Monday, August 13, 2007

Switching Years

I finished making a couple of T- shirts for myself with lovely rayon/lycra knit fabrics from
And started work on a Vintage pattern.
I decided to sew the 60's Pierre Balmain dress. It is fairly simple and I might actually wear it. There was a similar dress in the Versace ad on page 63 in this month's Vogue Magazine. It is accessorized very differently than the 60's version. Interesting, but not a look I can carry off. The measurements of the pattern are very close to mine with the exception of the waist. I thought the easiest way to check the fit would be to pin the pattern to my packing tape dressform double, who I affectionately call Verite (French for truth). I made her last year in an all day session with Jan Bones at the Sewing Expo in Chantilly VA. Verite is a very accurate double of my unique body shape.
I found the pattern at a Goodwill store, and it has obviously been used. I could tell by the tucks and pleats still taped in place, that the person was short waisted, had narrow shoulders and needed an extra inch or two in the hips. The adhesive on the tape was still very sticky and I was able to peel it away without damaging the pattern. The pattern fit Verite very well when I pinnedit on her. The center front needs to be shortened a bit and the arm hole may have to be cut lower. Both of these can be adjusted after initial construction. The pattern is well designed. It has match points every 4 " along any seam line. It includes 3/4 " seam allowances on seams that are to be topstitched. The armhole is cut higher for the sleeveless version, something I haven't seen frequently in patterns today, The pattern fabric recommendation includes double knit. I am using a med. weight, firm, 70/30 poly cotton double knit. The instructions recommend underlining all the garment pieces. I will try it on a couple to see how it changes the feel of the fabric. I am not sure the knit needs additional body, which is one purpose of underlining. But the instructions also say to catchstitch the armhole facings and hem to the underlining, and that will definitely give a more professional look. I remember my mother poring over the instructions for Vogue Paris Original patterns in the 70's and commenting on the advanced techniques used to construct the garments. I am going to try and use as many of them as possible just for the experience.


  1. Cute T-shirts! I think that dress is going to look great on you.

  2. That is a fabulous pattern! And found at Goodwill, no less. I can't wait to see your finished version.

  3. I love those old Vogue designer patterns. And I have that same Versace ad cut out of Vogue and up on my inspiration board. Can't wait to see it come to fruition.

  4. I made that Balmain dress back in the very early 70's. I used a raspberry wool doubleknit, and can't remember underlining it. Loved the dress, though.
    Lee K