This is one of the 1960s dress patterns I bought recently- this one for the neat back pleat. I wanted to get a good look at how it was drafted and sewn with the closure above it. Well, as it turns out, I'm not in love with the exact way that this pattern sews the pleat, but it was nice to get a chance to walk through really making one, handling the lining, and thinking about construction methods.
Last year I bought about 4 yards of black stretch wool suiting at one of the teensy hole-in-the-wall stores in the garment district. It turned out to be perfect to try out this project with. Since I only paid about $20 for the whole 4 yards I wasn't terribly concerned if it turned out horribly. That said, I wanted to practice some of my fancy dress and jacket making techniques that are often skipped over... this is was a "slow down and do things the correct way" project.
The jacket is underlined in silk organza, and the markings for darts were transferred to the organza using chalk paper and a tracing wheel. I basted the underlining on the first two pieces using the sewing machine, but I didn't really like how it came out, so the rest were hand basted. When I made my BWOF coat a few weeks ago (I'll blog that soon, really!) the machine basting went fine, because it was flannel being basted to a tweed. This one, however, was very thin stretch wool being basted to shifty silk organza, and it just didn't work. Hand basting came out much smoother and honestly went faster. The bolero is so tiny that it only took a few minutes to do each piece. You can see the top piece below is hand basted and the bottom one is machine basted.
The darts are at the back of the neck on the jacket. Another vintage detail that I always love since it makes the jacket hang easily from your shoulders! Here are the darts all sewn up:
The pattern came with separate top and bottom collar pieces- both cut on the bias- which stitched up and went in with no fuss. Gotta love good drafting, thank you Simplicity pattern maker! For a lining in the jacket I used some ambiance scraps. Let me repeat my least favorite things about ambiance: it shifts when you cut it. It shifts when you pin it. It acts all squirelly when you sew it. I singe my fingers trying to press the seams open. Sigh. And yet I still keep buying it because I forget the pain too quickly or something. Here's the lining hand sewn to the outer sleeve.
The dress is lined in a navy blue silk habotai, because that's what was in my stash. It feels *fantastic*. Wow... the silk is very light, and the dress is rather loose, but it has this very wonderful presence when it's on. So I rather think that there will be many silk habotai lined dresses coming out of my sewing room in the future. ;-)
There's a front seam in the dress, which has a little bit of shaping to it, but I chose to be lazy and just cut the front of the dress on the fold. This is a B36, when I really wear a B34, so I figured the minimal shaping in the front seam wouldn't make too big of a difference. I did take the side seams in a smidge at the very top, but otherwise I just let it be a bit loose. I'll be wearing this in the winter, and you'll never see the lack of extra front shaping under a sweater. I'm not sure how much wear this will really get, since it's very dressy for my office. I suppose it might be good for going out to dinner with my sailor, or worn with a warm coat and tights to go out to lunch in NYC or something. I enjoyed making the bolero but it feels like a 1960s costume with the dress, so they might get separated.
So these aren't the best pictures ever... I got my dad to go out on the deck to take them since photographing black is so difficult. The jacket and dress are both in massive need of a good pressing. My excuse here is that I was deep into cooking dinner when my dad came back with the dogs, so I hopped into the dress and dragged him out on the deck before the sun set.
The dress does kind of pull at the very front of my neck, because the weight of the pleat kind of tugs down in the back. I talked this over with my mom, and we think that it will be OK in a wedding dress because the front neckline will be lower, and it will be much more fitted around my ribs. Also, the wool I used here is much heaver than the silk for my dress will be. So. that was my holiday weekend wedding dress research. ;-)