Hot! The “Mystery Solved” Dress | Veronica Darling



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The Facts

Fabric: vintage floral upholstery type fabric, $2 
Pattern: Simplicity 3846, $8
Year: 1952
Notions: vintage zipper, 20c 
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: July
Wear again? Maybe after Thursday night!

Total Cost: $10.20

Watch out for your neighbours this week, for we are the race of Peeping Toms! I adore Alfred Hitchcock and his approach to filmmaking, and Rear Window shows the pleasure of watching and looking at other people’s lives… which is so much like going to the cinema! It was while I researched the American Designer week that Edith Head‘s name kept coming up with Hitchcock’s, and I nearly fell off my chair when I saw how many wonderful costumes she’d created, especially for Grace Kelly in Rear Window. 

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It was my stash, my trusty stash of vintage fabrics, that chose the last dress, because I’m just not ready to go back to the fabric store just yet! It breaks my heart not to re-use material or be thrifty! I love the all black dress (in the middle photo), but another time. *sigh* So many beautiful Edith Head dresses! This floral dress is actually the part in the film where the mystery is revealed!

This darling floral upholstery fabric I had was only about 3 metres long, 45 inches wide, and unfortunately the pattern called for much more. I spent most of the time on this dress resizing the skirt pieces (3 of them, but all were used 2 times) so that *all* the pattern pieces fitted to the fabric I had. That meant the skirt is substantially shorter than the original pattern, but it would have been on the floor, and not tea (or just below knee) like the actual pattern cover depicts. Oh well, the hurdles and restrictions of using stash fabric! Such fun!


Overall, this 1952 pattern was a dream to work with, the facing on the collar was easy, the instructions were so detailed! I love the back neck cross over of the collar, and cute little darts:

Such a beautiful detail, and one that I’d not seen before! I took care (because of the lovely sheen of the fabric) to not have any exposed stitching, so with the armholes (bias binding) and the hemline, I used slipstitches and my blind hem foot/stitch. It’s probably the most care I’ve ever taken with a garment, and I love that it’s got an extra polish. As with all vintage patterns, the slender drawings on the cover is kind of deceiving, so in my opinion there’s a little bit of bulk across the bodice. But at least with such a full skirt, I can wear the fuller petticoats, and hopefully that creates a skinny mini waist.

And a scene from Rear Window where Grace Kelly takes over from Jimmy Stewart as the photographer!

Dressing up for the photos, I was feeling a little sad that I didn’t have a major event to wear the dress out, but I’d forgotten! The Melbourne International Film Festival opens this week, and I’ll be wearing this for the Black Tie Opening Night! No Hitchcock on the Melbourne program, but maybe we can all throw a dvd film festival in ode to the Sew Weekly inspirations in front of the couch this weekend!!!


Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


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  1. After three failed attempts at writing something coherent, I’m simply going to say *love*. The inspiration, the fabric, the pattern, and the details are absolute perfection!

  2. What a fabulous dress for MIFF opening night.
    Actually just What a fabulous dress.
    Great fabric.

  3. First of all, I loooove the dress. And second, I adore the photos, especially the last one!

  4. I looked at the photo of Grace Kelly in this dress and wished I could do something with it. I haven’t on this occasion, but am so glad that you did. I knew exactly which dress you were channeling before I scrolled down. Wonderful job and I’m glad you have an occasion to wear it.

  5. margueritedesigns

    Love that fabric.

  6. What a lovely dress.

  7. Favourite dress on the Sew Weekly EVER. I love it! This probably only has about 10% to do with the fact that Rear Window is my favouritest Hitchcock and has possibly the most stylishly dressed heroine of all time, and the rest to do with how beautiful that dress and fabric are.

  8. How lovely! I love your description of working with the vintage pattern.

  9. Rear window is my favorite Hitchcock movie! I am so glad you picked a fachion from this movie. Wonderful dress just like they all are.

  10. Wow! Love this shape and the fabric – beautiful!! You and Adey are seriously giving Grace Kelly a run for her money!

  11. That’s exactly what I wanted to make when I saw this week’s theme — perfect!

  12. You look utterly stunning! That dress is so fabulous on you!! Well done!

  13. You are seriously amazing women, what a gorgeous dress and yet again an amazing fit. I LOVE the collar and the fabric looks perfect and well done arranging the pieces to fit the limited fabric you had on hand. Yay for your fabric stash $10.20? that is bananas.

  14. Oh and your photos!!! perfect, I love the ones where you’re peeking out the blinds. Just like Grace. You nailed it.

  15. You look lovely! Great photos too! I especially love the one of your collar back and blond curls, its yummy – beautiful light.

  16. You are too fabulous for words. I love the cut and style of this dress – it is perfect for Hitchcock! The fabric is also delightful and your shoes are splendid! Love this whole ensemble :)

  17. You look gorgeous! what a great dress.. and the perfect occasion to wear it. We are on the same wavelength this week – I chose the same dress for my inspiration.. also because it worked with the stash! Running a bit behind though.. soon soon.

  18. Great photos by husbie once again and what a bombshell dress! Together you and husbie are like a super incredible, unstoppable team of creativity! (I’ll get back to you with your theme song :) ) You look stunning xx

  19. LOVE this dress! Such a beautiful style! And I absolutely love that last photo–it looks like a still from the movie :) props to husbie for the great photos and again, I am in awe of your sewing and stash bustin’ skillz! xoxoxo

  20. Thank you Lizz – and *love* back to you! I’m glad you love it as much as I do!

  21. Thanks JP! It was a perfect dress to wear to an opening night!

  22. Thank you Michelle! Husbie loves to replicate a film ‘look’ on our photos, and that last one is amazing!

  23. It’s a beautiful dress in the film, hey!? I’m seriously loving Edith Head’s designs! So unique and wearable and gorgeous!

  24. Glad you like! Thanks xoxo

  25. Yay! I love that you love it! xoxo

  26. Thank you Elizabeth, I love it when vintage patterns are so well explained and so lovely to make up, so I had to share!

  27. Thank you Michelle! It’s such a great film! Glad you approve!

  28. YAY! Thank you darling!

  29. It’s such a gorgeous dress! Edith Head’s designs are amazing!

  30. Thank you Sarah! So pleased!

  31. With the handstitching and the blind hem, it really is an expensive looking dress! So 10 bucks makes it so bananas, you’re right! xoxo