Sexy and Complicated

by Erin on August 22, 2007

Advance 113

That's what Rita at Chez Cemetarian called this dress, and I agree. Wholeheartedly.

The pattern's up on eBay right now; click on the image to visit her auction.

This dress has me completely bowled over. That's one … engrossing … project, right there! I've seen simpler skirts on wedding dresses. In fact, this would make a pretty kick-ass wedding dress. Or I'd love to see someone wearing it at the Oscars. Heck, I'd love to see someone wearing this in their living room. I just want it to be worn!

Also, I'd never seen an "Advance Import" pattern before, but you can be sure I'll be looking for them now. This one, as you can see (and is discussed more in the listing) is from Battilocchi of Rome.

Oh, and if you check the back of the pattern (helpfully provided by Cemetarian) you can see that the width of the Incredible Skirt at the hem edge? THIRTEEN YARDS. That's five or six packages of bias binding, to put it in perspective. Thirteen yards of hem … again: serious project.

I wish I could see just one version of this made up — actually, I wish I could hover unseen over the shoulder of someone making this up, back in the day. I've never really been into sewing shows, but I'd make an exception to watch someone putting this together … of course, if they were filming me they'd have to bleep a lot. Those godets! The in-seam folds! Matching all those seams!

I think I have to go lie down now, and I just got up. Thanks, Rita!

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

India August 22, 2007 at 9:57 am

Wow, gorgeous.Last fall, Max Studio had a lot of dresses with interesting tucks and folds and so forth, but the fancies were mostly in the bodices, not the skirts–no doubt because of the massive amount of fabric required for a skirt like this.


enc August 22, 2007 at 10:00 am

I really like the look of that. The seams of the bodice, following their way down to the skirt are so interesting. Also, that notch at the neckline is so pretty. It’s really fantastic.


Kristen August 22, 2007 at 10:12 am

exactly what you said! that is one serious project.


Sydneys Vintage Clothing August 22, 2007 at 10:22 am

That pattern is FABulous! I would LOVE to see a dress like it. And the thought of owning one, better get out the credit card!


Summerset August 22, 2007 at 10:34 am

WOW! I have seen Advance Imports before; they’re rarer and demand a higher price; even back then the pattern cost $1.00!This would make a great series for my blog. The sewing isn’t a problem, but wining the pattern would be the real trick!


Ladygrande (Texas Marie) August 22, 2007 at 10:47 am

That one is a headache dress if I ever saw one – but, gorgeous!


Latter-Day Flapper August 22, 2007 at 10:50 am

Oh, that skirt has potential, transcontinental hem-width or not. I can see contrasting inserts. Droooool.


Anonymous August 22, 2007 at 11:10 am

Wow times a million! How are the tucks made in the inserts? Any ideas?


Jonquil August 22, 2007 at 11:15 am

Cigarette? ::offers you one in candy::I wonder how you’d keep the inset pleats at the top partly open. Horsehair? Tulle? I saw in Patterns of Fashion a hem treatment I absolutely adored: there were vertical slits in the hem folded back, making large triangles with lapels, if you can visualize that, and pleated patches in a contrast color inserted underneath. I always wanted to do those in some red textury fabric (velveteen?) with crisp white pleats.

Reply August 22, 2007 at 11:28 am

I’ve had this on my watch list since Rita listed it.Just amazing and those in seam folds…just wow….


Diane August 22, 2007 at 11:36 am

Yikes! Even my size 6 daughter couldn’t fit into a B30. Since this would be a grading nightmare I think it would easier to modify Vogue 2903. The skirt already has pleats that could be stitched down farther and adding godets would be easy enough. The tricky part is the pleat opening and that, of course, is a detail that should not be ommited. I’d love to see Somerset tackle this one in Dupioni silk perhaps?


