Thursday, 13 January 2011

sewing the rose dress

rose sew a

The dress I posted yesterday (which was actually me from Monday) ticked a lot of boxes – lovely print, light cotton, nice full skirt ect – but it had one big flaw... the cut was crap. This is what happens when you are used to vintage dresses. You get spoiled by great, well fitting cuts! When you can find the perfect fit of course :) But this summer rose print dress had such a different shape in the bodice; like so many modern clothes, the bodice was really long, as though it was made for a very tall person (at 5'4'', I don't think I am exactly petite), the shoulder straps seem to be set quite far apart, and there is no room in the bust, even though the waist is quite big. (And a roomy waist is great for me in January!) When I wore it on Monday I found out just odd this fit was.

So, how to fix it?

I am not going to do a major job on something so close to fine for its purpose, so I need something quick and simple – and within my modest sewing skills.

First, I made a fold in the front of the bodice, as you can see in the first picture. I lined up the seams and pinned it in place, taking about an inch, maybe and inch and a half.

rose sew j

The armholes are really quite high, which wouldn't be such a problem now that the bodice is shorter, but the bust is strangely small, even for modest curves. The small armholes themselves aren't the problem – they aren't too small for arms, and moving and so on, but this is the easiest way I can think of to put more room in the bodice at the top. The dress basically had an Elizabethan corset effect – uncomfortably flat up the front and them boom! cleavage a-go-go – (but for such a long, tall, broad shouldered person!), which I am sure is just fine with some people but it's not really the look I am after! So, by opening the sides of dress a bit more under the arms, it gives more rooms for those overrated luxuries, such as breathing.

rose sew b

So I cut several inches down the side seams, making sure not to go too low – or you bra will show at the sides. Again, not the worst thing in the world but I want to avoid that here.

rose sew g

Pin down the triangles so that the arm hole runs straight.

rose sew h

Chose a thread that matches the colour closely. As you can see, this dress is completely lined in a second layer of light cotton, so I won't need to stitch all the way through – so the stitches won't show from the outside. Yay!

rose sew f

The tedious bit. Stitch stitch stitch...

rose sew d


rose sew e

Ta da.

Same for the other side.

Then stitch those bodice seams... and that's it!

rose sew i


SAMI. said...

how brilliant! usually if a vintage dress is too tight in the arms, i just don't raise them all day long. hahaha! maybe i will try this trick!


Weedyseadragon said...

Nice work! I tried this dress on and found it too short in the body >_<

Eule-Lilaanaa said...


Emjie said...

I do find that well fitted store bought dresses are a hard thing to come by.

Emma said...

It looks like you've done a fine job, well done, I would have been so frustrated! Looking back at the post of you wearing it, I suppose I can see how the straps are too wide and all.. looking forward to seeing how you style it again and with a new fit! But don't hold back showcasing the other dresses too, they're so pretty! xx

Vintagesuburbia said...

What a fantastic post! I am a very amateurish sewer so seeing those photos like that was great. I use a professional tailor for all my nice vintage stuff (Olga at the St Kilda Tailor is fab BTW) but am happy to do my own alterations for the few modern pieces I have. it isn't until you do a bit of sewing that you realise just how great vintage clothes are constructed (my Lilli Ann suit still astounds me to this day!)Thanks again! VS x

Sarah said...

A very creative solution! I just love the bold contrast print of the red with the turquoise, it such a beautiful pairing! What a find!

Lucy-Mae said...

What a great, super simple way to enlarge the armhole! The colours on that dress are beautiful too.

Elina said...

I'm going to try the same trick in a pretty rose-print cotton dress I bought for 50 cents. It was too large in every way, and everything else could I fix, but the long bodice part was a problem I couldn't solve. Thanks a lot!

arnique said...

Bookmarking for future dress revisions. Laughed out loud at the line: "It gives more rooms for those overrated luxuries, such as breathing." :D


cute tutorial to survive! (:

Paige Turner said...

Even though the dress needed minor alterations, I'm glad you kept it. Now I have to ask, can I order it online? It's adorable and must have one (or ten) but as I live in Canada, they must be online shippable! And I've nominated you for a blog award!


Hannah said...

and Im much the same, if I love something I always make it fit rather than just wasting it in the back of my closet!
Do you know if theyre available in adelaide?


Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

Looking wonderful!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...