The last time I talked about work in progress here, I told you I was going on with the vintage patterns. I told about making a muslin for this dress:
A real beauty from a winter 1950 issue of Bella magazine.
I did just that:
And wasn't pleased with the result. This is a common problem when you fall in love with a design you've only seen in an illustration. Fashion photography may often lie, with drawings really are just a fiction of a garment.
For obvious reasons, I'm not modeling these muslins but even on the dummy, you can see some of the issues. I'm not even talking about the fit here. There are some issues with that but nothing I can't deal with.
My real problem worry is with the design elements I originally fell in love with. That pocket/pleat thing looks too wide when I wear this dress. The pleat from the shoulder (I always love that feature) which looks really prominent in the drawing, is actually quite small and not very noticeable. And that sassy pencil skirt is more of a modest A-line.
It's not an ugly dress but just not as great as I hoped it would be.
The fabric I was planning to use is a black wool crepe which has been in my stash for a while. It's a high quality material which I was able to buy fairly cheap. As such, it has suffered the fate of so many nice fabrics which are not bought with a specific project in mind: It has become a 'Holy Grail' fabric. It's so nice and I could never replace it without paying quite a lot more than I did for this stuff. As a result, I've become afraid to use it.
Of course, that is ridiculous so I have decided to use it now. But I still really want to be sure I will use it to make something I will love.
So, I decided forget about the Bella dress and try something else. After some sketching, I went with an odd skirt shape I've had an eye on for a while.
This picture comes from Dutch ladies' magazine Beatrijs from 1951, from an article about fashion from the US. The skirt is pencil skirt at one side and circle skirt at the other. This lady looks very glamorous in it.
From the moment I saw this picture, I wondered if that would work in real life.
And I don't think it does. As I had expected, the width spreads across the skirt a bit and the weight of the wider side makes the bodice sag. It would be possible to compensate for the sagging but the whole thing just looks a bit weird.
I quite like this bodice though. I'm just not so sure I like it for the black crepe. I'm very sure I like it for another dress I want to make before the weather warms up again.
So, it was back to the drawing board again. This time, I decided to stop trying to be clever. Often a good call when you're feeling a bit lost design-wise.
How about making a simple beautiful dress? With some nice pattern details, of course.
Kimono sleeves, a V-neck, half circle skirt. A good start but I wanted to try a different and new-to-me construction for that bodice and an interesting detail.
This bodice has side panels which extend into the underarm gussets. And I've added large patch pockets which stand away from the skirt at the top. It still requires some tweaks but I think I like it.
So, now I have to start thinking about the real dress: Full lining? Just a bodice lining? No lining? How about fitting the bodice closely and putting some boning in to keep the shape? And if I'm going to line the dress, what material should I use? And with the side panels, I will have no choice but to put the zipper at center back but shall I use an invisible zipper or some more vintage solution or go for something more edgy and use a metal zipper and put the teeth on display? And maybe I could use piping along the neckline and those pocket edges...
I should be able to finish the pattern on Tuesday so I hope I can start making this dress for real pretty soon.