Phew, what a project. This is Vintage Vogue 1044, an original 1956–1957 pattern.
I started off thinking of this as a shirtdress, but that seems flippant.
It’s a mid-length dress with a pleated button-front bodice, and has a front and back yoke that extends into kimono sleeves. The skirt is gathered, but also designed with a snap closing in front and inverted pleats.
Everything came together when Kath shared a photo of this pattern on her instagram account. You could have bowled me over when she offered to send me her copy. I had been searching for a very long time for a copy in my size and it was like a dream come true when the post turned up from Australia.
I chose this dress for my Vintage Pattern Pledge as a challenge to myself, to prove I could handle a complex pattern that used vintage techniques. And I think I’ve been pretty successful with it!
The pattern suggests Crepe, Shantung, Batiste or Taffeta but I picked this wine coloured Linen as I knew it would be well suited for the pleated bodice while still having enough drape for the skirt. Plus the colour is lush! Covering buttons for the bodice just seemed like the right choice too. Plus there was Gutermann thread in a perfect colour match.
Taking time and effort with this pattern was very important to me. I made three muslins of the bodice to correct fit and practice the complicated placket instructions.
During a bout of internet research I found some brilliant tips for this dress: I changed the order of some of the steps (e.g. sewing my darts after my pleats and stay stitching my corners before assembling the yoke). I also reinforced the sharp corners where the yoke joined the bodice with squares of silk instead of the suggested seam binding.
The yoke facing is entirely hand-stitched and so was the epic hem (I added some lace trim to the hem for a sweet touch). The visible seams are pinked which gave me the chance to use my Grandma’s pinking shears she used when we sewed as a younger woman.
I was very respectful of the pattern up to a certain point but I just couldn’t get along with the snap front skirt. It gaped and didn’t hang right, and to be honest seemed rather unnecessary. I instead recut a standard skirt and unpicked the right side-seam to hand-sew an invisible zipper.
It’s a shame, but I had to up the exposure on the camera to show the details, the colour is a beautiful rich red. I feel so elegant in this dress. And I’m even happier that the dress matches a pair of shoes I already own, yippee!
I think the only thing I wish I’d done was add pockets. Maybe next time?
I’m so happy to be posting again. I have a few things waiting to be photographed so expect those posts soon. And I’m happy to report I’ve started sewing again following my move (more on that another day)!
So if you haven’t guessed by the name of this post I have something nautical for you today.
Let me present my nautical knot shirtdress, courtesy of the wonder that is Joel and Son Fabrics.
The lovely folk at J&S heard me lamenting on twitter how I’d love to buy some of this linen but I was still on my self-imposed spending ban (we were about to cross the finish line for completing on our new house). They came to my rescue offering me the chance to review their site and this gorgeous print!
This fabric is an amazing tomato red colour with bright yellow and blue knots on it. It makes me happy just looking at it! And if you haven’t ever ordered from J&S you can expect your fabric folded in tissue, sealed with a quality assurance sticker and wrapped in one of their signature bags. I even got a cute mini tape measure in my parcel! Now that’s good customer service.
It’s a linen but happily doesn’t crease too much because it has some viscose in the mix. Think I lie? This dress was pulled out of the suitcase it moved in and WAS NOT IRONED before I took these pics. Brilliant right? And at 140cm wide I only needed 1.5m to make this dress.
I’m a bit of a renegade though. You might have noticed “dry clean” is the suggested handling for the fabric. That doesn’t work for me. I took the risk and washed it on a handwash setting. And… HUZZAH! It only lost a teeny amount of the colour and there was no degradation to the linen weave.
As per the last time I amended the skirt to have a button front, plus I lined the skirt with a poly-crepe (so I wouldn’t get the dreaded tights-sticking issue). I also included a back neck facing and used french seams wherever possible.
I really recommend this pattern for when you don’t want darts to ruin print placement. It was perfect for these knots. I even managed with some clever placement, to get a 99% red collar when looking from the front; I thought that would give a nice clean look. I also fought the temptation to use gold anchor buttons and went for these red shiny vintage lovelies that I had in my stash.
Now my challenge is staying away from the awesome printed silks on the J&S site, like this panda awesome-ness. Or their cottons for that matter, like this pretty little number. I dare you not to find something to lust over on this website!!