A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

Red Vixen Dress

Here she is folks, my Red Vixen Dress. I finally finished her up this week and I’m pretty excited about how she turned out. As you remember, this is my first attempt at a vintage pattern. McCall’s 5995 from 1961. I was trying to capture the mood of this time period and was looking for inspiration all over. As you peruse through the images of my dress here’s a link to the #1 song in 1961.

Now, let’s get back to the pattern, shall we? The pattern itself was too big for me and I had to grade down a size, though I think I could still do with one more size down in the bodice. This grading thing really frightened me as I’ve already said. It turned out rather well though, I think. All in all, I’m very pleased with the dress.

Being as this is my first vintage pattern, let’s have a chat about vintage pattern instructions. I’m in love with them! This pattern is from 1961 and I haven’t yet tried anything older but they just did things so differently. The pattern instructions rely heavily on a lot of hand stitching. I was rather impressed with that. The instructions show you how to handstitch a buttonhole, and finish seam allowances by hand. I didn’t vary much from the instructions except to put in triangular bound buttonholes rather than the traditional sort, but the pattern does call for and give you step by step’s for great bound buttonholes. Frankly, I’ve never even seen this in a modern pattern, though I’m sure it exists. Thoroughly, thoroughly impressed with the instructions here.

After grading down the pattern I noticed that the skirt was still huge. I decided to tailor it after I sewed it and this did prove beneficial. At first, I got it too snug. I could get the dress on and walk around in it, but sitting was impossible. Ha. It’s still a little snug when I sit, but how could I possibly go bigger, it’s a wiggle dress for heaven’s sakes. My biggest question here is how do you make a garment so fitted and still sit? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I think you would have to have a bit of stretch in the fabric to achieve this whereas mine has zip.

Onto the zipper! My favorite part is the zipper here. I’m so proud of it. This zipper is handpicked and lapped. It worked out so wonderfully. I love it!!!! I was just finishing up the zipper when I read this post from Gertie’s Blog. I completely agree with her and some of the comments left about the hardships of invisible zippers. I had thought I would do an invisible zipper for this dress and then I remembered the fiasco I had with my green silk play dress. I passed up the invisible zipper for a basic zipper instead. It looks 1000x better in my opinion. Ecstatic about this part of the dress, simply ecstatic.

I couldn’t be happier with this dress. It’s made using cherry red merino wool twill which I got from here and I lined the skirt with red dupioni silk. Here’s a shot of the inside detail. I finished the seam allowances with some homemade charmeuse silk bias tape in baby pink, kind of a Valentiney touch, but hey, it’s Valentine’s this weekend. And what could possibly be better than to be smitten while wearing this number?

  • Gertie - Oh my goodness, it’s FABULOUS, dahling! That fabric just looks lucious (heading over to trim fabric now!), and your construction is impeccable. Lovely buttonholes! You should be very proud of yourself.
    As for fitting wiggle skirts, I make mine super snug in the waist and upper hip, and then make sure I have a couple extra inches in the lower hip. It’s worked so far!
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  • Pattern Junkie - Wow. That is one stunning dress, both inside and out. You look fantastic!
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  • Angela - Oh how lovely!! I need a red wiggle dress now, too! You did a great job with your first vintage pattern. I really want to try one. I must try the handpicked zipper, too. I just love the bound buttonholes!
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  • Jodi - Maybe you just can’t sit… Did you ever see that episode of SATC where the girls go to some kind of luncheon and Samantha can’t sit down at all cos her dress is so tight? :) I adore this dress – it is beautiful.
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  • kiraph - Sunni, it looks great! I’m glad that you are so happy with it. You have inspired me to find a great vintage pattern and get on with it… and Jodi, that was a wedding I think!!!
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  • corinnea - You did a beautiful job on everything. Perfect fabric and execution!
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  • katy - so impressed! beautiful, beautiful!
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  • Abby - Oh my, I am Falling to Pieces over this dress! Haha!(Both me and Patsy.)I saw the pictures while I was at work yesterday, and then I had to run before I could make a comment, and I’ve just been thinking this whole time how classy you are. I love it!
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  • kerrie - Classy dress, love the buttonholes,gorgeous fabric, way to go!
    Puts my peasant style dress to shame.
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  • Karin - What a gorgeous dress you made. I love the shape, the colour, the buttonholes, everything. And you look stunning in it. My compliments!
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  • Betsy - That dress looks so amazing! It’s fantastic on you!
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