Finally Something simple

You all know by now that I love trying out new patterns and discovering mistakes and bad design features but this week a client left a simple pattern and challenging fabric. She actually can sew for herself and small children but this fabric was some sort of rayon blend charmeuse which tended to wander and stretch out of shape and it would have been a real struggle for her to finish it in time for her special event in Barcelona, Spain. She and her husband will be flying out for a convention and she wanted a cocktail type dress that could be packable and still look sexy when she wore it.

Let’s start with the pattern, Vogue 8961 and the Pattern Review notes:P1170514 Back in the late 80’s and 90’s the bat-wing style was very popular but it also came along with huge shoulder pads and this dress would have been cut in one piece with a line drawn on the waist of paper pattern saying “attach elastic here”. Thankfully this pattern has a separate top and skirt joined with an elastic tunnel. Big deal you say? Well, it is a big deal for fitting as my client is very short waisted and I could sew the skirt seam higher up on the bodice rather than making lots of alterations beforehand.

My only reservation was the depth of the underarm seam and whether it would be flattering or look young enough for her. On the model V8961it looked droopy and wrinkled so I did something about it after pinning it on her. The front and back bodice sections were altered:P1170509P1170512 I followed the pinned line and traced and re-cut the top part and also dropped the back neckline 2 inches. The front V was low and the client wanted an equally deep V in the back but I explained this would cause the top to be so unstable even with making bra strap guards to keep it on her shoulders…so we compromised. With the waist measuring 11 X 4 to have enough ease, the skirt sections also had to match and then flare out a little over the hips.


After all this messing we got this:P1170524P1170525

By raising the underarm seams it made the dress more modern and young and with a short waisted client you need to emphasize the waist and bust and not let it be covered up with so much fabric. So what did it look like inside? Well, the back neckline was bound and the front neckline had a facing and the shoulders had bra strap guards:inside-shoulderbra-strap-guard and the hem had a Hong Kong finish:hong-kong-hem

The one drawback to this nice slippery fabric is the weave…it can catch on sharp things and make a pull which shows, so I advised my client to wrap it in tissue paper for the trip in case it shifted in the suitcase and caught on something.

Before I get back to the brides I want to share what I find under the dresses all the time:

bad-netting Layer after layer of crumbled, folded, smashed netting will do nothing to hold out the skirt of a gown and bridal shop owners never steam/iron these layers. It makes me crazy and I iron every layer to make them crisp enough to do their job.

Next time a real treat…flash back to the real 1980’s!



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9 Responses to Finally Something simple

  1. birdmommy says:

    Hmm, amazing what a difference those changes make! I saw that pattern and decided it wasn’t for me (with my bust, I didn’t think all the extra fabric would look good). But with the changes you made, it could look cute… of course, I’m also trying not to buy any new patterns until we sell our house. Oh, well – I’ll put it on the list! 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      This could also be a bathing suit cover up…don’t think of it as a dress…it is just a bag with a waist so it can be anything made up with something in the stash!

  2. Lynda says:

    Cute dress. I avoid those sleeves because of my narrow sloping shoulders, but keep looking at the patterns anyway. You have such amazing knowledge of how to make things work!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Lynda…I tell folks I just pin out what we DON’T want and keep the stuff we Do want…starting with such a big baggy dress really shows what a little tweaking can do.

  3. prttynpnk says:

    I remember wanting this pattern- now I know what I could do to make it sing!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Do it, Anne, just stitch higher up after basting or pinning…don’t be afraid to alter this one as there is plenty of fabric hanging down. It lends itself to be petite-able or longer waisted. It can hide square shoulders or with some shoulder pads…enhance narrow sloping ones.

  5. Sewellen says:

    Wow, great alteration on that dress. It looks really good on her. Thanks for sharing.

  6. BeaJay says:

    Lovely. Great save on those sleeves. It does look lovely and young now. I have a pattern I have just cut out with those sleeves so I will now pay particular attention to how they look and how I might alter them.

  7. Bunny says:

    Those sleeves are so much more flattering. Great job, Mrs Mole!

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