I have had this watermelon fabric for YEARS, but never knew what to do with it. What could be more summery than watermelons on a 50s-style halter sundress? I'm not going to lie -- making this dress was kind of boring. The entire bodice is lined so you have to do everything twice. The envelope claims this pattern to be "Easy", but I wouldn't give it to a beginner. Advanced beginner, at least!
The skirt has pockets in the side seams and they were very simple to do. I decided to put them in, but if you want to omit them it won't be an issue. Just don't put them in and sew up that part of the side seam. The pockets may add extra puffiness to the hips if that's not a place you want extra fabric.
The skirt is FULL! It perfectly balances out the slim-fitting bodice. The boobs are gathered underneath where they connect to the cummerbund. The trickiest part for me was sewing the straps onto the boob sections. I just can't get the hang of sewing points like that! Hence, my dress is a bit wonky-looking -- but I don't give a flying poop! It's wearable, it's mine, and it proved to be very popular when I posted it on my Facebook! My girls went cray over it in the comments.
This is it. The pieces are factory folded, but there are no instructions and the artwork, which is usually on an instruction sheet, seems to be some sort of cut-out from a pattern magazine...
Needless to say, there are no instructions, but my FB friend had her friend scan a copy for me :) The pattern came in one of those waxy department store casings -- this one from a store called W.T Grant Co., which operated from 1906 to 1976. Written on the waxy paper are the numbers "1073" and "40"...
I am certain "1073" is the pattern number. This is stated on the cut-out photo. My GUESS is that the "40" is the size. The "-40" made me think it was a price at first from some antique shop, but that's usually written as "40-". The only way I'll know the size for sure is to open it up and measure it! As for clues in dating this pattern -- too easy! The "NRA" symbol narrows that down nicely to between 1933-1935! And that is the National Recovery Administration (a Depression thing!) -- not the National Rifle Association ;)
My guess is the owner lost her original instruction sheet so she cut the picture of the pattern out of her W.T. Grant pattern catalog. She then wrote the pattern number and size on the wax casing so she wouldn't forget. And since the pattern is still factory folded, I'm assuming her loss of instructions is why she never got around to making this! Another theory I have: The actual pattern may be something completely different! Ooooh! It's second in my sewing queue.
And since she cut the photos out of a catalog, there was some nice 30s fashion porn on the back, too!...
I just love cracking mysteries (regardless if they are right or not!) Do you have any weird patterns you have decoded or wonder about?
And there you have the very first decade of the 20th century. Not a whole lot had changed, but you can start to see a loosening of the silhouette in 1906. I admit I don't know a whole lot about this decade in fashion so I will just let the pictures tell the story.
It was a little bit involved, but I could handle it ;) The fabric I used was The Old West and I thought such a busy print would look good on a fussy dress like this. I cut out the entire skirt in the cowgirl material and it all kind of blended into one blob of cowgirl tackiness (not that that is bad, mind you!) I had to break it up. Miraculously, I bought 2 yards of the contrasting burgundy colour I was using for the collar/cuffs so I had enough for the side front panels of the skirt. Much better.
For this one I actually bought and used some interfacing. I wanted points and points are what I got. The collar is so Jane Jetson I can't even deal!
The 1950s aren't really my style so I don't sew stuff from this era that often. But every now and again I get a hankering to sew some huge, fussy, annoying, uses-way-too-much-fabric 50s dress. I always end up looking terrible in them, but I keep doing it. It seems like the hem takes forever on these dresses (I hand roll my hem.) Maybe I just think it will keep me busy? I can whip up a 30s dress or 60s shift in no time. Whatever it is, I do like the endless contrast and creativity you can put into constructing one of these babies. I just like to look at my 1950s creations instead of wearing them.