I couldn't find a pattern for this one in my size, which happens from time-to-time with vintage, so I ended up purchasing one a size down and figured I could grade up. Oh, what a chore that ended up being!
I followed a Threads tutorial on grading, which was incredibly helpful, then did my regular pattern adjustments, then tweaked a bit more after the first muslin. In the end, I think I over-fit a bit as the bodice is bigger than it needs to be. It's still a great dress, and at least I had plenty of room for all those Mickey ice cream bars and Dole whip.
The material is linen, and it feels so nice and sews great. I was worried about the red bleeding into the white when I washed it, but I used a tip from a fabric shop owner I learned last year. Put salt into your washing machine! It helps the colors stay put. It worked beautifully.
A Zipper in a Dart?!
I had two things that surprised me a bit on this dress when I was sewing it. The first was the zipper insertion. Remember this picture form my inspiration post? I was showing how much skirt there was to gather in the bodice.
Well, there are no side seams on this skirt. There are 2 seams that actually sit up at the front of the skirt, I suppose because it could be more full that way. The zipper is actually inserted into a dart that's way up by Oxford's head in the picture above (see that triangle?). You create a placket so there's a nice clean finish, and then insert the zip just like you normally would into the dart/placket area. Funny, huh?
A Belt Instead of Trim
The second surprise was the bow and trim at the waist. The trim at the neckline is acting like a decorative facing (is that at thing?). So it clean finishes your neckline while also providing you with the trim. The trim at the center is just top stitched on. The trim at the waist is actually a belt, which I was not expecting.
I used 2 snaps to connect it together, and I quickly realized upon wearing it I should have used hooks instead. Snaps just can't withstand the pressure of you getting up and down and sitting all day. A good lesson!
The belt works a lot better than the trim at the waist, as I didn't have to navigate matching trim there with the zipper. I don't think I would repeat the construction of the skirt, though. I love the fullness, especially with a petticoat (I have one on in these photos), but it was a bit fussy for my tastes. I think you could easily reposition those seams from the front to the side and keep the fullness. I couldn't resist trying out the technique, though!
And that's a wrap for Dapper Day posts! I so hope I'll be able to attend again in the future. It was such a magical day, and the preparation for it really stretched my sewing skills. I got to work on fitting someone other than myself and adapting a pattern I drafted to them, as well as a couple of interesting vintage sewing techniques.
I leave you with a quintessential picture with Cinderella's Castle and Mickey and Minnie behind me. If I close my eyes, I'm almost back there…