I've had this vintage pattern for a while now, but couldn't decide what to make it in. However during a clean-out-under-the-bed I discovered a long forgotten roll of black polyester knit that ticked all the boxes! I normally avoid polyester but this is actually quite nice - it is matt, firm like a double knit, and sews and presses well. So you can see I'm not a total polyester snob, particularly when it involves using up old fabric. Although I bet this dress will be relegated to the back of the wardrobe as soon as the humidity arrives!
The pattern is Simplicity 1714 from 1956 - I liked the clean lines of the sheath, the raised neckline with a front notch, and the quirky pocket placement. This must have been the height of the sloping shoulder era, as I don't think I have seen illustrations this exaggerated before! Here's the description:
"Two silhouettes, the sheath and the graceful flare, highlight this simple town-going basic with 3/4 kimono sleeves. High neckline may be opened at centre or stitched. Welts detail the bodice at right and the skirt at left sides."
I've decided I want to stay true to the original design when sewing vintage patterns, so nothing was altered except the size - I'm afraid I am no longer a 33" bust! The pattern is a Junior Misses', I'm not sure what the difference is to a Misses' but it fits me well straight out of the packet.
One of the suggested seam finishes was pinking - and this fabric was perfect for that so I pinked wherever I could:
The sleeves have triple darts at the elbow - a nice detail don't you think?
The instructions call for fake welt pockets, which suited me in this fabric. I made the welts from a piece of silk satin that happened to be lying in the right place at the right time:
The raised neckline is darted and has a rather cute split at the CF (which is more visible when it is worn), along with a CB neck zip:
The pattern instructions said to finish the facing, then attach the zip, turning under the zip tape at the edge like this...
I always think this looks a bit huckery, so I inserted an invisible zip and faced it using my usual method. I inserted an invisible zip in the side seam too.
The pattern called for bias seam binding to edge the neck facing - I didn't have any of that, but I did have some stretch organza foldover binding which did the job nicely. I also used it to bind the hem edges of the sleeve and skirt, although the sleeve hem really needed bias binding.
Some electric blue grosgrain discovered in my trims was used to fix the waistline. I enjoy surprise touches like this - they make me smile every time I put the garment on, plus it uses up all those strange colours in your stash!
What else? You can see the reinforcing stitching at the underarm point:
Another thing I did is fusetape the endpoint of the skirt CB seam at the vent. On the L side I continued this down the inside fold of the pleat so it would press to a crisp fold:
Overall I'm really happy with this dress, it's very flattering and I think I'll wear it lots. I may taper the skirt (after I've lost a couple of my winter kilos!), as it is actually quite straight and not tapered as the illustration indicates.
I'm even thinking about making the "graceful flare" version just for fun - what do you think?