The only really 1930's thing about this dress may be the fact that the pattern I used was a 1930's reprint. That being said, this dress certainly deserves being called a spring tea party dress.
This dress has been a long while in the making. I bought the chiffon for the overlay and the pattern in early spring 2015. The lining fabric wasn't purchased until late fall 2015. The sewing of the dress itself wasn't started until winter 2015/16.
I have had my mixed feelings about this dress. I have been frustrated over the problems I have encountered. I have thought myself ridiculous for ever thinking I would really wear something this frilly and pink and flowered. (I don't think myself ridiculous anymore. I like looking at frilly, girly dresses with lots of lace, flowers, and pink, but I prefer to actually wear more classy, no nonsense styles.)
The process of making the dress obviously began with cutting it out which was no walk in the park. Anyone who has worked with chiffon knows that it is not the most cooperative fabric under sewing shears, (or sewing machine either.) I used a heavy crepe back satin for the lining and that wasn't exactly like cutting out a dream either. Anyway, I'll quit my complaining for now. :)
I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to construct the dress since I was using an overlay and a lining fabric. I could have constructed each separately, but I decided not to, to make putting the side zipper in easier. So, I basted all the main dress pieces together and treated them as one. If I use this pattern again, I would make the seam allowances wider enabling me to make the out shell completely separate using French or flat felled seams.
Due to the fact I didn't make a muslin before I started this dress, I ran into many unforeseen difficulties of piece matching. I am not sure how, but the notches for the skirt to bodice join did not match. There was more fabric in the bodice than there was supposed to be. The ruffle/shawl collar was also a bit of a conundrum. It did not look like it was going to fit the neckline. I did run an row of ease stitching to fit the collar into the neckline, but it fit rather well with only the teensiest bit of gathering. The instructions called for having the collar stitched on with wrong side to right side of bodice. The seam allowance was then to be turned under into the neckline. I didn't like that approach so I stitched the collar on with it inside the dress (right side of collar to wrong side of dress), so that when it was pulled out it covered the seam allowance. I clipped the seam so it would lay flat on the outside of the dress, and then understitched the seam to keep the lining from flipping to the outside. I think it worked rather well. :) The only thing is the collar does not sit as neatly as I would like. This has to do with the fact that I altered the shoulder angle but not the collar as well. Ug.
The belt was something of my own creation. Rather than do a long sash that tied in a bow, I decided to do a pleated/pintuck belt. I think it is wider than I would actually like, so I will probably take out the top pleat. At the same time I will probably replace the hook and eyes with an invisible zipper. That at least won't gape and come unhooked!
There are several things about this pattern I wish I had known before I started. (Most of these would have been solved by reading the instructions or making a toile.)
1. The shoulder seams are a little steep. I had to make the angle more shallow to get a nicer fit.
2. The shoulders were a little wide. This wasn't too hard to fix, but I do need to adjust the pattern for the change. This also meant that when I trimmed the excess of the shoulder, I had to trim the excess off of the arm whole.
3. The skirt was a little long. For some people this may not be a problem, but I am 5'2" and aesthetically it is a little more pleasing if I shorten it. As it is it falls below mid shin.
4. The given seam allowances are only 3/8 of an inch. Ouch. Yep, not much leeway for fitting issues. So I am going to want to adjust that when I make the other alterations to the pattern. 3/8 inch seam allowances are also not the easiest to finish. If it had been a standard seam allowance, I would have made use of French or flat felled seams as I mentioned above.
5. The bodice will need to be shortened. Again, this is probably not a problem for most, but being attitudinally challenged, I need to compensate for this.
6. I would prefer the bodice to be a little more fitted at the waist. The bodice is very bloused, and I usually do not prefer that much fabric bunching around my waist. I think a lot of this has to do with the time period coming out of the '20s with no waist definition working toward the '40s with a waist, but I still prefer a more fitted style. This might also fix the problem that I had of fitting the bodice to the skirt.
Most of the issues I had can be overcome with a little thought. Or they can be prevented by modification of the pattern beforehand. :) I still might see what can be done to fix the collar, but I won't be doing that for a while. I need a break from this project.
Sarah loves to sew, learn more about sewing, and create items with a vintage flair. Her arch enemy is clipping curves, and she has a tolerable relationship with the seam ripper.
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