I’m never completely sure where pattern/fabric-pairing inspiration and decision- making comes from. I kind of imagine all kinds of synapses going on in my brain, pulling information both stored and recently learned, which enable me to visualize a particular pattern made up in a particular fabric. Somehow, most of us who sew know what works – or doesn’t work – and then we can proceed, or not! Well, my brain was telling me that this ca. 1965 Moygashel linen would look great made up in this 1966 Jacques Heim-designed dress:
Before I actually began work on the dress, I looked up Jacques Heim in one of my favorite reference books, The St. James Fashion Encyclopedia: A Survey of Style from 1945 to the Present. “Mr. Heim’s fashion house designed and made clothes of a modest style…” (p. 186) It appears he was not a great innovator, although he was interested in many styles, and his loyalty to a ladylike interpretation of those styles gave him staying power over his 45-year career.
Vogue Patterns started featuring his designs in the early ‘50s as part of their designer series. It was interesting to go through some of my Vogue Pattern Book magazines and see the progression of his fashions.
In chronological order, here are four examples of his work:
The pattern I chose was actually featured in one of the free “flyers” which were available in fine fabric stores in the ‘60s. It is dated Fall 1966. I just happened to find this copy on eBay – no one bid against me, so I guess I was meant to have it!
Mr. Heim died in early January 1967, so this particular pattern must have been one of the last ones which he designed or which was designed under his name before his death. His fashion house then only lasted for 2 more years, closing operation in 1969 .
So – now on to construction of my dress. I made a muslin of the bodice yoke so I could check on the neckline and shoulder line, both of which seem to be an ongoing challenge for me with these vintage patterns. Although the neck seemed to be okay, the shoulder line appeared to me to extend a little too far out over the shoulders. So I re-cut the pattern piece, which meant that the facing had to be re-cut as well.
The pattern called for the dress to be interlined, for which I chose a lightweight linen/cotton blend. I basted all the pieces together by hand, kind of in a grid before machine basting them together just inside the seam lines. I also basted all the dart lines, as indicated on the pattern instructions.
As I got near to the end of the construction, I was very happy that I had re-cut the shoulders, but I began to sense that the neck was going to be a problem. After I had the facings in the armholes, I tried the dress on, and yes, the neck was tighter than I wanted it to be. I cut off the 5/8” seam allowance on the neckline and the matching part of the facing, which made it perfect!
I really like this dress – it’s cheery, comfortable and casually dressy – what more could one ask for?