Pattern Puzzle: vintage dress pt.2

This is not the final word by any means on Monday’s puzzle. I’m stuck like a broken record, working over Yvonne(1)’s idea. And, I was semantically challenged with frequent use of the term gusset. It was hijacking the whole conversation for me. But then, I think a gusset is an extension permitting wider range of movement as opposed to a stay regardless of its shaping. I wonder if gusset has come to refer to a triangular wedge of fabric we sew to some place -which I’d call an inset. But never mind, we never did finish that conversation so I shouldn’t have said anything.

Did anyone play with Yvonne’s second idea? I am thinking the lines of the dress are best served if the CF pleat line is sewn down a bit, certainly released above the knee which would help one walk. If I didn’t have to worry about cost considerations, I’d do the second version -with caveats to come. Her first idea is one that could be adopted if utilization was an issue but then, considering the wonky shapes of these pieces, it might not even generate the savings. Kerryn brought up the issue of blindstitching the triangular head of the pleat into place. I felt like a dope, I don’t have a blindstitch machine but know better to have thought of that. After all, I certainly rag on you enough about limiting creative solutions based on what you have or know personally.

Here’s my issue with Yvonne’s second idea -and for which there is a solution (dragging back to my pre-determined solution, heh). Did any of you print it and cut it out? It’s an easy thing, clean too. Anyway, the left side of the pleat is mirrored to catch into that catty wonky seam running over to the top hip but it is a trick to do that if the pleat backing has been attached to both sides of the back of the pleat but only one side (left) to be caught in the seam. It’s going to take a clip the depth of seam allowance, right at the CF on the back side to get it to lay flat without a bubble -and even then, you’d have to press allowances up rather than butterflying the seam. Mentally, I don’t like the look from the inside but hey, it may be the best option (of the full length pleat options). On the right side, I’d grab a bit of scrap or maybe something thinner and attach it to that free floating right side of the pleat and attach it to the seam allowances of the waist shaping on that side. Alternatively, Kerryn’s idea of blind stitching on that side could work too.

What do you think?

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  1. Misha says:

    I think I’m seeing this differently from everybody else as I think the skirt is not built with a cut out. The dress seems to me like a pretty standard bias cut one piece front/2 piece back except for the top and what I believe is an overlay. So the skirt pieces, if they were separate from the bodice (they aren’t, there are no waist seams despite other seams being shown) would have 4 main pieces. 1. Back (cut 2) 2. Front Left (cut 1) 3. Overlay (cut 1) and is shaped just like the picture. 4. Overlay facing (cut 1)

    Here’s why: A. Those buttonholes are real, not functional but they are holes, implying this piece is not built in and that it’s sitting on top of a piece below that holds the buttons. B. The drawing clearly denotes top stitching following the overlay up from the hip and through down to the knee, stopping there. Also, with it being cut on the bias, that leaves the overlay arm on the straight of grain keeping it flat and consistent even when the underskirt pleat begins to soften. The dress would lose this strength by having it sewn into place. This also keeps the buttons ‘true’ and not prone to drooping unevenly as they would hanging from a 45 degree angle. Fascinating!

    To the sewing of the pleat: overlay and facing is stitched first and piece 2 of the skirt is sewn to facing edge flat, right side of facing (towards the body) to right side of skirt (facing away from body). this will keep it soft. Pleat is pressed in, hiding seam in fold on the side with the overlay. Pleat is stitched down the pleat head, creating a box pleat, then a wide bar tack goes across at the tip of the pleat opening and is used to strengthen. This goes 5 or so inches down from waist and is hidden under the panel. Really easy.

    I’m thinking this would hang really well and be thrifty in the fabric and labor area. With only 2 mandatory small seams in the front (1. the facing to skirt left 2. stitching the pleat head, it’s not complicated and the optional stitches that I would probably add is to top stitch along pleat fold lines (CF), guaranteeing that the pleat would always stay in place especially given that this dress is probably going to made out of a rayon or silk to achieve best results.

    Totally fun. Thank you so much for posting this!

