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Jun 24, 2014

Getting Started on Cathy's Floral Rayon Day Dress



Readers, I am happy to report that Cathy's new frock, McCall's 4752 (from 1942, I believe) is coming along smoothly.

You'll recall that I'm using a rayon print I found at the flea market on Saturday for $5.  I'm not certain that it's truly vintage, but to me it has a very Forties feel. (You may or may not know that I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to the fabric of the Forties.)



As I mentioned on Sunday's vlog, there were a few small tears in the fabric, but fortunately I was able to cut around them.  (If I'd noticed them at the market I might have passed on the fabric so I'm glad I didn't!)

The only pattern adjustment I generally make on these vintage patterns (Size 18, 36" bust) is to add 1/2" to each waist seem allowance and to extend the length of the bodice by 1".



The rayon cut like butta' -- very easy to work with though it's a little shifty.  Very few of the seams are cut parallel to the selvage so there's a minimum of fraying.  I serged the seam allowances that seemed likely to fray (like the side bodice seams).



I thought about underlining the bodice but decided against it (Cathy will be wearing a full slip) -- I want to keep this light.  I interfaced the neck facings with a very lightweight fusible from Steinlauf & Stoller.  Naturally I tested on a sample first.



The dress is full of tucks and small pleats.  The tucks look soft and creamy in this fabric.



The bodice front and center front skirt seam have topstitching detail; I opted for matching thread as it seemed the safest choice.





Here's a peek at the collar.



I was going to insert a regular side zipper, as per the very densely detailed, one-page instructions, but I only had an invisible zipper that was long enough, so I used that.  I was a little nervous attaching it to this shifty rayon but it worked great.  I used a regular zipper foot first and followed up with an invisible zipper foot.





The sleeves went on without a hitch -- big Joan Crawford shoulder pads will be inserted.  Tomorrow I'll work on the matching belt and start the bolero jacket.  I may make the jacket out of one of these two green cottons I found at the Salvation Army this afternoon (both sheets, one moss, one celadon).   I'm leaning toward making it reversible, which means I won't have to finish seam allowances.





This silk faille from Elliott Berman is another possibility if I want to go luxe.  I won it at a Pattern Review party.



And that's it.  It's always fun to return to dressmaking -- it's been a long time.  In a way dresses are easier than menswear but they require much more fitting.  Luckily Cathy's subletting nearby.

Hope your sewing projects are going well.

Have a great day, everybody!

BIG shoulder pad.

25 comments:

  1. That looks like it's going to be perfectly lovely - just the thing for a big shady hat, just the right jewels, and perhaps even a summer fur...

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  2. Wow! The dress is coming out nice! Cathy's going to love it. :)

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  3. Love that fabric and dress pattern. Beautiful!

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  4. That dress is going to be spectacular. Needs big strappy shoes a la Crawford to do it justice. I am sure Cathy has something in that line. That topstitching is sublime. I like that the first 3 commentators were men.

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  5. Funny, I liked that the first four commenters were men...sorry to break the chain...
    I love the topstitching! Can't wait to see Cathy wearing it.

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  6. Stunning. I love it. So glad that you are making something for Cathy. Can't wait to see you model it.

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  7. Wow, Cathy is a very lucky lady! I love this dress and agree it will be very "Joan". Can't wait to see Cathy model it. Will she be bringing little Simplicity? Maybe not such a good idea in a "Joan " dress. ;)

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  8. Can't wait to see the finished dress, also have to compliment you on your pattern matching along the zip!

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  9. What a beautiful colour red is that fabric! top marks for pattern matching and zip insertion too. Cheers, Anne-Marie

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  10. This looks lovely, and a bolero would finish it exquisitely (especially in the silk faille!) I’m curious about your using two zipper feet for the invisible zipper. The regular one to baste the edge of the tape to the seam allowance? I thought the advantage of invisible zippers was that could be inserted in one pass?

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    1. The first pass with the regular zipper foot provides an additional line of stitching as reinforcement

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  11. It is so lovely, even on you. I'm loving that fabric. I might have to pull out a piece I have that's crepe and very similar in design.

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  12. Just remember: no wire hangers.

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  13. Looks beautiful -- love her in red. I was just thinking that your new blue jacket would look great thrown over Cathy's shoulders in this dress. Can't wait for the photo shoot.

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  14. Makes me want to pull out all my vintage patterns and go to work!

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  15. do you use your kennmore158-1040 for most of your sewing? what make and model do use for buttonholes?

    thank you,

    craig

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    1. Craig, I generally use my 158.141 (the 1040 is a 3/4 size machine; I have one but never use it). I do my buttonholes with a vintage Singer buttonholer:

      http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com/2012/07/peter-speaks-singer-buttonholer-video.html

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  16. I am so excited to see this one. Really loving the pattern and the fabric. And I always love seeing Cathy in a pretty new outfit!

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  17. OT but I wanted to thank you for your blog list. I enjoy reading the blogs of men who sew and I usually learn something or get ideas that I just don't run across on women's blogs. So thanks and keep up the good work, please!

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  18. oooh don't you look lovely! adore the fabric!
    Frankie
    http://www.knitwits-owls.blogspot.co.uk/

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  19. Oh, right in the sweet spot! Perfect dress, perfect fabric - oh, I must put aside my other, tedious projects to concoct another of these! Nothing better than a rayon day dress. Matching hat and handbag next! (or a straw hat with the rayon as the ribbon trim!)

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  20. ...and I thought Cathy went all Brooklyn on us.

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  21. I was worried that Cathy had joined Scientology and was secreted away, never to be seen for years on end :(

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