A vintage summer dress

It’s finished!  A new summer dress made from a vintage pattern, McCall’s 9365.   After combing the pattern files at Hancock’s and not finding anything that fit my vision, I stumbled upon this vintage wrap dress pattern online and was hooked.  And who doesn’t love the 1960s illustrations?

However, I must admit that this dress took longer than expected.  I think that my trouble began with the pattern alterations.  I’m a self-taught seamstress and while I’ve been voraciously reading pattern and alterations books, I still don’t know all of the techniques.  I have a mindset that I can just “do it”  — which often leads to lots of time with my trusty seam ripper.  Ultimately, I finished this dress through a combination of draping and following the pattern instructions.

I actually finished the dress for the first time about a month ago.  It looked like this:

The dress was certainly cute.  I loved the drape of the waist and skirt, but something about the neckline bothered me.  When combined with a cardigan (my clothing piece of choice), it looked a bit matronly.  Very matronly.  So after wearing it a couple of times, I relegated it to the back of the closet and chalked it up to a learning experience.

Over the last couple of weeks I toyed with the idea of ripping out the ruffle.  But frankly the idea of deconstructing the dress didn’t appeal to me (given the time that I put into the construction).  Then it a solution occurred to me yesterday.  I could flip the ruffle over the facing and make it into a different ruffle feature.

Here is what it looks like now:

It’s not a huge change.  But I think it’s enough to make a difference.

Pattern review of McCall’s 9365

Materials used:
3 yards cotton lawn paisley from fashionfabricsclub.com
3 yards of yellow lawn lining
woven interfacing

Alterations:  Gee, at this point I’m afraid that I don’t remember them all.  Off the top of my head I remember doing the following:  sway back alteration, addition of 1.5″ to the bodice and another 3″ to the skirt, and addition of the ruffle detail.  I also changed things like the cut of the back neckline, the angle of the front neckline, and I added several inches to either side of the bodice and skirt (the portion that wraps) so that (1) the wrap portion of the bodice would come across my waist and (2) the skirt would cover the front of my body.

I should note that the pattern itself is very easy to follow.  Therefore, if you are one of those lucky women who can make a straight pattern size, you should certainly go for this dress.  It’s a winner.

Would I make it again?:  I think that this would make a sweet dress in a stretch cotton poplin.  However… I’m afraid that it would be just as much work as the first time since I didn’t make very good notes on my pattern pieces.

If anyone has come up with a good method for keeping track of your initial alterations, final alterations, and the resulting final product, I would love for you to share it.



Filed under Dresses, Vintage dresses

2 responses to “A vintage summer dress

  1. Mom

    You persevered to make a beautiful dress daughter!! Love, Mom

  2. It's Only Words

    I love the fabric you chose! When I make a pattern, I leave the original intact and trace it off on tissue; I prefer actual tissue that I buy in the gift wrap department. All my changes are transferred to my traced pattern pieces so that when I’m finished, the next garment is a straight cut and sew project.

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