...So that means its time to start sewing from my collection of 1950s dress patterns! Hooray!!
This is the pattern I chose. Pretty isnt it! This is a beautiful wrap dress from the designer Marian Martin. This is a mail order pattern sent out to the original purchaser in the 1950s. Unfortunately I can't find any information about Marian or the company to add here - it seems to be lost to history, what a shame!
What I can tell you is that the pattern was purchased my whoever originally purchased it (lets call her Miss X) and then she never sewed it! Seems sad doesn't it. This means that the unprinted pattern pieces were still factory folded.
For those used to sewing with modern patterns, uprinted pattern pieces are totally different from modern patterns. Modern patterns come in big sheets printed with the bits you need to cut out and use, and they have a range of sizes. Old unprinted patterns are already factory cut and have no printed markings whatsover, just a code of holes which I have yet to figure out, and only come in the one size.
Once again, because I loved this dress I had to buy the pattern even though it was too small for me. So this requires pattern alterations! I swear, this kind of sewing is such a labour of love!
So for me STEP ONE is to unfold the factory folded pattern, and then iron on some really light unwoven interfacing (at this point all the collectors will be screaming NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) but tough to you guys. This is the best way to sew from the pattern and not damage it. I am preserving it for future use - so quiet!
Then STEP TWO is to cut out the original size pattern on the lovely cheap pattern tracing 'fabric' (It feels like its made from recycled PET bottles...) and then pin it together to see how badly it doesn't fit :)
STEP THREE is to increase the size of the pattern pieces where needed. For this one I just had to increase the size of the front bodice and then therefore the halter neck strap.
All this would not be possible without the help of my dressmakers dummy - lets call her Doris (a good old 1950s name!). Doris is set to be the same size as me so this means if it fits Doris, it will fit me!
I'm pretty happy with it and I think it will look great. There is another change I'm going to make though. The skirt on the original pattern is a big rectangle thats gathered. I'd prefer to have more of a swing style gored skirt, so I will be drafting my own skirt pattern from a skirt I already own to attach to the bottom of the bodice.
Hopefully I will get to do some work on the skirt pattern tonight, and then I might even get to the cutting out stage! That has to be the most exciting part for me, to see the fabric cut out and prepared.