Not your average von Trapp dress

As you may have already read, I started work on a sheath dress made from a 1960s dress pattern. I am happy to report that the dress is now finished, though the end result bears little resemblance to the pattern sketch – mostly because the pattern sketch does not show a sack of potatoes. Once again I fell into the trap of being entranced by the lovely, stylish drawings on the fronts of vintage patterns, choosing to ignore the little voice in my head that knows you can only trust a photograph on these kinds of things.

Since the pattern size was 4 inches smaller than my measurements, I graded up the width and pinned all the seams to my dressmaker’s dummy. It was huge and saggy, with boobs and pockets about 6 inches lower than a real human woman should, and a neckline and armscye higher than a 60s beehive. So I got to work, lowering the neckline and armscye, and pulling in about 6 inches’ worth of darts in both side panels, the front and the back (so frustratingly, perhaps the original pattern would’ve fit without modification anyway?) until I got a perfectly lovely summer dress, albiet not the dress the pattern intended. I drafted new neck and arm facings, inserted a side zipper, and hemmed the bottom of edge to be just under knee length. I normally prefer my skirts and dresses to be just above the knee, but this dress had such a classic cut and shape that it demanded a more classic hem when I started pinning and twirling.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to explain the title – the fabric began its life sometime in the 1960s, as a pair of curtains somewhere in Germany. My friend Gwen‘s mother took them down, cut them flat, and asked if Gwen knew anyone who’d like them. I can’t wait til she sees what they’ve become now.

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