Remember that lovely little pattern from Emma in Montana that showed up on my doorstep last week?
I went ahead and made her up for Sew Weekly’s “Mother’s Day” Challenge (without photo-shopping my grandmother’s face on the envelope). I really think 1950’s fashions celebrate fluctuating mother-bodies without sacrificing style or mobility. Check out my write up along those lines (including the cheap and dubious source of my fabric) on Sew Weekly.
Rather than double-post, I thought I’d offer a few tips for bringing a 50’s dress ensemble into the casual-modern age without causing a migraine:
It’s been a little chilly around here lately and according to my Me Made May pledge I’m only wearing stuff made in the past 6 months. I had some nice thick sweater knit cotton I picked up on sale a few months ago. Perfect! These little boleros often get overlooked in favor of the flashy dresses underneath, but I absolutely love them. They work great for knits- this pattern was size 32 and I usually use a 34, but that’s just about right. I fastened the CF with a trouser hook and bar because *this week* I like the uncluttered look of a buttonless front. (I could make it overlap like the pattern envelope, but I like the way my dress peeks out when closed this way.)
Tip- instead of hemming or facing the lower edges or the sleeve hems, I just used my standard method for binding knit edges. The bolero went together in no time.
Don’t Overcomplicate the Fit- And Don’t expect to look like the pattern Illustration! No One Does!
It’s a fairly simple kimono sleeve surplice with gentle underbust gathers on a midriff band- nothing too tricky to fit. Past Stephanie (from a year or so ago) would have agonized over a full bust adjustment and all that jazz, but Present-day Stephanie knows it probably wasn’t worth it for a relatively unfitted top.
Present-day Stephanie is a little lazier and more experienced. I cut it about 5/8″ longer on the front bodice and 1/2″ wider at the side seams on all pieces. I know the 1950’s size 32 back fits me fine, so I left it as-is.
I do love matching stripes, it’s not terribly difficult if I cut the pattern pieces one at a time instead of on a doubled piece of fabric.
Once I cut the first bodice front, I flipped it so it was right sides together with the remaining fabric. The stripes on my duvet cover were irregular, so I took a little time to fiddle around and make sure the stripes on my pattern piece matched the ones on the fabric before I cut. This makes stripes-matching very, very simple.
Side Zipper- Invisible, Extra Long and Upside Down:
With very few exceptions, I only use invisible zippers. I like to insert them in the side seams of my dresses- that’s my preference. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I live in a bastardly hot climate, and I used to HATE wriggling into my dresses on steamy afternoons when getting ready for evening classes. Then, once the dress is on, I have to find my
dresser husband to zip me up, or go through all kinds of yoga to pull the zipper up. Irritating. I “fixed” this problem by buying longer zippers (easier to get in and out) and by putting them in upside down. I’ve been doing this for years now, I don’t know why I never mentioned it. It’s much easier to pull a dress zip down than up. I don’t know why.
We try to come up with “concepts” for taking photos, because standing around being posey makes me feel silly. This time, Lila and I had a little picnic in the backyard, including some cottage cheese, egg and spinach muffins. It was a blast. (I made her little coat-dress, too.)