How Many Ways?

by Erin on October 25, 2007

McCalls 5274

Not only does this pattern description (from Out of the Ashes) use one of my favorite words (plastron, 'an ornamental front of a woman's bodice or shirt') but it also seems to be a dress that just cries out for multiple iterations.

Whenever I buy a new pattern (or merely think of buying a new pattern) I sit down (metaphorically) and try to work through all the different ways I'd like to make it.

This one, although I'm not sure exactly how it goes together (there's a back pattern view available but it's a bit small and I can't puzzle out the pieces) suggests to me, just to start:

— a black dress with white plastron, and vice-versa
— a blue dress with a darker blue (or maybe even a yellow) plastron
— edging the plastron with piping or rickrack
— solid dress, gingham plastron, and vice-versa
— coordinating prints of some kind
— border print along bottom of full skirt AND bottom of plastron (curved around plastron? — probably impossible)
— black silk with giant jeweled button
— white pique, edged in red/white trim at neck, sleeves, and hem, with red patterned button
— floral silk with artificial flower instead of button
— ombre fabric going from dark to light on both skirt and plastron
— print fabric to look like TV 'snow' and have button be flashing LED light (awesome, impractical)

As you can see, I like to work from the conventional to the un-. But if I find that I can only see a pattern ONE way, I try not to buy it. Why limit yourself?

Other suggestions gladly taken in the comments. (And by the way, this pattern is still available, $10, B34. Click on the image to visit the page.)

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Villain Extraordinaire October 25, 2007 at 11:45 am

A plastron is also part of the uniform for sport fencing; it is a sort of half-jacket that goes on the sword arm (underneath the normal jacket) and adds protection to an area often in peril. en garde!


Anonymous October 25, 2007 at 11:45 am

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a raglan plastron before. I think I would want to see the construction details before deciding if it was worth making. As for fabric choices, how about the traditional route? A nice patterned brocade for the stomacher, um, plastron?


Miss Kitty October 25, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Plastron? Sounds like a character from Transformers, or maybe He-Man. I’d probably make this dress a dozen ways before getting tired of it.


Anonymous October 25, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Already gone!


Scarlett October 25, 2007 at 12:36 pm

I think the border-print skirt/plastron idea is adorable. Although I can see how it would be difficult to curve the print around the plastron…ooh! Embroidery? do the bottom hem in an embroidered pattern, and mirror it on the plastron?


xstpenguin October 25, 2007 at 12:42 pm

I see this with the button popping and the front rolling up to hit you on the chin – silent movie like.Or with a squeezy toy/squeaker thing behind the button so people could have fun at parties.Actually, i do like it – just the way my brain is going today!


Anonymous October 25, 2007 at 1:15 pm

well if you do decide to go with the last option, be sure not to wear it to the airport….


tammyo October 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm

i’m always a fan of dresses with many options, but this thing seriously looks like you’re wearing a bib…unless i’m eating lobster or strained peas, that’s a no-go.


Margo October 25, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Oy. It was fun to read all your permutations, Erin, but seriously, I’m from Amish country and this just looks like what we call a “cape dress.” It’s that extra flap over the bosom for extra modesty. Of course, the Amish and Mennonite versions don’t have a button, but still: the only version I see is light green poly-cotton with long sleeves, worn with thick black stockings and lace-up black shoes.


Katie Alender October 25, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Am I really the only person wanting to make a belly button joke?This is cute — the construction boggles my mind a little, though.


Anonymous October 25, 2007 at 3:42 pm

You guys are hilarious today! I’m in the looks-like-a-bib camp. But hey, perfect for the spaghetti dinner down at the union hall. Tuck it into the neckline, then button ‘er down for a stain-free Amish look. (Do Amish people eat spaghetti?)


Elizabeth October 25, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Just wondering if the plastron is the modern reincarnation of the colonial stomacher?


Altissima October 25, 2007 at 7:14 pm

“– border print along bottom of full skirt AND bottom of plastron (curved around plastron? — probably impossible)”I think: POSSIBLE!If you found a border print with a scalloped pattern (swags of ribbon or flowers or something), and cut it so that the curve of the pattern just matched the curve of the plastron, it could work.


Juliane October 25, 2007 at 10:22 pm

How about a plaid with a bias plaid plastron? With a five inch bias strip added at the hemline?A pintucked plaston?A ruffled plastron?A smocked plastron?A sequined and beaded plastron?Or….sew those dangly little cotton ball curtain trim thingees around the plastron? Use neon orange little balls on a cobalt blue dress with a giant orange button? Guaranteed to stop traffic.Gee, I wish I could have bought it. Serious fun to be had here, and I missed it.Love your blog!


Gidget Bananas October 26, 2007 at 12:02 am

I can’t say I’m fond of that pattern, Erin. The plastron, with that shield-shape and single button, might make you look like a nurses aid on the Starship Enterprise


Scarlett October 26, 2007 at 10:50 am

“The plastron, with that shield-shape and single button, might make you look like a nurses aid on the Starship Enterprise”You say that like it’s a BAD thing…


saidee October 26, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Oh, Scarlett: your comment made me burst into laughter! I think my niece would agree with you. Erin, I love all your imaginative iterations for this pattern. We could have a challenge or a contest if we all had the same pattern…you have set the bar very high for the rest of us.


saidee October 26, 2007 at 3:21 pm

I looked at the back of the pattern and I think that the front, including the plastron, is cut on the fold, with the sleeve cut in one with the bodice front. Looks like a front and back sleeve with a seam from the shoulder to the bottom of the sleeve. The back bodice may be on the fold, too, if there is a side zip closure, otherwise there is a center back seam. There has to be a side front (and back?)piece, but I didn’t look at the rest of the pieces that closely.Love puzzling out these patterns!


nostalgia October 26, 2007 at 11:51 pm

im such a huge fan of the 60s style and these are great patterns…if i was to make something out of it, I wonder what fabric would be suit it?


theresa October 27, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Plastron is also the bottom have a turtle’s shell – so I would have to make some kind of a turtle version


janlorraine October 28, 2007 at 10:15 am

I think this style would be good for nursing mothers for easy access to the milk supply.


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