The “Chevron Bandito” Dress
Fabric: Heavyweight cotton – $5 for ~7 yards
Pattern: McCall's 6224
Notions: Vintage zipper – $.005
Year: c. 1962
Time to complete: About 15 hours
First worn: November 2010
Wear again? Yes, when it warms up.
When I buy fabric, I almost always have no idea how I will end up using it. This fabric was the exception: the moment I saw it I knew exactly what the finished dress would look like. It would have a definite Mexican vibe and a full skirt. McCall's 6224 immediately came to mind (I previously used it for The "I Will Never Wear a Batik Print" Batik Print Dress). And that's just what happened — only with a lot more work than I expected.
I wanted the skirt to have a border print of some sort. Originally, I thought that I could cut the fabric so that only one grouping of stripes would be at the bottom of the skirt. The problem? The skirt was way too short. So I decided to cut orange-stripes-orange. Still too short. I then cut the stripes into vertical strips and then stitched them to form one longer piece. I attached that bottom piece to the main skirt piece and voila, a longer skirt with a bottom border of some kind.
And then the bodice. Oh, the bodice. Matching the pieces to form a chevron was actually quite simple. The real problem arose when I realized that my pattern was not suitable for a chevron. The darts at the chest and the waist would completely ruin any sort of matching I had accomplished. I had already cut the bodice, and though I had more fabric, I was not willing to abandon the chevron. I decided to look online at vintage patterns until I found a dress that had a chevron bodice. Upon closer examination I saw that the solution for a chevron-darted bodice was diagonal darts. Abandoning McCall's, I created darts in that manner and all seemed to be right with the world.
But that was just the front bodice! I then had to match the chevrons at the sides and at the back (where I would have to insert a dreaded zipper.) The sewing gods were on my side and it all managed to turn out quite okay.
The only disappointment of the dress turned out to be the bodice lining. Because I modified the bodice darts, I had to modify the lining in the same manner. I wasn't so precise doing that and as a result, the insides look sloppy.
That said, the dress turned out just like I hoped! Now I just need to attend a fiesta. ¡Olé!