Little did I know when I found this “end-cut” earlier in the year at Mendel Goldberg Fabrics that “classic blue” would be chosen as Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020. But so it was, which makes my last dress of 2019 the perfect transition into the new year and the new decade.
I am one of those people who rarely goes looking for a particular fabric. I think fabrics find me and when this fabric found me, I really had no plan for what I would make out of it. But as soon as it arrived, I knew immediately I wanted a sheath dress with three-quarter length sleeves and a V-neck. I tucked it away, happy with the thought of making this dress, and knowing I had the perfect pattern to make it a reality.
After finishing my granddaughters’ December dresses, and then my pink Parisian Jacket, and then some cute little flannel blouses for gifts for my little girls, I envisioned finishing this dress to wear to holiday parties. What was I thinking? First of all, after tweaking the pattern one last time (I had had the pattern fitted a couple of years ago while in a class with Susan Khalje), it took two full days – yes, TWO – to figure out how in the world to lay out my pattern pieces. Truth be told, I really did not have enough fabric. I should have reconsidered, but I am stubborn and tenacious when it comes to my sewing “visions.” I finally decided that I could exactly match the print on the back center seam and make it sleeveless – OR I could have sleeves and not match the back. I really, really wanted sleeves. It had to have sleeves. So I did the best I could with making the back seam look okay, and I got my sleeves.
And what lovely sleeves they are! When Susan fitted the pattern, she elongated the top curve of the sleeve to accommodate my prominent shoulders. She also added a dart at the shoulder of the sleeve (actually slightly forward from the marked shoulder of the pattern to accommodate the roll of my shoulders). I added a slight amount to the width of the sleeve, about 3/8”. I have found these vintage patterns are often narrow in the sleeves.
The double elbow darts in the sleeves make a lovely fit and are placed precisely where they should be.
When it came to the V-neck, I knew I would need to use a facing of some sort, but I did not have enough fabric to cut a full facing. So – I cut a partial facing instead, just enough to be able to turn the V and have it stable. (The first thing I did when I started sewing the dress, was to reinforce that neckline with a strip of silk organza selvedge.) Well, this worked like a charm, much to my delight.
Then I brought the lining fabric right to the edge of the neckline and understitched it to secure it in place, just as you would expect a couture dress to be finished.
I used a lapped application for the hand-picked zipper. The more I use the lapped insertion for zippers, the more I like it. And I especially like it in a center back seam.
There is not much more to say about this blue floral dress, except that it was not finished in time to wear to any holiday event. Which was fine! Once I realized this would be the case, I was able to really enjoy the process of making it. It was a delightful way to end the year – and the decade, which has had such a profound effect on my sewing.