Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1940s Halter Cocktail Dress: Bodice

The only good thing about nasty, cold, rainy days? There's nothing better than staying home with a cup of Earl Grey and a sewing project.

Which means I'm nearly done with the 1940s Halter Cocktail dress! The skirt is pieced and I'm fiddling with it, then there's zipper and hemming (never my favorite part). The dress bodice, however, is finished as of last night.

I love the shape--the wider shoulders and nipped waist are so quintessentially 40s!


I made a couple slight changes to Butterick's directions (this is Butterick 5209) First, the instructions tell you to stitch the two top bodice pieces together up to a certain point. I left the two pieces separate, and will fit this part on myself. Finished pictures showed me that this was a finicky point--how high to join the front seemed like it would be better accomplished on real, live me.

Second, and more fun: I did a lapped-ish seam to join the waistband portion to the top of the bodice. I learned this technique on the Peacock 1930s dress, and it seemed particularly appropriate here--I thought about the gathered bustline and a traditional "right sides facing" seam and thought that the potential for Holy Bunching Batman was pretty high, so took a different route.

It's easy enough, and gives you better control, and lets you seam and topstitch at the same time. Which is kind of scary, but if you go slow you get a nice result.

Egads--the ugly innards of a dress:

This week--finish the skirt and put the finishing touches on! I have some sneaky changes to Butterick on the skirt front, too (*rubs hands together and plots...yessss...plotting*)

I'm curious--when you're working on a project--sewing from a pattern, recipe, or anything else with instructions--do you follow to the letter, discard the directions, or a little of both?

9 comments:

Anachronist said...

I'm curious--when you're working on a project--sewing from a pattern, recipe, or anything else with instructions--do you follow to the letter, discard the directions, or a little of both?

I almost always want to follow the direction to the dot bur if I do it then I am almost never happy with the result. I suppose you should use your previous experience as guidelines. Only when I combine the directions and my own experience the results are more or less satisfactory.

I am sure it will be a lovely dress! The bodice looks already great!

Jennilee Cookman said...

Usually a little of both. If its something I'm really unfamiliar with, I'm a little more likely to at least read over the pattern instructions. If the directions don't make sense to me, I do what makes sense to me. However, I find myself just ignoring the instructions more and more as time goes on so I guess I'm heading towards the "discard" technique.

Butterfly said...

I gave up on instructions completely. Cook books and such are just for inspiration :) That dress looks amazing.

Rowenna said...

Anachronist--so true! Your experience is a great guide.

Jennilee--good point, my "comfort zone" tends to dictate whether I rely on instructions

Butterfly--yes! I rarely follow recipies, esp. in terms of herbs and spices. Yet I still love cookbooks.

Isis said...

I'm sure teh dress will be gorgeous!

I use the instructions if there is something unusual, but I often compare with other sewing books. Or I change if I find it easier. For example, I'm currently making a 1940's dress with a pointed yoke. the instructions says to sew yoke and bodice with right sides together, which demands fiddling to get the point right. So I use lapseams instead and join the parts by hand.

Rowenna said...

Isis--thanks! I do comparing, too--I love all my vintage cookbooks because they all give slightly different variations of how to make basic foods or complete basic cookery tasks.

rahad hossain said...

It’s look so beautiful! I am enjoy and love it very much.and I love very much sexy and wonderful dress.
Hope you had the greatest time living it up!!
cheap tops

rahad hossain said...

It’s look so beautiful! I am enjoy and love it very much.and I love very much sexy and wonderful dress.
Hope you had the greatest time living it up!!
cheap tops

Md apel islam said...


I like totally and agree. And I think that in order to be comfortable with your style is to wear it more often. So wear your style to the lab on days that you don't have to do anything bloody, muddy or otherwise gross!
sexy dresses