Wow, brocade is a pain to sew. It frays if you even breathe on it. I got the royal blue rose jacquard satin fabric used for this project from Fabric.com and it was described as a “lightweight satin”. It is more of a mid-weight bordering on the heavy side brocade with the traditional long threads in the rose design, hence the terrible fraying. To stop the immediate fraying, each pattern piece had to be sewn as it came off the cutting table around all the edges with the 3-Step-Zigzag stitch.
I used a vintage pattern, Hollywood 945 and besides grading up 2 sizes, I had to make some adjustments to the fit, since my waist is not the same circumference as my neck as apparently women’s waists were during WWII.
I took in the shoulders by 1 inch and skipped the shoulder pads. I already have broad shoulders and padding them makes me resemble a football (American Football) player. I also fully lined the bodice rather than the typical facings they always seemed to use then. I think they had to do that because of rationing to save fabric or maybe that was just the way dressmaking was done then.
I hemmed it above my knees because I’ll have to dance in this dress and will be doing a couple of high kicks. The shoes I matched for Pattern Review’s challenge are a pair of ballroom dance shoes. Low heels because my dance partner for this number is of short stature.
I skipped the bodice bow because I wanted to wear this beautiful pair of vintage rhinestone dress clips.
I not really pleased with the dress because of the fabric. It’s fairly stiff and it doesn’t show the side draping effect. I had to tame the side drape pleating by ironing it down with lots of steam. Otherwise it bumped out in a strange lump at my waist and not even the bow could hide it. I also made a change to the pattern by putting in a center back seam zipper with an anachronistic invisible zipper. I hate having to struggle into my dresses and the original keyhole back neck with a side seam of hooks or snaps just won’t do it for me.I would like to try this pattern again in a rayon challis, the kind of flowing, draping fabric this pattern seems to have been designed for. Here is the matching hat I made for the dance demo:
I just love any opportunity to wear my vintage Weiss rhinestone jewelry.
I think Jim did a remarkable job for a man who has NEVER danced before: