Sunday, July 10, 2011

Faux-Vintage in Faux-Linen

I found this embroidered linenesque at Hancock, where I rarely shop, since Mill End is cheaper and closer. But as soon as I saw it, I knew it was meant for the retro pattern waiting at home for me, already traced and altered.

I did my usual host of shoulder alterations, which I've developed using the book "Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach" by Elizabeth Liechty. This book is worth its weight in gold. Anyway, the shoulder alteration I do changes both sides of the shoulder seam: at the shoulder and at the neck, so I had to alter the collar, too. And the cap sleeves, but I got so carried away in binding the armholes, I forgot all about the sleeves! I like the dress without sleeves.

I'm going to say it straight: I passionately dislike facings. Yet, I traced the pattern pieces, altered them, and lay them on this lovely fabric. Have you ever noticed how much fabric facings eat up? Facings are miserable; they waste beautiful fabric. Hmmm...bias binding to my rescue and I'll use the remaining fabric for something else. I bound the armholes and the back of the neck. I did face the neck placket, using a turquoise poplin.

I'm really glad my collar alteration worked out, since I didn't do a muslin. (Another passionate dislike which I may some day regret.)

Welt pockets with flaps.

Invisible zip. The top of the armhole is closed with the bias bound armhole and the zipper tape is tucked in there. Fortuitously, Trena demonstrated this method JUST before I was about to instill my invisible zip, so I took the opportunity to approximate my own not-quite-as-suave version.

The verdict? I really like it and don't think it's too outlandish for public wear. It fits well and is comfortable.

Linen blend: Hancock
Retro dress: Burda 7-2009-107.

Another note: this Burda pattern comes in petite sizing (sizes 17-21). I'm just slightly taller than the petite sizing, but after comparing the pattern to my sloper, I felt I didn't need to lengthen it anywhere.

Yet another note: I raised the neckline (bottom of the placket) two inches. Originally, it was about even with the bottom of the armscye, ha ha.

1970 McCall's 2390 (image from Vintage Pattern Wiki)

I flipped through a bunch of 1970s and 1960s pattern to try to date the style of this dress. The A-line shape is classic mid- to late-60s (although this version isn't extreme a-line), but the split-collar-placket-unit was very popular in the mid-70s.

I found two patterns from 1970 with the basic elements: McCall's 2390 with the A-line shape and the welt pockets; and Simplicity 8711 with groovy collar and placket.

1970 Simplicity 8711 (image from my stash)


  1. You just keep pumping out gorgeous outfit after outfit! This is adorable ;)

  2. Adorable is right :). And that is a goreous fabric---I'm such a sucker for tone-on-tone texture. I'd probably guess latest 60s for the pattern, but then I'm not exactly an expert :).

  3. Very cute and I totally think you should wear that anywhere you want to. Your zipper looks fantastic! Or I guess I might say it was so good you couldn't even tell it was there. :O).

  4. This is perfect for summer. Very lovely and cool. I ditch facing too. I think I get a much better finish by using commerical bias tape - just like you did.


  5. I love the retro style and like how you have used white for your accent color. Your zipper looks fantastic.

  6. Such a cute and groovy dress. I love the contrasting colour for the collar.

  7. what, no plunging neckline! Nice details and a pretty dress. I like that pattern so it's nice to see it made up.

  8. Love it! So kicky and in my favorite color too.

  9. Love it! Great color for you!!

  10. Lovely! I too hate facings. Since I underline all my bodice pieces anyways, they don't need the structure and support of a facing.

  11. I loved following your Me Made June outfits, & now I have got round to looking you up. I adore this dress, it is perfect in my book- just the kind of style that I'd be drawn to- like you say a brilliant dress for anywhere :-)

  12. I love it. I can see why you chose this pattern. It's really pretty on you.


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