If you’ve been around my blog at all, you’ll know I have an affinity for vintage sewing patterns. Well, Advance 2952 was the first vintage pattern I ever bought and is one I keep coming back to. After that, I was hooked, and keep searching for great vintage patterns on Etsy and Instagram.
I’ve twice made version 2 of the pattern, but have never (using a vintage or modern pattern) sewn a straight skirt. Last year at the annual textiles sale hosted by the Textile Museum, I picked up a bundle of bright magenta mystery fabric for $8. There was a good amount of it, but not enough to do a dress with a big gathered skirt or circle skirt, which are usually my go-tos. I figured it would go great with version 1 of my favourite Advance pattern, especially since I suspect the fabric itself was vintage too.
A burn test of the fabric seems to indicate that it’s a rayon, and it feels like a rayon, but it’s not super drapey. It has a lovely sheen and is nice and soft, but also felt thick enough to work well on its own, without too many linings or interfacings. I actually originally planned to give it a lining, and had made one, but when I tried the bodice on it felt good on its own, and I didn’t feel the need to add a lining.
When I work with vintage sewing patterns I like to work with vintage sewing techniques – that means no using a serger to finish the raw edges. I used my pinking shears, but I think the fabric frays too easily and pinked edges weren’t the right choice. I’ll have to see how it lives up to regular wear and tear over time.
Sewing the bodice and the scalloped neckline (my favourite touch) was familiar to me, but I had never sewn a skirt with a vent. Fortunately, the pattern paper is well labelled and I find vintage instructions very easy to understand, so I had no issues putting it all together.
To finish the armholes and the waist seam, I wanted to reduce bulk, but I knew that if I trimmed too close to the seams they would eventually fray away to nothing, so I finished those seams with some gorgeous teal bias binding that I made from scraps of a silky rayon dress I had been working on. This involved a lot of hand sewing, but since I didn’t line the dress I had some extra time.
Actually, the whole thing involved a lot of hand sewing – the sleeves and hem are hand sewn, and the zipper is hand-picked. A lot of people don’t like projects that involve a lot of hand sewing, but I actually find it really relaxing (usually) and I enjoy the slow process and the control I have by not relying on a machine.
When I first tried on the bodice of the dress I worried the fit was off, and convinced myself that the dress would be unwearable. I worked on through to the end though, and was actually really pleased with how it looked, and I love how the straight skirt looks on me. I feel very Mad Men-esque (I didn’t watch the show, but I appreciated the clothes!). The finishing touch was adding my grandmother’s white leather gloves, which my Nana sent me when she saw other vintage patterns I had sewn (along with a gorgeous beaded clutch!). They were a bit tight, but she told me that since they’re leather you can stretch them out a bit – so I squeezed them on, and they fit like a glove! (Hehe, couldn’t resist that one). Thanks, Nana!