Monday, November 21, 2011

Anne Adams, we meet again

On the drafting front, Anne Adams and I have had our differences before.  But I'm happy to say that with the continued improvement of my sewing skills, I was able to take it in stride this time around, and I really like the finished product -- definitely a "make again" dress!  (Incidentally, I picture Anne Adams as a stern, bespectacled home ec teacher.    Whereas Marian Martin seems just a little bit more fun-loving.)

Anyhow, the dress!  It's a mail order pattern (number 4753) from the 1950s.  I like it a lot, but short of extreme plastic surgery I will never have the bosoms to fill it out.  I'm wearing a padded bra in these photos.  It doesn't make a dent.   (But I will  wear the dress anyhow, though maybe not to work.)  I had hoped that the lightweight fabric would make the extra leeway look more like ease and less like space for rent ... it almost does.

With trusty sidekick, ready to investigate
the Case of the Missing Boobies.

I wasn't sure how this was going to work out, so the fabric's some cheap stuff nabbed from the clearance section at High Fashion Fabrics a few months back.  The plaid's approximately lawn-weight, and the burgundy material is also fairly lightweight.  And has a sort of polished shine on the "right" side -- ew.  So I used it wrong side out.  There's not actually any burgundy in the plaid, but it "goes", as they say.  The dress is fully lined in a pink poly-cotton batiste (As usual, I just cut the pattern twice, and cut interfacing from the facing pieces and fused it to the lining pieces at the appropriate places.)

I shamelessly re-used the belt pattern from the Colette Peony to make the belt for this dress.  Since the sides were too angled for me, I lopped off the angles -- now the pattern pieces are just two rectangles.   I used the plaid for the gathered section in front, and the burgundy fabric (with some interfacing) for the back pieces.   I really dig this belt -- it's fairly easy to make, and looks more refined than a simple tie belt.

Look how I matched my plaids for once!

This was one of those patterns that bore signs of previous use -- the skirt pieces were pinned up to make the length shorter without losing fullness.  (I decided that losing fullness was the better route, and just lopped six inches off the bottom).  The previous seamstress had already shortened the sleeves as well -- not quite evenly, but it worked out without much fuss.

Now, the drafting issue:  the bodice piece had this little hump on it, and I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to fit with the neck yoke.  The instruction illustrations don't show them, either.  I ended up just trimming them off, but I am bemused.  Why on earth were they even there?

Original version with "hump" on top,
shown with my "humpless" second draft.

I'm working on another version of this dress, this time out of rayon challis, which is one of my favorite fabrics.  I removed about an inch off each side of the upper bodice, and I'm hoping that plus the more drape-y nature of the challis will resolve the issue in the bust area.


  1. LOL I can sympathize with the lack of boobs. I just re-did a vintage dress (strapless). It's kind of depressing when the waist and hips fit and the top just collapsed around my waist. Who was this woman with a real hourglass figure? Jealous.

  2. "space for rent"--LOL! It's very elegant on you. I have no clue about the "hump" but I'm sure someone will know.

  3. I also lack in that department and tend to use a pattern to fit the bosom and add inches everywhere else. I've tried a few times to make the bust smaller but failed. Your dress looks fab and the space to rent wasn't noticeable until I read about it.

  4. I'm afraid I would have left space for rent, too, but that's still an awesome pattern.

  5. Andrea, this is actually one of my favourite dresses you've made! I love your fabric, I'm always drawn to those kinds of colours and the belt idea was very clever. Good luck with version two, can't wait to see it ;o)

  6. Love the interesting design details in this pattern and the colors you chose to make the dress. Very flattering on you. Gotta say I empathize with the bodice issue. Your dress looks nearly perfect, and if you can work out the fitting issues on the bodice, you will have perfection. Can't wait to see the next one.

  7. Oh you're too funny! That is a gorgeous pattern and I love your fabric choices. If I were you I would deepen the tucks in the bodice front to get rid of the extra space. It is not so much that it looks too big in the bust, it is very blousey all down through the waist.

  8. I love love love that fabric, and I sympathize with the space to rent. My mother was once helping me fit a dress, and she sighed and said, "Wouldn't it be easier to just go buy you a padded bra?" I said, "In theory, yes, but I'm *already wearing one*!"

    Is the hump possibly supposed to turn into some sort of dart or tuck? That's all I can think of.