We have a test dress!

It fits!

It actually fits!


I made a first muslin (left picture) with the bodice in one layer of test-taffetta and the skirt in the actual lining I am going to use for the dress.  The grey skirt was a test for the previous plan. I am now first going to shelve the green-and-grey version so I can get cracking on the actual dress, but I will finish this test-dress neatly once the REAL dress is done and dusted.

The lace version of the bodice is the test for all the fitting issues and modifications such as the “shadow” sweetheart neckline  I am doing to make the dress a little more interesting.

“Interesting”. Why oh why do things always have to get “interesting”?

So.  Instead of 2 straightforward front- and back bodice pieces to be cut in fabric and lining, we are choosing to chop the front and back piece each into 2 pieces to be cut from fabric and lining, cut the upper bodice piece from mesh, cut full (unchopped) front and back pieces from lace overlay, and figure out how to construct  the lined bodice from that puzzle.

Just to make it even  more “interesting”: The pattern instructions for the darts are open- cut BUT UNFINISHED vertical darts on the skin-side of the lining, because darts are sewn through both layers.  That does NOT work for me, especially with the extra lace layer.

More unfinishedness happens around the bound buttonhole flaps. The pattern does not suggest anything but trimming and whip-stitching.  Maybe it is just a 50’s thing, but that sounds rather primitive.  I can however not really think of another way to do it, except serging the buttonhole squares before whipstitching?

One more thing:  The skirt volume.

Few of the sewn-up versions of this dress I found on the net had that Cinderella-ish ballroom pouffiness of the pattern illustrations.  According to the pattern the dress really has only one layer of unlined fabric – which would result in the rather limp silhouette of my blue-and-purple test. The underskirt is sewn separately and is only one layer of lining fabric, with horsehair braid at the hem for some volume.

But nooooooo.  Because in this garden we like things INTERESTING, we will be making: one (purpleblueorange) chiffon layer and one (purple) pongee lining layer for the dress, and one (purple) tulle layer plus one (black) pongee lining layer (with horshair braid) for the underdress.

I hope the kid is going to be able to sit down in it…

(Visit this blog post if you want to see what the final result looked like.)

5 thoughts on “We have a test dress!

  1. Hello my name is carina i am 16 from Texas and competing in a fashion construction competition and got the same pattern to compete and I was having trouble with the bodice and was wondering if you could let me know how you ended up doing the darts because I’m stuck right now and don’t have anyone else to ask for help


  2. Hi Carina! Wow, it is quite nice to get an email notification that there is a comment on a post I did years ago! In the end, because this was the test dress for the final product, I had the opportunity to tweak the darts so I got a perfect fit on my daughter. So if I were you I would cut out the pattern on polycotton fabric, transfer the dart markings very exactly, but then first fit the test bodice on yourself or your model to see if adjustments are neccesary so the fit is perfect.
    Concerning the sewing of the darts: my secret is always sewing towards the sharp point (always starting from the fabric edge) and at the sharp point of the dart “running off” the fabric and sewing a few stitches on, never backspacing. I tie the thread in a little knot to avoid the dart unraveling, but don’t pull it tight. That technique gives a smooth dart point.
    I don’t know if you noticed I did a few other posts on this pattern, on this blog.
    I hope your dress comes out beautifully. Please let me know where to look, if you post pictures anywhere.
    Happy sewing!


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