Friday, January 04, 2013

A Cheery Floral Day Dress: S&S 1958 Party Dress

Here's Sense & Sensibility's new pattern made up in a cheery rayon floral. This is a really nice pattern--very simple with its cut-in-one kimono sleeves. Bottom line? Bodice is two pieces, skirt is two pieces. Add a zipper and some piping (or lining), hem it, and you're out of there!

I've never finished a neckline and sleeve edges with piping before--it's truly beautiful and straightforward. My mother suggested purple velvet which would have been a dream but in the end I decided to go for the more self-effacing (ha!) matching piping made from bias strips.

Here's a view of the inside--you can see that the piping acts as a tiny facing.

I've actually made this pattern up three times since this dress and have found that it has an odd tendency for the waistline to sag in the back. I believe that the back bodice is cut lower than the front and I've had to trim it off every time; it's not a good look for my girls. Other than than, once the pattern is fitted it goes together in a snap. I recommend it to beginning seamstresses.

I'd also add these notes, which are not in the pattern instructions. Experienced seamstresses will know to do them anyway, but beginners should be warned that:

 1. With a skirt of this magnitude, you might want to add a waist stay. I use a strip of seam binding sewn along the bodice's bottom seamline before the skirt is added, to support the weight of the skirt.

2. The bias edges of the bodice (neckline, shoulder, and sides) should be stay-stitched before being sewn, to keep them in shape.

3. When gathering your skirt, it's often most flattering to gather the front in two groups of gathers off to the sides of the center (see my dress photo), leaving the center flat. And the back looks best with the gathers more towards the center.

4. (EDITED TO ADD) With very drapey or thin or sheer fabric, it's a good idea to reinforce the seam that will support the zipper. I cut half-inch wide strips of interfacing and fuse them to the wrong side of the dress centered over the stitching line where the zipper will be sewn. This helps a lot with bunching and pulling.


Jodes said...

I have that pattern, waiting for a bit of time to make it up! Your version helps with the inspiration :)

Donna said...

Yes, I like that flat front, and the gathers more at the side.

Lisa said...

What a pretty fabric!


The Hot Mess said...

I have this fabric! I'd forgotten all about it until I saw this post. I looooove what you've done with it.

April said...

I love that one!!

Unknown said...

Is this a dress that could handle the jersey fabric and Alabama Chanin treatment? Since I'm lazy and am still without sewing machine, but I can hand sew just fine.

Anna said...

Tabor--I'm not sure. The skirt is really a lot of fabric, which is where I would wonder. Alabama Chanin shows huge gathers in her dresses, like the tiered flouces that drop to the floor, and I've always wondered how they will hold up. Will the bodice sag? A lighterweight jersey would probably be best. I am curious myself to try jersey cut with kimono sleeves.

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