Saturday, 20 October 2012

Things I Learned While Sewing Advance 8436

The Women's Shirtwaist dress, Advance 8436, is finished. And I absolutely love it.

I had to do some tweaking to get to this point. And if I sew another one, which I plan to do, I will have to consider some of the changes that happened.

  • Several inches were cut from the hemline.  
  • Next time I will shorten the sleeves to achieve the three-quarter length.  
  • and the waist, oh my goodness the waist!  
I learned that it is a good thing to do some research when sewing a vintage pattern. This pattern, I suspect, is from circa 1950s. It was a size 16 and the measurements corresponded with modern body measurements from a Vogue size 14, which is the size that I typically sew. I thought I wouldn't have any issues. Boy was I wrong. 

Where did I error? Well, that would be in omitting any historical research into this era. My bad.  

Post-cutting I discovered that gals back in the fifties were into a form of body modification called waist training. My ribs hurt just thinking about it.  

Gertie blogged about Corsets of the 1950s and it seems to be the important detail that I neglected when I started working on this dress. This might explain why I had ample room in the bust and hip area but I had to let out the waist area over three inches! 

It was either that or do this. And I don't do diets. Yeah, there is a diet that goes with waist training. Sew, letting out the dress was my only option. And to think that waist training is apparently making a comeback. Who knew? And why?  

This might explain the high placed bust darts, no? {Source
There was another issue with the Advance 8436 pattern, the ill-placed darts. Or are they ill-placed? It just seemed so odd. I know I recently had a birthday but the girls are not sagging. The armhole and ease around the bust seemed fine but the darts seemed high. And then I found this photo of Deborah Roberts of ABC News.    

I suspect that if I were wearing a corset (such as Ms. Roberts is wearing or a waspie mentioned in Gertie's post) the darts would be perfectly placed for the pushed up girls.  

I'm still not convinced to dabble in a bit of body modification, I'm going to work on the pattern instead.  

The plan, remove the darts completely. There is ample ease around the bust they won't even be missed. I wouldn't mind keeping the tucks the way that they are on the pattern but that will mean adding to the side seams on the bodice.  And then I will also add to the skirt pieces where they meet at the waist. 


I don't think there is anything else that I would change. The pockets and the button front are my favourite detail.  

And I really did like they way the tucks looked before I had to let them out significantly. 

With these things that I learned while sewing the shirtwaist dress in mind, I think I'm ready to tackle the dress in the plaid fabric.  

But first, I have some sewing for others to clear off my table.  

Happy Sewing.  

1 comment:

  1. Not sure about your waist-training research. My waist *was* 22" naturally, even after having three children it was 26" and no "training" involved. I think the average woman was just not as thick around the waist as they are today; certainly those I knew were not, a different life style now (as well as food supply). This particular pattern I just received after purchasing it via eBay and am looking forward to sewing it with a beautiful rose pattern fabric I bought about four years ago for a shirtwaist dress. In my younger years, I wore primarily shirtwaist dresses, absolutely loved them! Self-made belts really set them off (I loved mine wide), very attractive, lots of compliments. (Then I went into the business world and wore mostly suits, missed my full-skirted dresses.) On the envelope of the pattern I just purchased was written "May 1959" which was most certainly when it was originally purchased. I would have been just finishing 8th grade then.

    I am curious if you did go ahead and make it with plaid fabric. I don't think I ever used plaid for these though I did sew a lot with plaids "back then." I was partial to floral and "swirly" designs for shirtwaist dresses.

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