Mad Fashionista August 22, 2007 at 11:53 am

My dears, don’t any of you have seamstresses? Any modish woman should have some poor half-starved old woman grateful for one’s trade ready to whip this up! I confess, I have had one or two die on me, but another always turns up. That’s the beauty of New York City. Sewing would destroy my manicure!


twollin August 22, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Erin – I may be treading on thin ice here, but I have to say that I like the purple one in the back a whole lot better than the ice blue one in the front with all the extra schtuff going on in ths skirt. All that is missing from that one is about 30 bows highlighting each and every one of those folds. Jeeze. I can see that one in the back in dupioni (yep, I do love me some dupioni) is..well, I think any color will do because all of those seams will just set everything off nicely.


nance August 22, 2007 at 12:15 pm

wow, those insets are intriguing. on the pattern back, under suggested notions, it says “36 yards of yarn for insets”. i am wondering how those insets would stay open? the yarn must have something to do with this. anyone have a clue?


anthrok8 August 22, 2007 at 12:24 pm

If Judi Chicago or Georgia O’Keefe designed dresses, this would feature in their collections.It’s very cool!


lindylady1 August 22, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I’m with twollin. While the godets and in-seam folds are interesting, the version without is more classically elegant. And I’d never make this in a print or you’d obscure those beautiful seam lines – not to mention that seam matching nightmare you pointed out. I’m getting a headache and eyestrain just thinking about it.


Jonquil August 22, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Hmm. If you got thick yarn, you could use it as cording behind the insets, running down the center of each pleat. That might give it enough volume to work. Lots of handsewing there, though.


Anonymous August 22, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Katie you just COMPLETELY ruined this dress for me. Ewwww!!!


Katie Alender August 22, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Fair enough, Anon, I’ll retract. 😉


Anonymous August 22, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Oh Katie – now I see it!


La BellaDonna August 22, 2007 at 4:09 pm

At a guess, the yarn could be used as a stay to keep the pleats open; if the yarn is shorter than the pleat, the pleat will, perforce, have to stay open – and it looks as if there is a double strand of yarn right down the center of the little dickenses – you can see where the dress pulls up at the hem, by the godets. It would be VERY easy to modify one of the Vogue Vintage patterns for this; I don’t have the pattern in front of me, but I think it’s one of the 1957 princess-line patterns. It would be dead easy to add godets at the hem, but for it to be an ERIN dress, I don’t think it should have pleated sections – I think each one of those should be POCKETS. In colours to match the godets.


Theresa August 22, 2007 at 4:53 pm

I am with twolling and lindy lady — to me it’s a little over-egging the custard. My wedding dress was VintageVogue 2903 and it took the seamstress 2-1/2 hours to do the hem and it was only 7 yards of fabric.


Jen ~ MOMSPatterns August 22, 2007 at 5:02 pm

I’m putting it on my watch list for you, too, Rita.. let us know when you hit the Pulse!My jaw absolutely DROPPED when I first saw Rita post about this. This would be one that I’d find and never be able to sell because it would just be stood up on my desk to drool over for years. Did anyone ever find any information out about the designer? I wonder what other treats she had up HER sleeve?


Joni August 22, 2007 at 5:50 pm

I agree, the skirt openings look fairly obscene. I’m glad I’m not the only one whose filthy mind went there immediately. ;-)I do like the normal version though. Since this is one of those million-gored wonders, couldn’t one (if one is a B30, which no one over the age of 12 actually is) do this in two colors for a striped effect? I’m thinking it would look really striking in black and ivory satin… Of course, then someone might try to play you but that’s the risk you take.


renee August 22, 2007 at 6:17 pm

I am stunned — just last week I was talking with my mom about a dress she made in the early 60s which was a Vogue pattern by a designer ( who I won’t name because I am searching for it ). From her description it sounded exactly like THIS dress! She explained that the instructions said that when you wore it you were to ‘pouf out’ all of those insets. Which would give an entirely different look than what some above have eluded to. I wonder if Battilocci of Rome was ‘influenced’ by the Vogue pattern or vice versa………..


