Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sew For Victory "Doris" Dress

I was going to wait until the end of Rochelle's Sew For Victory Challenge deadline to reveal this dress, and I wanted my friend to take some professional pictures but... I couldn't wait any longer! Having finished projects and not showing them off is just no fun. So, here she is, my Doris Dress! 
I've decided all my really special garments should have names because I love referring to "my Martha dress" when talking to people. The pattern I used for this challenge (McCall 4890) is from 1942, so I looked up the most popular baby names in 1918. Why? Because I am 24 years old and if I had been 24 in 1942 and bought this pattern, I would have been born in 1918. I'm a dork. Anyway, I picked Doris off the list because it was my Great Grandmom's name :)
I also used my Grandmom's old sheet for my wearable muslin (which you saw in my 40s Hair and Makeup post) so this project has been all about honoring important women in my life. 

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of my pattern adjustments, but it was actually really simple. I graded the whole pattern down two sizes then did my first Full Bust Adjustment! I don't know why I avoided doing an FBA for so long, it really was easy and it allows me to nip things in at the waist without causing ghastly wrinkles. 

The fit of the muslin was perfect except that the skirt yoke was three inches too high, ie I needed to lengthen the bodice by 3 inches. It is totally wearable, I just need some warmer weather!
I didn't put sleeves on my muslin so when I set the first one in my final dress I was pretty surprised. I think I took about 2" out of the width of the sleeve pattern and it still turned out HUGE. I mean, I know it is supposed to be gathered at the wrist and really billowy, but it was just too much. As much as I wanted this super awesome puffy forties style sleeve, that kind of volume is overpowering on me. Apparently. Shucks. I also had to move the shoulder seam in by 1" #dainty. 
I struggled to decide what to do with the sleeves, so I posted a pic my instagram and got really great feedback. The lovely Rochelle herself pointed out that I should probably keep them simple since there are a lot of other points of interest on this dress. I ended up cutting them off at the elbow and gathering them just a bit. I would have liked to put elastic in, but was too lazy to experiment that much. 
There is something about the fit of the skirt yoke in this stage that looks better to me than when I finished everything. All I did after this was hand wash it, but I think I hung it to dry and the weight  of the wet linen pulled down on the bodice, maybe? I'll see what happens after a gentle machine wash and tumble dry. 

I'm in the process of growing my hair out and I didn't do rollers last night so that part of my look isn't authentically forties. But I did my makeup correctly! Its so hard for me to resist putting eyeliner on, haha. Ooh, and there are pics of my Mom's Mom in this shot! Yay honoring Grandmothers :D
I used rayon embroidery thread which is really fricking slippery, but the woman at the thread shop (yes there is a shop that just sells thread, nextdoor to a yarn shop, nextdoor to a fabric shop. Its amazing) told me that if you run a damp cloth along the embroidery thread it will help it stay in place. You also want to double up the thread and tie the tails, a single tail would slip out of the eye of the needle. 

The iron-on embroidery template was from Mrs. Hileman's treasure trove. I don't know how old it is exactly but its definitely vintage. 
The fine linen is too soft to hold embroidery so I stabilized things with some plain cotton. 
And that's about it! I'll just bombard you with pics now. 
 I always think this pose will be cute and then... no. lol.
The skirt is soooo swooshy, I love love love it!
 Its not actually uneven this pic is just weird. Also, the detergent I used to get rid of pencil marks on my buttonholes bleached the linen :'(
I spent 30 minutes looking at buttons... Ha! I think these accomplish my goal of connecting the bright red of the strawberries to the browns in the dress and my shoes. 


  1. It's gorgeous! I love the touch of embroidery, too. What a great dress!

  2. I just love this dress. BTW my grandma's name was Doris. The same era as your great grandma!

    1. So it was indeed popular, awesome! And thank you :)

  3. The strawberry embroidery totally Makes It for me! Adorable!

    1. Thanks! The magic is in the details ;)

  4. I love this dress on you! I especially like the little pop of color you added. It looks great!

  5. Love this dress; you did a fantastic job sewing it up and it looks fabulous on you! Not to mention I adore the sweet touch with the embroidered strawberries, they are a great little detail. :)

    bonita of Depict This!