Tuesday, May 30, 2017

1944 Daisies Maternity Dress

My second #vintagepledge dress is done!  It's another maternity dress from a a real vintage pattern, also dating from 1944.  (See the first one here.)  I loved this pattern for the creative use of belt ties for an adjustable gathered waist, the neckline, the sleeves, and the pockets!

My fabric is a bright and cheerful red floral rayon challis that I bought on a whim from Denver Fabrics last summer.  I got the piece on clearance for $8!  I was quite pleased with that purchase.  It was a 2-yd remnant - 60" wide - and of course the pattern called for 3 1/8 yards of 42" wide fabric, so that was going to make cutting interesting...

I started with a mock-up, which I actually made at the same time as the mockup for my first maternity dress.  On this one, I decided to try out both sleeve options:

Actually, there are three sleeve options - the third is a wrist-length sleeve gathered into a cuff, but I didn't really like that one.  I was torn between the short sleeve and the 3/4, but I was fairly certain that I wouldn't have enough fabric for the longer sleeve, anyway.

I was right, as it happens.  I *barely* had enough for the short sleeve!

I had also added a bit of extra width to the mock-up because I thought I would need to size up again (turns out I didn't) from 18 to 20, but I ended up not having enough fabric to do that, either.

I cut everything out except the belt ties, but you can see above how I left as much space for them as possible the middle of the yardage.  I knew I would have to piece them.

This is how much fabric I ended up with for the ties:

I pulled threads to get the straight-of-grain, then lined up the pattern piece to get the width:

More thread pulling:

I ended up with one piece the full width of the fabric, and two shorter ones that I added onto each end.  Then I cut the seamed piece in half to make two ties, which ended up being only about 6" shorter than the pattern piece.  Close enough, I said!

The dress construction was quite interesting, but unfortunately I did not take many photos as I was making it.  It was kind of fun how each of the notches for the seams were numbered in the order in which you are meant to sew them together.  I've seen this before on vintage patterns, but the was my first time using one like it.

One small change I made was to omit the neck stay from the cutting layout, mainly because I didn't want to waste any of my precious fabric on a piece that would never be seen.  Instead I used seam binding from my stash:

I also had to fudge the seam allowances on a couple of pieces, which resulted in spots like this:

Not a big deal, as long as the missing bit is confined to the seam allowance.

I used the same package of seam binding above to finish the hem in the same way as my previous dress, but there wasn't enough to also hem the sleeves.  I found another package of similar tape:

Slightly different edge:

The directions were a bit confusing at times, and used some terminology I was not familiar with.  For instance, "waist" instead of "bodice."  Also, because of the way they are printed the written descriptions of each step do not always line up with the corresponding line drawing, so I had to read them over several times before proceeding.  But I didn't make any mistakes!

All in all, I liked the pattern.  I did skip the bows at the neckline, and the shoulder pads.  I also did not add snaps to the front yoke, as I didn't have any problems with the neckline gapping.  The dress is a comfortable pull-over style (and I love any dress that doesn't involve me sewing zippers!), but as it's meant to be worn it's not terribly flattering:

At least, not over a 39-week pregnant belly.

Pockets are nice, though.
It might have been cuter in the first few months of pregnancy.

Brian the Engineer opined that it looked more like a housedress than a going-out dress.  So I re-styled it slightly.

All I did was lift the front waist up above my belly, cinching the belt tighter for more gathers.

Now I have a defined waist!  Much better.

Accessories help, too.
I'm wearing Victory Red Lipstick from Besame Cosmetics, vintage gloves from my collection, Loraine shoes by b.a.i.t. from Royal Vintage Shoes, and seamed stockings from What Katie Did.

I really like the fact that the top edge of the pocket is larger than the side front skirt panel where it is attached, which makes the pockets stand open just a bit.  It makes them an obviously intentional design choice, and not an invisible afterthought.  It's a little thing, but it makes me happy.

I'm hoping that the dress will be more flattering after I have the baby and my waist goes back to its normal position (and size).  The great thing about these vintage maternity patterns is that they're clearly meant to be worn past pregnancy, with lots of adjustability for a fluctuating waistline.  You'll see this dress again!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

My Finished Maternity Stays

I finally finished binding my 18th Century Maternity Stays in time to wear them to the Colonial Williamsburg Garden Party on May 5!  However, I did not get any good photos of them at the time because I was getting dressed in a hurry, having just finished stitching trim on my gown.  :p

So I put them on yesterday for a quick photo shoot.  I am really proud of how well they turned out.  They are comfortable and supportive, and have lasted the entire way through my pregnancy!  Here I am wearing them at 39 weeks:

Yep, could be any day now!  
Just for comparison, here I am wearing them (in various stages of completion) at 26 weeks and 29 weeks, respectively:


The side lacing is really the key, here.  It makes them incredibly adjustable so that they're never squishing the baby, but still providing support for the bust and for all of my petticoats.  The front lacing makes them very easy to get in and out of by myself, which has been awesome.

Since the last time I blogged about them, I have worn them four additional times (two of which I still need to blog about), and each time they became a little bit closer to being completed.  First I whipped all of the seam allowances down on the inside.  Next I added welting to the seams, which I think gives them a nice finished look.  I used 1/4" wide petersham ribbon from my stash.  Finally I trimmed the excess material from the top and bottom edges, and bound them with 1/"2 linen tape.

I also finished the ends of all of the cording pieces by wrapping them tightly with waxed thread and coating them in clear nail polish, to make lacing easier.  I had done about half of them before - all of the ones that were necessary to get them laced initially - but it felt good to have that final step done.

I did take a few quick shots on my phone after the Garden Party before I took they stays off, so here you can see me at 36 weeks:

Mirror selfies are such a crapshoot.
I also took a couple shots of the stays after I took them off, to show how much they had formed to my body by now:

Here are more photos from yesterday's shoot:

Baby was kicking.  :p

I haven't adjusted the back lacing at all since the first time I wore them.  The side lacing does all of the work:  

And the best part is that I should be able to wear them postpartum, as well!  With the sides laced closed they'll fit just like regular stays (in theory), and I'll still be able to adjust both front and back for my fluctuating size.  :)  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Vintage Pledge

I meant to sign up for the #VintagePledge2017 last month when I first read about it, but my blogging has been very slow lately and I never got around to it.

I have, of course, already made one vintage dress, but I have more planned!

My Vintage Pledge:

I, Chelsea of Sartorial Statement, pledge to sew at least two vintage maternity dresses, at least two vintage nursing outfits, at least two vintage baby outfits, and at least two vintage non-maternity outfits in 2017.  

Here are my specific plans:

Vintage Maternity

One down, one in progress!

1944 Polka Dots
1944 Red Floral
Vintage Nursing Outfits

Two or more of these:

Vintage Baby Outfits

I should be able to get several outfits out of this pattern.  I plan to use mainly old sheets - some of which will also become the nursing outfits above.

1948 Baby Layette
Vintage Non-Maternity

I have a couple of UFOs from last summer's 1940s plans that I can finish:

Not to mention the other planned outfits from that post, as well as my whole Winter Wool Wardrobe from the previous winter.  I'm hoping that by the time cold weather rolls around, I'll be back to my pre-pregnancy size!