Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Boat Dress

This dress is proving to be my nemesis. It looked so cute on the pattern cover. It is a Simplicity 3490 from 1951. Here you can see a picture of the cover that isn't falling apart. I chose to make view 1, the sundress with the tied shoulders, minus the giant hideous pockets. Plus, I am terrible at pockets. I chose a cute quilter's cotton with a boat print in light blue tan and brown- very cute. Then i got started. This was days after I finished the purple sundress, about 3 weeks ago.

These are my mistakes:

1. Do not automatically shorten the bodice just because you are short. Not the same thing! So now, it looks empire-waisted, which I despise. Empire waists are for pregnant ladies and spare tires.

2. I did the binding on the neckline, then put the already sewn together dress on. At that point, all it needed was arm binding a side zip and hemming. I discovered that it made me look like I had just escaped a polygamous ranch. The neckline was beyond modest, and it was way too hot to wear as a summer dress in New Orleans. So I cut out the binding, and reshaped the armholes and neckline.

3. Then I re-did the binding on the neck. I did not cut it cleanly on the curves, and the whole neckline fell outward. I tried to create some tiny darts to make it lay flat. However, the bobbin kept jamming, and in a fit of rage, I ripped the jammed fabric out of the machine. Obviously, the new binding was torn from the bodice. Nice one, Molly.

4. Then i did the armholes, the side zipper (which does not lay flat), and the neckline again. I tied the ties on the shoulders and tried it on. Now I didn't look Mormon, I looked like a vintage-dress hooker. The neckline is now indecently low. I hemmed it anyways.

5. Then I had to devise some kind of stop-gap measure to make this look more appropriate. This is mainly due to the fact that the bodice is so snug that it would be impossible to wear something underneath. I bought some lace, only to remember how much I hate lace. Then, I tried to make a pleated fan to fit in the neckline, and it worked but the iron on hem tape I used to stiffen the fabric left a greasy line. Then, I paused and did some deep breathing.

6. I went back to jo-ann, bought more blue fabric (in a slightly off shade!!!) and some thin interfacing and finished the neckline with a big blue ruffle. I think it makes me look like a cupcake, but hey, I'm done!

Yay! In conclusion, I will not be making this one again! Ha!


  1. Actually, vintage patterns seem to have a higher waistline than modern, at the true waist, unless it is an empire or basque waist. Also, I find vintage necklines are in reality modest enough, also in contrast to modern, so I rarely mess with them.

  2. I agree on wiastlines, Myra. If I hadn't shortened it, it would have fallen on my natural waist. I learned my lesson! I disagree on necklines, but I do think a padded bra can usually solve those problems...:)

  3. Supa cute! I'm sorry it gave you so much trouble but the end result is adorable!


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