I would ever wear & really not my style, but it's just so. darn. beautiful!)

    But ohmygosh - your top picture is just SO stunning! Goes to show what a model pose & a bit of padding can do for all those pictures of garments we see & fall in love with.

    If you can't save this one, I hope you remake it in the right size - you have the potential to dazzle in this dress! (not that other creations of yours don't do the same) :)

  5. I personally have no problem with "cheating" (i.e. padding one's bust) if it makes the garment fall better! We aren't talking D-cup pads; in fact I would warrant nobody will notice a thing about the fit other than that it's GREAT.

    A small tweak like that goes unnoticed because one only needs to pad the bust enough to compensate for the "flattening" effect of the styling; you are actually "returning" to your own proportions rather than exaggerating them.

    I am thinking that you are right about the neckline being too high, but on the other hand it would make a great foil for a showpiece necklace, or neck accent of some kind especially one that drapes in the middle and "presses down" the dress there and helps relive the 'flattening" effect..

  6. Oh, rats! Well, at least you managed to get a couple of good pictures (padded or not) ;). Learning experience, yadda, yadda. I feel you on the shoulder-pads issue. ;)

  7. You know, you might be too young to recall when Vogue launched this pattern in their magazine, and I do remember thinking at the time that it was a great design, but something was very odd about the verson they made it; it just looked too big for the slender model. Something is wrong with the drafting of this pattern that you and they should both end up without a good fit.
    Every time I've been tempted to try this model, I've simply conjured up that memory of the droopy gray satin version they made and walked away.
    I agree it might not be worth your time, but if I had time, I'd just rope that dress in a couple of inches, because I think it could look great on you.

  8. Well, it does look great in the posy shots, and I totally agree about shoulder pads being awful (we are both modern women!), but I have to say the dress does sit better with them in. And the dress has been drafted to accommodate them. I have always found that if I want to leave them out, then the pattern does need some modifying to avoid having that big empty pouche on each shoulder. In fact I would even suggest that this design calls for even bigger shoulder pads?
    But, for what it is worth, with the shoulder pads in there and adding gloves, pointy toed pumps, and a wide brimmed hat or even a little cloche, and you would look beautifully historically accurate!

  9. Ah, what a shame you're not happy with it. I would agree with Carolyn that the dress sits better with shoulder pads. Are you planning on altering the pattern and remaking the dress? I think it would be worth it as this dress has the potential to look awesome on you! (see the fabulous posey photo at the top :) As a personal preference, I would shorten the skirt to a (terribly historically inaccurate) much shorter length to balance out the high neckline, but I guess that would depend on how much you wanted to keep the "proper" 40s styling.

  10. I really loved this pattern when it first came out and I still have it! It would be a really classic and beautiful silhouette on you and I'm sorry this didn't work out. But thank you for sharing about the fit. I have probably only sewn two Vogue patterns (dresses) in the last four years but I made both two sizes down from my bust measurement and the last one was still too big in the bodice. The shoulder and upper bust have more ease than seems necessary.