Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A kitty Valentines Dress and a Computer Disaster!

As mentioned in a previous post, I started working on a frock from a 1951 Australian Home Journal pattern

Frock 7852 on the left
From a delightfully light, slinky (probably polyester) black fabric with a print of white kitties and red and white hearts, perfect for Valentines Day

My bargain kitty fabric, only $2 p/m!
As with pretty much every vintage pattern I own/sew, this one needed to be graded up to my size. Home journal patterns come in a 36 inch bust, so I needed to add roughly 7 inches. This is a fairly loose style, even though it is from 1951, it still has a very 1940's silhouette, so the fit is quite simple with a bit of ease. Most of you will know by now I usually prefer a more fitted bodice, but this just seemed perfect for this fabric, and for summer weather.

To grade up, I do my own version of the slash and spread method, without actually slashing the original pattern. I trace the pattern on to tissue paper, moving the pattern piece over in places to add extra width. I never add extra length to the bodice pieces, even though you are supposed to if you are grading up properly, as I am fairly short waisted. Apart from being obviously plus sized, my structure is actually quite petite, so I have to do my best to not add much (if any at all) extra width to my shoulder seams, and even necklines. As the slash and spread adds width everywhere, I occassionally pivot a pattern piece by the shoulder when tracing, so that most of the width is added to the bust and waist. If the waist ends up too big, I then make the darts deeper or take some width from the side seams at the bottom.

Here you can see the original pattern pieces, comparitive to the ones I have graded up for myself, as well as the facing pieces that the magazine says to draft yourself (as every good home seamstress should already know how to do)

I decided to change the style of sleeve into a more flared "flutter" sleeve. This can be acheived using another variation of the slash and spread method, where you keep the top line of the pattern (where it attaches to the shoulder) intact, and just add more volume to the hemline of the sleeve. Again, I just sorta taced and moved and traced, but here is a quick diagram from google to explain better

And here are the 2 pattern pieces to compare. Keep in mind, mine is graded up AND altered, which is why the top edge is much larger than the original.

Flutter sleeve pattern alteration

Love starting a new spool of Gutermann!
I started by gathering up the 2 edges on the front of the bodice, and sewing them to the triangular piece in the centre, which I then pinned to my mannequin to see how it looked, and I was pretty happy with it.

Front bodice piece pinned to my mannequin
Instead of using the pattern for the skirt, I decided to cut out a full circle skirt, but I cut it larger than needed, as I wanted gathers at the waist as well.

I had some help cutting out the skirt
Once I had the bodice pieces together, I gathered up the sleeve heads and fit them in to the arm hole, sewed in the facings, then sewed the 2 skirt pieces together, gathered them, then attached the skirt to the bodice.  I then put the dress on my mannequin with my thin red belt to see how it looks. 

Seeing how it looks, still needs a zip and hem
The hemline was sitting pretty wonky, I'm not used to cutting circle skirts out of such a slinky fabric with so much movement to it, so I left it there overnight and evened it out the next morning. Next up, I hemmed the sleeves, put in the side zip, and hemmed the skirt. All I need to do now, is the gathering on either side of the neckine and a few tacks here and there to keep the facing from escaping.

I thought it would be an awesome idea to copy out and scan the pattern for this dress so I could provide a free pdf pattern to my readers. So I traced the original pieces and my graded up pieces of the bodice on to A4 pieces, but when I went to scan it all in, my laptop crapped itself. 


Looks like the hard drive has become corrupted, so I will be spending tomorrow morning removing it from the laptop and trying to salvage what I can from it,  then my lovely husband is going to put together a desktop computer out of parts we have lying around for me, and I shall try again. The laptop was from 2008 and had bee n BSOD-ing for a while, so I really should have seen this coming and backed up my files.

Hopefully, I will have the pattern ready for you guys by the time I have some nice photos of this dress to go with it.


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