A Repeat Performance

by Erin on January 30, 2008

McCalls 8858

I broke down and bought this pattern again. I know it seems profligate to buy another copy of a pattern that I already own, but I only have this pattern in a larger bust size (bought it when I was still nursing and thought I would be living in the land of the ample-chested forever) and, honestly, it's easier for me to spend $8 on eBay than two hours redrafting. Welcome to my first-world life, the next tour begins in twelve minutes.

I have to say that this is one of my favorite necklines in the history of the dress (and/or the neck). It's just the right combo of sweet and elegant, and it is really fun both to make and to wear.

A few years back, just before I started blogging, I made this bodice about eight different times. There was an Eiffel tower print, and a black-and-white print, and a blue kind of atomic/lava-lamp blob print, and a few others I'm sure I'm not remembering. They all got worn into shreds, and rightly so.

It's also freakishly quick to make (unlike a lot of those "sew it today, wear it tonight!" patterns I see). There are a few darts, a few seams, a side zipper, and a hem, and boom, you're done and walking out the door in it (and, if you're me, trailing many, many tiny pieces of thread, but that's not the PATTERN'S fault).

So: if I had a Dress A Day stamp of approval, or ribbon, or underwriting laboratory, this pattern would be stamped, be-ribboned, and certified for all on- and off-label uses.

And maybe this time I'll even make the little jacket!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Marjie January 30, 2008 at 10:27 am

I love cap sleeved dresses with matching little jackets. I have about a million of them for summer!

Reply

Gaile January 30, 2008 at 11:13 am

tres adorable! I’m wondering, how much altering do you have to do at the waist of these patterns? I just got a pack of four vintage shirt dresses in the right bust size, and haven’t attempted them yet as I’m a little afraid of that wasp waist.

Reply

bettyninja January 30, 2008 at 11:18 am

Although I am an avid quilter, I haven’t jumped into the world of garment making yet. If this dress has the Dress A Day stamp of approval I may just have to start here. Plus, that neckline is so perfect. It would really help showcase a great vintage necklace.

Reply

bettyninja January 30, 2008 at 11:18 am

Although I am an avid quilter, I haven’t jumped into the world of garment making yet. If this dress has the Dress A Day stamp of approval I may just have to start here. Plus, that neckline is so perfect. It would really help showcase a great vintage necklace.

Reply

sixties sewer January 30, 2008 at 11:46 am

Oh Erin I am so glad I’m not the only one who would buy multiple copies of a pattern to avoid redrafting. In fact, I would rather GO ON A DIET than redraft if I love a pattern enough.

Reply

Miss Kitty January 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

That is so gorgeous! Wow!And maybe you should consider designing a Dress A Day Seal of Approval? :-) Hmm, brings on more talk!

Reply

alilizbeth January 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I love patterns that make themselves amenable to multiple editions of the same dress. I don’t sew vintage yet (but I have a pattern inherited from Mom that’s coming up in the lineup of “projects to be made when I find the time and don’t want to write my dissertation just now”). But I do sew dresses, and I have two versions of the same Donna Karan for Vogue dress (V2900, which is so fab). A new edition of that one is also in the works (but with 3/4 sleeves this time, I think). I also have 3 versions of the same A-line, elastic waist skirt that was one of the first things I ever made for myself. I love to wear the matching pattern dresses or skirts on successive days. I’m waiting for someone to call me on them, but it hasn’t happened yet. :-)

Reply

beangirl January 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm

-gasp-You didn’t make the jacket?!But… but… it is a must!

Reply

Kiki January 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Dang, I want that pattern!

Reply

Rebecca January 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Gaile–I wear a B 32 and have found (anecdotally speaking) that my vintage B 32s have a much more generous fit than my modern B 32s. The illustration, I think, reflects a fashion ideal, not the way the garment is actually going to fit. My strictly unofficial advice is to start with fabric you love enough to work with but didn’t spend $30 a yard on. Make the bodice, try it on, and fiddle with the darts as needed. There’s all that business with a muslin. I can’t argue against its virtues but the above, slop-bucket method has always worked for me. You will quickly see what changes most patterns will need for a perfect fit.

Reply

bani January 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Oh Erin, you have to learn Swedish so we can say “dagens i-landsproblem” to each other… :P I’d tell you more but the baby wants me.

Reply

Julia January 30, 2008 at 3:45 pm

It’s a totally cute pattern and I have to agree, your time is worth more than that and I would have bought the pattern again too. In fact, just how big is that other bust size you have in that pattern? I’m about a 39-40 right now and wouldn’t mind taking the extra one off your hands. Unless you plan on doing the breastfeeding thing again and I quite understand.

Reply

lorrwill January 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm

I would totally buy this just for that little bolero jacket!

Reply

Jen O January 30, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Waisted: I think I have the wrong waist. Growing up in the era of dresses, the waistline was (and is) too binding. How do you do it? (make and wear dresses with WAISTS?)Just asking, sitting here on the couch in my elastic waisted PJ’s.

Reply

baylibrarian January 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

I think “elegant and sweet” fits this neckline perfectly. Does it gape at all? I am always wary of these…

Reply

Anonymous January 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm

The “big change in sewing pattern sizing” took place in the 1970s. The biggest change was that the waist measurements increased slightly. Why? Because women (especially young women coming of age in the 1970s) stopped wearing girdles and corsets as standard everyday foundation garments.Heck, they stopped wearing BRAs in the 1970s – think “Charlie’s Angels” TV show, fer instance, if you are old enough or you’ve seen it on cable. Lots of bouncing and unfettered (ahem) chests.The anecdotal larger bust area is (I suspect) also related to the rigid and pointy bras that went with the girdles.Just something to keep in mind when working with vintage patterns. As always, a test muslin is your friend.CMC

Reply

Sally January 30, 2008 at 6:16 pm

That neckline is great. Is it cut in a piece, or are there seperate pattern pieces – center and side fronts I’m thinking?And yes, you need that little jacket too!!

Reply

Julie January 30, 2008 at 8:23 pm

LOVE the jacket, too!But how hard would it be to transfer the zipper of the dress from the side to the center back?? (***I’m afraid of side zippers!***)

Reply

Theresa January 31, 2008 at 7:19 am

Julie – not hard I suspect. I did it to my skirt patterns. Should workd for dresses.Erin, Make the jacket. I bet it goes togehter just as quick as the dress. Waisted- I am large chestes, thick waisted and slim hipped. I have to do LESS alterations to vintage than modern. The waist is usually fine and I have to take in the hips a little.

Reply

Theresa January 31, 2008 at 7:19 am

Julie – not hard I suspect. I did it to my skirt patterns. Should workd for dresses.Erin, Make the jacket. I bet it goes togehter just as quick as the dress. Waisted- I am large chestes, thick waisted and slim hipped. I have to do LESS alterations to vintage than modern. The waist is usually fine and I have to take in the hips a little.

Reply

Fuzzylizzie January 31, 2008 at 10:17 am

One of my favorite things about vintage patterns (and fashions in general) is the wide variety of necklines. They are almost like frames for the face.

Reply

Gidget Bananas January 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm

I do so love dresses with matching jackets. In fact, I think EVERY dress should have a matching jacket!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: