I adore window shopping the ModCloth website. Even before I started sewing I remembering thinking how fabulous it would be to have a closet full of there retro dresses. Alas I could never afford them. Last year I fell in love with the Luck Be A Lady dress on Modcloth but I just knew it would be too short on me and who’s going to pay $80 for polyester anyway. I pinned it to serve as inspiration.
It wasn’t until I found Vouge 1353 pattern that I got the idea to make this dress myself. The vogue pattern had all the important elements: pleated neckline, fit-n-flair shape, pleated skirt.
I wanted to stick with the same slightly nautical colorway of the original. I picked a blue and cream fabric in a linen blend from Joann’s and went to work. Since I was super excited about this dress I actually did multiple muslins (look who’s growing up!). To get a better fit I lowered the arm scythe by 7/8″ and narrowed the straps by 1/2″. I lengthened the front and sides by and inch but graded to nothing in the center back in lieu of a swayback adjustment.
I kept the 6 pleats on the bodice since I wasn’t to confident in my ability to draft it down to 2. I think it gives it a softer look anyway.
Most of the changes I made to match the inspiration happened on the skirt. I shorted the blue fabric by an 1″ and then cut a 9″ wide strip of the cream fabric folded in half. I serged the white strip onto the bottom of the skirt. Pressed towards the blue and then edge stitched it to keep the allowance in place. I vastly prefered this to my normal hem procedure and I love how clean it looks. Don’t think this would would as easily on a curved hem but I will keep in the back of my head the next time I have a similar skirt.
The pattern had the skirt pleats all running in one direction. I used the same pleat markings but did them as inverted box pleats instead to more closely mimic the inspiration dress. I also added some side seam pockets since the original dress had them and all girls love pockets.
I used cream Bemburg lining on the bodice and cream thread in my serger (Though in retrospect I would have preferred if I had used navy lining darker thread). I had a feeling that the white was going to peek out so I sewed a sort of facing around the neckline in the largest scrap of blue I could find. I figured the neckline would be the most noticeable place if the white did peak out. I also put a waist stay which is a first for me. I was hoping it would take some of the pressure off the invisible zip at the waist seam, though it seems to make it a little more difficult to zip up.
I am so pleased with the finished dress and how close it is to the original. It’s still pretty cold here in Colorado to wear this dress but pop a blouse underneath and it’s a much warmer option.
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The last few weeks have been jam packed full of work. I spent one week in LA doing market research. It was so interesting to be behind the two way mirror and watch what everyone was saying. This is truly something I never would have got to experience or be a part of if I had stayed at my old job. As exciting as it was after 5 13 hr days in a row I was ready to come back home and see Uzzi and Tony. Then last week I spent tasting 100s of pasta and sauces that are currently on the market so I can pull all the best attributes of each for our project. I never want to see another noodle again!
Needless to say there hasn’t been much time for sewing. I did manage to squeeze one dress in, a Vogue 8789.
I have a feeling this might be the last dress of the year. The timeline with this client is so condensed the next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind. I have another 6 more trips to take before Christmas and a few other side sewing projects that I will tell you about later. Now onto the dress.
I fell down the pintrest rabbit hole a few weeks ago and was fascinated by the use of indian saris in the 50s that were refashioned into dresses. I’m not sure if this classifies as cultural appropriation but none the less a few hours later and 7 vintage saris were on there way to me from India.
For my first sari dress I used a mauve cotton with gold woven design. I don’t think it screams indian but maybe I’m just fooling myself.
The bodice is cut out of the Pallu. Then the skirt is just a large gathered rectangle. I just left the salvage edge on the skirt since 1) I didn’t feel like hemming that much fabric and 2) I didn’t want to lose any of the pretty gold boarder.
I am quite happy with how these buttons look on each shoulder. They are also fully functional incase I have a giant hairdo to fit through the top!
The fabric was quite thin so I ended up fully lining the dress in a black batiste from my stash. For the skirt lining I cut a 1/4 circle skirt to keep some of the bulk out of the waist. I attached the facings to the bodice lining so none of the black would accidentally peak out.
I think my favorite part of the dress is one you cant even see. That gold boarder from the hem was on both salvage edges so I made an extra ruffle and attached it to the lining to give the skirt a little extra volume. You don’t even need a petticoat with this dress now! I covered the top edge of the ruffle with some satin ribbon I had in my notions box. Now thats a detail you certainly never see in contemporary clothes.
The dress isn’t finished just yet. Since this was my first time sewing a vogue pattern the fit isn’t exactly how I expected. I need to take it in a bit at the waist and perhaps reshape the neck opening a bit in the front so it sits a little flatter.
I’ll have to think of what to do with the rest of saris. Im just not a fan of the gathered waist on my figure. Perhaps I can do a pleated skirt next.