CEMETARIAN We Dig Memories August 22, 2007 at 7:03 pm

I’m glad ya’ll like it…I knew it was special the moment I found it…….I haven’t had a 30 inch bust line since I was 10 and I’m much older and thicker now……..or I would be keeping it myself.I noticed the unmentioned allusion in the pleats too, but I let it slide……..I’d show you the instructions but that would ruin the mystery.Thanks Erin for your fabulous site, your wonderful wit and your generousity of spirit in sharing your finds with the world.Rita


Anonymous August 22, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Such a difference between this and the simple shift dresses of the early sixties! What happened?Did the price of fabric climb dramatically? Did women just get tired of sewing all that yardage – or wearing it? (It has to have been heavy.)I’m impressed with this eBay seller, not that I ever buy vintage patterns. If I did, I’d want to buy from someone who can tell me if it’s printed or precut.


CEMETARIAN We Dig Memories August 22, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Thank you………..I think! LOL


Nora August 22, 2007 at 7:41 pm

That is positively architecturally baroque. I’d actually like to see the in-seam folds duplicated at the bustline seams, and the godets echoed at the sleeves, just to take it totally over the top (and yet distract a little from the obvious body-part echoes); and I think you’d have to do it in cool greys and silver: dupioni would be great, or some weird silk-and-wool combination – I think it would be amazing all in the same color but with the different parts in different fabric types: satin in-seam folds and collar, main body in gabardine, godets in organdy, something like that. Very haute couture. Otherwise, I’d love to see someone just completely go for it in fleshtoned silk charmeuse and velvet, pink and red and brown, and wear it to one’s own wedding as a fertility fetish.And actually, with all those built-in seams it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to grade up. The hemming, on the other hand, would be sisyphean.Oh please someone make it and send Erin the photo!!!


Anonymous August 23, 2007 at 8:28 am

This is one gorgeous dress! I had the pleasure (?) of making a dress for a wedding my sister was in that had a gathered skirt that took forever to hem because of the size of it. It had two layers and the one on top was really filmy and a pain to work with. The only reason I did it was because she bought about 5 yards of velvet to make the top, mainly because she doesn’t sew, and said I could have the remnants. I made christmas dresses for both my daughters from that “remnant”On another note, where is the best place online to get vintage material?Linda


Susan August 23, 2007 at 8:31 am

I’m with twollin, too – I prefer the purple view; I’d like to see it in a dupioni silk, too.LOL at the comment about having a seamstress – that immediately came to mind – it would be worth hiring one just for this one dress!


Linda August 23, 2007 at 9:20 am

As a professional seamstress, this is the type of dress I like to attempt once a year for myself to keep my skills sharp. My interpretaion would be a solid colour to show off the seam lines, then somehow make the underlay of the pleats a lighter tint of the main colour possibly in a softer fabric, same with the godets. Making the collar from the tint would tie the look together. Needless to say, a full crinoline petticoat would be needed with a dress like this. I would add a full boned underlining to a dress like this, again to hold the shape of the dress and to exersize the sewing skills. The thirteen yard hem doesn’t scare me, not like a five yard bridal train scares me. It might be a fun project for after christmas which is my least busy time of the year. Certainly well worth the time and effort it would take!


barbie2be August 23, 2007 at 2:54 pm

oh. my. God! i love this dress! i am pretty much a whore for anything with godets or peplums but this is gorgeous! i would make it and then just lay about the house with a martini in my hand while wearing it.


Martha August 23, 2007 at 10:45 pm

This is a fantabulous dress. I can imagine swishing around in it. As I turned, my head would lead, highlighting my collarbones, then my body would turn, the skirt following seconds after. The detail in the purple that I don’t like is the skinny belt. The blue dress lets the seams highlight her curves, and let you see the perfectly lined up seams (in my imaginary perfect version).


Anonymous March 13, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Sewing Friends,My daughter would love this for her wedding gown, it would look fabulous on her.Can you please help me find it?Lin


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