May 17, 2014

Fixing the Basic 50's Dress Bodice

Last month I showed you all the brocade dress I had made and lamented about the troubles I ended up having with the finished garment. The pattern was cobbled together from parts of a vintage Butterick re-release pattern and my own pencil skirt pattern and overall ended up fitting pretty well except for the straps!

The straps are too long and also too wide set meaning they don't stay on my shoulders and are virtually useless! So I got to work on fixing the pattern. I have a ton of great cottons that I want to make into 50's style summer dresses for this season, but first I need a better base pattern to work from. I started by slicing off the sloping angle from the top of the straps so that they would suit my shoulder line better. Next I shortened the straps a bit too for good measure. Then, slashing from the side point of the square neckline to the armhole I pivoted the straps in toward the neck about half an inch so they wouldn't be so far off my shoulders anymore. Hopefully that made sense? I cut out a sample of this new pattern in muslin and tried it on to the best of my ability without a zipper and my modifications seem to have all worked perfectly! (she says with hope)

Next, since I know that for my work's dress code my dresses have to have sleeves or have straps at least 3 inches wide, I decided to draft a little cap sleeve for this pattern. I opened my ever handy copy of Patternmaking for Fashion Design and drafted my new little sleeve.

I plan on using the corrected pattern as a base to work from, changing details like the neckline and sleeves for different dresses this summer. Before I can begin though, I have been pre-washing my cottons! Being as impatient as I am, I usually never pre-wash my fabrics which I know is bad bad bad! I knew I wanted to be able to wash these dresses, so I actually took the time to throw my cottons in the washing machine. Now all I need is more time so I can actually start sewing!

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