The ghost of Joan Goetz has been hanging over my shoulder for the last several weeks. She wrote her name on the envelope of vintage Vogue pattern #2718 which has caused me so angst. I can’t help but wonder who this woman was!
I can tell from the changes she made to the pattern that she was much taller than I, with much longer arms! She added 1” to the arm length, while I subtracted 1½”. She also added three inches to the hem length, and I ended up cutting off 3” from the length. However, nowhere on the pattern does she indicate any problems with construction. I, myself, refrained from scribbling “ARG-G-G-H“ on the pattern, although I was certainly thinking it. When last I wrote about this doomed project, I wasn’t sure if I could save it. Thanks to many good suggestions and words of encouragement from my readers, the future for this dress is looking less ghostly and ghastly. Some of you suggested a break from it, working perfectly into my schedule, which included another trip out of state. Others suggested I sew on something else for a while, which I did and will write about soon. The one thing I did not do was set it aside completely. I was afraid if I left it to finish (if even possible) another time, I never would get back to it.
Actually, I have to admit, that the problems I encountered with this pattern were really not the fault of the pattern. It was entirely of my own making. The pattern required a stretch knit fabric. I used a stretch silk woven charmeuse. That would have been fine, except I insisted on underlining it. I cut the underlining on the bias, which I thought would work, but it was a disaster. It caused the bodice to bind crosswise, pull up lengthwise, and it restricted the stretch of the silk, which was necessary for this particular pattern.
With nothing to lose, I started to remove, meticulously, the silk gauze underlining from all the bodice pieces, starting with the back. I was encouraged enough at the improvement that task made, to continue to do the same with front. Then I tackled the sleeves. What a difference it made! The bodice actually started to fit, although it was still tight across the bust. I then reset the sleeves, releasing about 1/4 “ in the front seam on each side. That was all I could steal from my already-trimmed seam allowances.
I sewed the skirt yoke without underlining, but I did use an underlining, cut on the straight of grain, for the gathered skirt. Once all assembled, I basted in the zipper to check the fit. Still a little tight over the bust, but otherwise, not bad!!
Both views of the pattern show the dress with a purchased belt. I tried three different black belts, of varying widths, and did not like the effect of any of them. All made the dress look like it was cut in half. I took a few scraps of my fabric and tied them around the waist on my dress form. From this I could tell a self-belt would look so much better, but all I had left were scraps. Hopefully no one will notice that this sash is pieced together in four places!
The finale details of this dress (snaps at the sleeve vents and a good press, for starters) are finally complete. I think I can finally say that I have saved this dress from a ghostly demise.
Will I ever make this pattern again? No. Have I learned from this project? Yes. Will I enjoy wearing this dress? I think so. And right now, that’s good enough.