Panic and Patterns

Being away, as “on vacation” (or “on holiday” as many express it), can take its toll on sewing projects. If I have to leave a project in mid-stream, it seems to take even longer to get back to it and pick up where I left off. A recent trip to the western state of Wyoming necessitated that I abandon my current “Fall” dress at precisely the time of year when I need to complete it! And now I’ve run into some complications with it.

I guess you could say that panic has set in. Here is what the dress bodice looks like on my dress form:

Panic and patterns

I am using vintage Vogue pattern 2718 for this dress.

The fit seems okay. The neckline will need a little adjustment, but nothing out of the ordinary. The sleeves look good, and I am pleased with the piping so far. So what is the problem? When I try the bodice on, it looks awful. It pulls across the bust, it doesn’t want to move with me at all, and the front seems too short-waisted even though it measures perfectly for me when on the form. Worse still, this fabric is too dear (as in expensive) to put it aside or to think about abandoning this dress.

I think I know what is wrong, and it will take a great deal of effort to try to correct it – and hopefully it will be correctable! I insisted on using an underlining on this stretch silk fabric. I thought I could accommodate the stretch by cutting the underlining on the bias. Guess what? It doesn’t work. The bias pulls from underneath, restricting the stretch of the silk. What this means is that I am going to have to remove the underlining. It is not going to be fun to remove black underlining from black fabric, sewn together with black thread, is it?

I have consoled myself with the thought that I can salvage this project by making a skirt instead of a dress, which may be what I end up doing. Needless to say, I am fighting my discouragement, and trying to stay focused so I can finish this and move on to something more fun.

While traveling is not conducive to sewing, it doesn’t put a damper on looking at more patterns and fabrics online! Sometimes I go weeks without finding a pattern and then I’ll find several all bunched together in the space of a few days. You might be guessing that such was the case during the last few weeks. So while I am struggling with vintage Vogue 2718 right now, I look at my new acquisitions to give me encouragement for the future. Here are some of my “new” finds:

I was delighted to find this DvF pattern in my size, at a reasonable cost!  This one should see some fabric next Spring or Summer.

I was delighted to find this DvF pattern in my size, at a reasonable cost! This one should see some fabric next Spring or Summer.


This one was too good to pass up, although I don’t have any plans for it right now. This looks like a dress, but it is really a skirt and top, paired with the jacket.


What can I say? I love coats.


I have been on the search for this pattern for a long time. I hope I’ll have some reason to make this dress sometime soon…


The sleeves on the blue version of this blouse are so pretty!

In addition to these new patterns, I just ordered two Marfy patterns, which should either add to my current sewing anxiety or help alleviate it. I hope it is the latter!


Filed under 1980's dress patterns, Blouse patterns from the 1950's, Coats, Cocktail dresses, piping, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1970s, Wrap dresses

17 responses to “Panic and Patterns

  1. Sometimes anxiety can work in our favor, and I hope that is the case with you! Good luck – your patterns are just great 🙂

  2. Ugh, I understand that frustration, particularly on something you’ve worked so diligently on, using expensive fabric. Sometimes time off gives a new perspective, but sounds like this may need a rethink. Before you bag it, how about something radical like making the back of the dress out of black wool jersey? Or putting jersey panels down the side? Can you just trim out the underlining (instead of picking it out) and replace it with silk jersey, covering the part you cut out?
    I have that DVF pattern, too! I think that’s the quintessential pattern of hers. Good find!

    • Well, I’ve had some time off (another trip, this one short…) and I am sort of frozen on what to do with this, now that I’m back home. I’m not one to leave a project before it is finished, but maybe a new, smaller sewing project right now would help?? DvF is looking mighty good about now!

  3. That fabric is too georgeous! It looks like the top and bottom sections are fighting each other and the piping is stabilizing the fabric where it wants to move. How about opening that seam and leave the piping on the upper portion. Cut another upper bodice piece from your flexible underlining and sew to the bottom piece. Overlay the two sections allowing them to move independently at that front seam. Just an idea. I’m sure you will figure something out. I know what you mean about expensive fabric.
    I’m heading to Mendel Goldberg tomorrow to swoon over those exquisite fabrics.

  4. Ann T.

    I am a relative newcomer to sewing, so it is rare that I would presume to give you advice about getting past your current predicament. I find that seam ripping, even with black fabric and black thread, can be gratifying, and even relaxing, when done sitting comfortably on a couch, with good light (such as an Ott Light), in front of the television. All you have to do is change your mind about the task. Think of it as something to keep your hands busy, while your eyes are focused on the TV, rather than as a tedious chore. It works for me.

  5. ugh! I’ve been there too many times to count! I hope you can save it without driving yourself crazy!

    I find that sometimes a project just has to sit in “time out” for a while until you’re ready to really tackle the tricky fix required to finish it. Don’t give up, but give yourself a break from it and make something else in the meantime. And sometimes it helps to remove the self-inflicted pressure to finish it for the current season – there’s always next fall! =)

    • Sheila

      I’m probably too late for a suggestion but I think it would be a shame to resort to the skirt idea. Could you slash the underlining to give you the stretch you need and then add a piece to it sewing on both sides. Not pretty but anything that works…or just cut it out and don’t have any. Could you add a band to the waist all around to add some length to the bodice with piping. Of course, I can’t really see it so these remarks are probably not worth anything to you and as I said before you probably have it all figured out by now. Problems like that are such a pain but getting away from it, mulling it in your mind for a while sometimes helps.

      • You are not too late, Sheila. I’ve been away again, so nothing has happened with this “dress”. I am thinking of cutting out the underlining and just not having one. The silk is see-through-proof, so that is helpful. I’m not ready to give up on this. Thanks for your encouragement and advice!

    • Well, Brooke, you have made me feel better. I am thinking a time-out, occupied with a smaller project might be the best thing right now. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds herself in a pickle.

    • Somehow my reply to your comment shifted itself down a bit below the next comment…?? I always appreciate hearing from you!

  6. Shelagh Millett

    Do love reading your blog and the skill you use to re-create these pattern. Have you ever tried a Marfy pattern. They are really interesting and have lots of styles similar to those you love.
    Shelagh in the UK

    • Thank you, Shelagh! As a matter of fact, I am working on my first Marfy pattern right now, and I will be doing a post or two on its construction in the weeks to come. I so appreciate hearing from you!

      • Shelagh millett

        Look forward Ro seeing what you are doing. I have just purchased the blouse pattern with ties that is a download. Also have ordered the catalogue from them for 2014/5. Thought this download would be a great one to start with and learn.
        Look forward to hear more from you.
        Shelagh in the UK

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