This breathtaking gown is in the collection of the wonderful Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia, which boasts one of the largest historical costume collections in the South. I photographed this during a visit in 1998 to file away.
May 2010 archive
We have a lovely consignment shop in our small town in Alabama that often sells vintage clothing. The owner said I could feel free to share her images with a link back to her site, so I thought I’d show off this wonderful 1950s party dress she recently sold on eBay. I wish I’d had […]
Back when I used to sew professionally, I often received requests to reproduce gowns seen in portraits or fashion plates. This is a gown I made in 2001, savoring every moment of this delectable project! My customer asked me to copy the gown and the chemisette with standing “ruff” collar seen in the Regency portrait […]
If you’ve followed S&S Patterns over on Facebook, then you’ve probably seen this coming for a while, as I took a poll to see which fashion era people would like to see in patterns next. The 1780s won out, hands-down, though the 1930s came in a close second. Funny how this works out, but a […]
This confection of a dress was sold by Vintage Textile. I’d never seen a dress with a large floral print like this from this time period, but I really like it. From a distance, the effect is one of a soft pink blush. It is only on up-close examination that you see the flowers. Breathtaking! Can’t you just picture afternoon tea on the lawn beneath the shady oak? Love it!
So, you’ve made your first outfit from one of my patterns. It went together without a hitch…until you put it on and stepped in front of a mirror. “Wait a minute!” you exclaimed. “This waistline is way too high! This sleeve just doesn’t hit me where I thought it would! How am I supposed to be comfortable in this?”
If you are usually a size 0 or 2 in off-the-rack sizes and have a petite frame (particularly if you are narrow through the shoulders with a measurement of less than 15″ from shoulder to shoulder), you will need to make some adjustments to your bodice pattern pieces to obtain a perfect fit.
No matter how well designed a pattern may be, it cannot fit each individual perfectly. Each human body has its own quirks, and each person has different fitting needs. You may find that you need to enlarge a pattern beyond the sizes available on the sheet, or you might need to shrink it. Perhaps you would like to reduce a woman’s pattern to fit a little girl. Or maybe you found an out-of-print pattern you’d love to make … but the sizes are too small for you. Anything is possible once you know the basics of resizing patterns!
Understitching creates a beautiful, professional finish to linings and button plackets. Here’s a video to show you how to do it!
There are so many fun ways you can alter your gown bodice to make it uniquely your style! Below I’ve illustrated two additional ways to change the look of your gown. The first method creates a fitted bodice with darts under the bustline. The second gives you a more “fan”-shaped bodice with the gathers in the center. I strongly recommend that you play around with a muslin bodice or two first until you achieve the exact fit and look you want. You might want to try different neckline treatments while you are at it (I’ve done a bodice with a “V” neckline and darts).
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