Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Full-Skirted Flirty 50s Number

Onto the second dress in my birthday weekend montage!

This is the frock I wore on the friday night, to dinner at Hellenic Republic with my parents, my sister and her boyf, and Michael.

It is Vogue 8615:

I made a muslin of the bodice first. I cut a 12, with a C cup. I do love the fact that this pattern has options for how big or small your bust is. The muslin fit perfectly, with no alterations.

So, I cut the 12C, and sewed away. I sewed in the lining, and it looked beautiful. And then I tried it on. And it was way too big. How annoying.

Now, I haven't lost weight, so it is a mystery to me why there was a size difference. The muslin fabric was very similar to the Japanese linen/cotton I used. Weird - anyone got any tips as to why?

But I took it in. I did this by increasing the back darts substantially, both in width and in length. Then I unpicked the invisible zip and took it in about 2cm each side at the top, tapering down. And here is a closeup of the fit from the back:

And from the front:

I'm pretty happy - it fits like a glove!

Now, cos this was a special occasion frock, I took some time to really add to the dress. First, I made a matching belt, using a belt kit:

I am so happy with it. How much nicer does the dress look with the belt! I didn't have a press-stud tool to get the little metal holes, so I sewed around them instead. I actually really like how they look.

The second thing I did was sew in horse-hair braid to the hem of the skirt. The skirt is a circle, and after seeing Gertie's tutorial of how to do this, I wanted to do it quite badly. I forgot to get a picture of the braid, but you can really see the effect in this picture!

So much fun!

I really recommend this pattern. It is straightforward to sew - even with alterations for fit - and is very vintage in its styling. I've posted a review on pattern review if you'd like to have a peek!


  1. Your dress is beautiful! I've been eyeing this pattern for a while, especially because of the different cup sizes. Now I really want to make one! The matching belt is fanastic, and the holes in the belt look so professional. How did you do this? I've tried this before on another belt, but mine didn't look nearly as neat. tutorial?!

  2. gorgeous, you look fantastic!! Love the back, very chic!

  3. Oh, I love it! Such a fun style, and you did a good job on the fit. Maybe your fabric had a little more give than the muslin fabric? I've more often had the opposite, a fitted muslin and too small dress! I'm planning to make this dress soon, and I will use your tip about the horsehair braid. I hope mine turns out as nicely as yours!

  4. Beautiful dress! Love the polka dots.

  5. You and Leisl have matching dresses!!!!
    She made this in the same fabric but has pinned up the skirt in different spots.

    You look fab in it and i love the effect of the horsehair. Great job.xx

  6. I LOVE it!!! The dress is great and I love how it sits on the shoulders! The self made belt looks fantastic too. I would love to see/learn how you sewed around the belt holes!!! It looks fantastic on you! A perfect birthday treat!

  7. Thanks everyone! I'll buy another belt kit and make a belt for a tutorial - it was very easy.

    Nikki - I want to see Leisl's! I wonder if she'll post it.

    Jessica - I'm not sure if that was the issue. I deliberately used very similar fabric for the muslin as I've had that happen before too. Ah well. At least I was patient and didn't turf it out of frustration!

  8. What a beautiful dress! I too have this pattern, i love the it especially the different cup sizes. Its on my to do list for early summer.
    Where did you get your material from?

  9. Wow! This is so gorgeous - best version of this dress I've seen. The picture on the pattern cover makes it look a bit stiff and costumey, but your version is so lovely! What fabric did you use?

  10. Great dress! I love the flirty skirt!

  11. So pretty! Love the simplicity of the style, but the extra details make it special. Great covered belt, too!
    I skipped the eyelets and prong part on my belt, for my vintage shirtdress, and now I wish I hadn't! The sewn eyelets look so tidy and neat!

  12. This dress looks amazing on you. Its oh so pretty. Where did you find horsehair braid in melbourne???

  13. Thanks again everyone!

    Tilly - it is a Japanese cotton/linen fabric, of medium weight.

    The Long and Winding Bobbin - I got it from Clegs. I had to ask at the counter - they didn't have it on display. It is not 'real' horsehair - it is made from a plastic, but I was assured it is the same thing. I think it was about $2.50/m.

  14. So, so, pretty, Rachel! I love the dip at the back and that skirt is to die for. Also, I just realised I didn't say it before... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  15. Dear God,
    You've done a great job!! It's fantastic. Really, I am so impressed.
    It's really wonderful. I just finished a linen-cotton Japanese Echino fabric and it was difficult to sew! Again, wonderful.

  16. Oh my lordy, we actually did it - we made the same dress!

    Yours looks awesome :)

  17. Rachel, you can buy horse hair braiding from spotlight as well. :)

  18. Thanks Kat. Clegs was my first point of call as it is in the city on my way home! Spotlight is a drive away. Good to know you can get it in a few places -- I don't think Clegs is Australia-wide, but good old Spotlight is!

  19. Wow - Rachel did I not comment here? That dress is loverly!

    I am really intersted in your belt kit - where did you get that from?

  20. Hey Corinne - thanks! I think I got the belt kit from Lincraft -- either that or Spotlight. Definitely one of the chain stores, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Clegs.

  21. That's a beautiful dress! It looks really good on you and I love the style!

  22. Do you have a tutorial posted about how to use one of those belt kits? I have a vintage one and have no idea where to start.

    Yours looks lovely!!