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May 11, 2013

A New Dress for Cathy!

Readers, I've changed my mind again.

I am not ready to jump immediately into the cotton-mohair suit jacket that goes with the pants I just made.  I'm tired and I want to have some fun.  Tailoring is rewarding, but fun it ain't.

I've decided to make Simplicity 4856, one of the great vintage patterns Debi sent me in exchange for that 1940 swimsuit pattern I sent her what seems like eons ago.  I love this dress -- simple (though not simple to construct) and elegant.

The dress has a surplice bodice gathered on one side and a beautifully draped skirt attached to a dropped waistline.  Classic.

This pattern was printed in Great Britain.  The pattern paper has a waxy surface on one side (very sturdy).  The envelope is black and white.  The instruction sheet is reduced in size -- one small sheet printed in tiny print on both sides (thank heaven for my "readers").

The pattern has only eight pattern pieces, not including a bias strip that finishes the neckline.

The pattern is unprinted and still has its original folds.

Given the style, I would date this 1943-45.  It reminds me a bit of the dress Judy Garland wore (designed by Irene) when she married Vincent Minnelli in 1945. 

Not to be confused with the wedding dress Judy wore when she married Mickey Deans in 1969.

I made my muslin today, and though I'm not quite finished you can see where it's going.

I used an old cotton/poly sheet I found months ago at the Salvation Army.  It's not very soft to the touch but I like the print, which has a vintage Forties feel.  (It drapes OK -- nothing special.  For the final dress I'm thinking silk or some kind of crepe.)

Anyway, except for getting the bodice sides reversed, it went together pretty fast.  I still have to stitch the skirt to the dropped, shaped waistline -- one of the prettiest features of the dress.  The skirt will be attached lower than seen here and the gathers more evenly and artfully arranged.  Plus there will be 3/4 sleeves.  But you get the idea.

Readers, that's it.  I am so happy not to be tailoring a jacket this weekend.  

Happy Saturday, everybody!

Another Judy wedding dress.  Who designed it and whom was she marrying?


  1. That's her wedding dress from The Pirate when she is supposed to be marrying Don Pedro Vargas. Brilliant movie. Don't know who designed it though.

  2. Tom Keogh is credited for the design, although Costume Supervision was by Irene, and they were built by Karinska.

  3. Well, I think that if any era was going to suit our Cathy, it is this one. The idealised drawings with their broad shoulders and slim hips suit her figure perfectly. Thank goodness too that you share so much DNA, so you can use yourself as a dress dummy for her, and she can just waltz in, dump Simplicity in your arms, step into your latest creation, and breeze out!

  4. I bet Cathy will be very happy with her new dress I know I would be. I look wonderful and you did a great job Peter. Love the fabric you used too.

  5. I don't know who designed Judy's wedding dress, but it reminds me of Princess Diana's one designed by the Emannuels!

  6. Love the idea of crepe...
    wonder if piping would help stabilize that curved waistline?

  7. Aww Willy - so great to see you. I do miss cuddling you. Cathy is going to love this dress.

  8. I was wondering when Cathy was going to get new threads! Looks very nice indeed :)

  9. Willy, Michael, and the couch! All is right with the world.

    Have to carp on the question, do you truly have 12 machines?? Those of us counting at home have a different total.

  10. Now that is a beautiful pattern! (And the sheet isn't bad either.) Elle

  11. This dress looks incredibly nice and flattering.

    I have a question though : what do you do with all these dresses ? How often are they worn ? I'd love to sew myself a vintage dress but can't justify spending so much time on something I can't wear daily.

  12. I think the wearable muslin looks fantastic!

  13. I'm curious how your muslin would have looked if you'd sewn it on the bias. It's a very promising muslin, in silk or crepe it'll be beautiful.

  14. Oooh! That fabric looks lovely!

  15. Yay!! The muslin looks great...I just love the lines of this pattern!!

  16. the bodice on this design is beautiful!!!


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