  2. karen r says:

    Well ,as an old dress designer….. ( well, OLD ,tooLOL!) I’ll give you MY professional opinion-and an entirely different take.
    I am going to conjecture that what you are looking at here is a “fashion sketch”- and that is all. It is NOT a sketch that, for example, I would myself ever give to a draper or patternmaker and say,”Here – do this exactly” because without darts or top-stitching in some crucial areas it relegates this to being a fashion sketch ONLY.
    The reason we “know” that is ALONE by the fact that there are NO darts drawn onto the sketch at all-yet you have a slight blousson on the bodice portion. To ACHEIVE that blouson look alone is IMPOSSIBLE in a woven without exposed darting somewhere or a lining at the very least(-as is the author’s stipulation). The sketch is hiding the “truth ” then , becuase it shows no darts at all, not even at the bust. A commonly drawn sketch from that era- WHen given a sketch like that in the professional arena where I am from- the patternmaker simply tries to understand taht the “LOOK” is the desired thing and sets out to “practically” make that happen -using the trades of the business- draping it all on a form and using darts as unobtrusively as necessary to make it happen ( and if it had been one of my old patternmakers ,rolling their eyes at me and chiding me for not having correctly drawn it, to make it functional!) BUt I speak also from a functional mass-market approach which is what I do for a living…..What you sketch is a STIRVE FOR look- but to get it to truly look like that with no seams is really a practical impossibilty. Now you could possibly achieve the blouson look in a cut and sew knit- BUT the bottom part of the dress clearly shows us that this is NOT a knit..A highly stetchy lycra woven may work, but they didn’t have that back then!
    That then leaves you free!!!- to make all kinds of simple but reasonable modifications that would make this dress most closely look like the FASHION SKETCH that it is. You still want to most closely achieve the FASHION DIRECTION/DESIRE of the look, but stuff like that doesn’t happen by magic.
    Quite obviously it is a dress designed to slim the wearer. The extra fabric extending on the dart all the way up to the waist area is TECHNICALLY the only way you could do that dart and have it lie perfectly FLAT as is. But, everyone is right- it IS too much fabric. Alison C’s idea of a lite lining extension is logical, but it can still cause all kinds of accidental wonkiness. So as right as that answer is, the best answer is is to extend that dart only up to the standard distance above the knee area release and do a nice neat top-stitch there ( like a V stitch to secure the dart – which is also in keeping with the styling)- and call it a day.( DID someone suggest a blind stitch? possible but not so proactical for mass-production or to hold a heavy fabric which this looks to be.)
    Add some great but discreet, bodice darting with some really great vintage dart techniques and you are there.
    So my answer is- you don’t “LITERALLY” read this sketch. The hug and release slight blouson effect on the bodice alone is impossible- let alone the c.f. invert kick pleat at the bottom.
    Gee! just found this site! that was fun! What else is on here!?!

  3. Elaine says:

    I think there must be an under layer that extends from the neckline down to at least the buttons on at the waist. Since we’d also like to ‘stay’ the top of the pleat, then maybe it goes all the way down to that area. If this underlay extends the full width of the bodice, is sewn in from the shoulder to the bottom of the armholes and then is loose until it attaches to the waist area, you could get the blouson effect on both sides and also above the waist buttons.

    I’m picturing this in a heavy rayon or medium weight crepe, either acetate or silk.

    But I’m still not integrating that back line drawing very well with the front drawing….

  4. sheryl says:

    From this illustration, the pleat is definitely stitched down to knee level, and from experience it definitely needs to be supported by an upper seam (been there, undone that!). In this case, oblique seams.
    If I was presented with this illustration, I would first attempt the 2 button area as a bagged out flap/extension that reversed back into the internal fold of the pleat (on the L side of the illustration). From here it is seamed to the inverted part of the pleat…. etc.
    But looking at the illustration closer it does look like it is seamed in, and not a bagged out flap (compare it with the bodice flap/extension bit). But an illustration is often a designer’s dream!
    I’m not sure this is cut on the bias as others have suggested – a) the pattern is a check/plaid, and b)the front pleat would just not fold like that on the bias.
    I see the only catch with my method would be that the seam on the internal fold of the pleat could be visible over the stomach. However using a lining to bag out this section, and considering the fabric is patterned, would disguise this.
    Now I’ve said all that, I notice someone has mentioned back views, and topstitching – where are those pics?

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