Friday, February 15, 2013

TGIF- Thank God It's Finished!

Ok so the dress threw me a major curveball and I wasn't sure exactly how to recover the project.  I finally (sort of) figured out the problem.  I really worked on perfecting the fit of the muslin, but somehow that didn't translate when I cut the antique fabric.  Somehow the front bodice was 1 inch smaller at the waist than the muslin, 1/2 an inch shorter at the side seam, and the skirt front was 1/4 inch WIDER at each side seam.  WTF???  I credit it to distortion of the muslin fabric because the actual dress was fully underlined in broadcloth.  That is the only thing I can come up with because everything matched up PERFECTLY on the finished muslin.  Still, it doesn't fully make sense.  I mean the muslin bodice grew, and the skirt pieces shrunk? I never make muslins, so why all the trouble after actually doing things correctly?  Anyway, all the discrepancies meant a lot of unplanned ripping out on the actual dress, scratching my head, and scrambling for a fix.  Anyway it's done, and I'm so happy!  Here's the finished product:


I'll be the first to admit that it's not perfect.  My major issue is the bust darts, there placement isn't correct and they're a bit pointy.  Since it's fabric from a 1950s dress (which had majorly pointy boobs) and they were trimmed on the inside, this is as close as I could get them to fit.  I hope it it's obvious to anyone who doesn't sew.

original bodice front

The following pictures really illustrate what I had to work with and how significant the changes were.

original bodice and new underlining

original skirt and new underlining

I applied narrow bands of interfacing (about 1 1/4 inches) to the inside of the underlining at all the armscyes and neckline edges to stabilize them and prevent gaping and distortion over time.

underlining with interfacing

I did carry over a few of the vintage details:
  • lingerie carriers (original were thread, I made fabric ones)
  • corded bias trim.  the dress came with a tie belt that I used, unfortunately there wasn't enough to do the waistline seam or armscyes
  • vent finish.  This one was a great lessons that I've carried over to other dresses.  The fashion fabric was finished as a standard vent, but the lining was finished like a back skirt slit!  This avoids the awkward joining of the two fabrics, which can creat bulk, and is such a nice clean looking finish
  • however, I changed the original lapped metal zipper for an invisible

After the wedding, I'll post pictures of me wearing the dress!


  1. It looks fantastic and I love the color! I can't wait to see you in the finished dress!!

  2. Absolutely stunning. Looking forward to photos. Have fun at the wedding!

  3. Wow this dress looks stunning! Look forward to seeing the photos! Ami

  4. Thank you all for the lovely comments! While the dress is a simple design, the process wasn't (at least for me) since it involved a lot of drafting. Glad this one is done, because working with unreplaceable antique fabric was stressful!

  5. Whew. Glad to see you saved it!

  6. Thanks Laurel! This was one I was very happy to wrap-up. Un-replaceable fabric definitely multiplied the stress factor

  7. It's a beautiful dress and you did a great job on the reconstruction!