Hot! the “field of poppies” dress

The Facts:

Fabric: liberty of london tana lawn “phoebe”
Pattern: self drafted, inspired by simplicity 1975
Year: 1940s
Notions: zipper
Time to Complete: 6 hours including drafting
First Worn: May 25, 2012
Wear Again: not until i fix it properly
Total Price: ~$45
Challenge Theme: “1940s”

i was very excited to take this challenge as an opportunity to play with an idea i had long coveted: copying simplicity 1975 by drafting the bodice myself, from scratch. see, i never purchased the pattern because the sizing is so off i’d have ended up re-drafting the thing anyway to get it to fit properly, and i wanted to learn how to draft a strapless bodice that might actually fit me.

it took me two tries, because i misunderstood some measurements in my pattern drafting book, but my trustly sloper did not steer me wrong and i ended up with a very serviceable strapless bodice with princess stylines. step one completed!

skirt salvaged from ill-fitting vogue 2961

then i had to disassemble a much-loved but little-used garment, my vogue 2961. it was one of my early garment attempts, and while it was actually pretty f-ing awesome for a girl who had only been sewing a few months, that girl, now with almost 3 years’ experience, cringed every time she put it on and it sagged in all the wrong places. i saved the skirt (mostly out of laziness and fabric stinginess) and constructed my bodice, including a boning underlayer and bra cups (construction details here).

it still needs tweaking, because in order to finish it this week i had to take a few shortcuts that need to be fixed in order for this dress to have the glory it deserves. firstly, because i purposely constructed the bodice with more torso than i should have, i need to tweak the fit near the waist. you may be able to see in the photo that there is a lot of blousing where the bodice meets the skirt, and that is because i need to shorten the torso of the bodice so that it matches the width of the skirt more accurately. i did it this way because otherwise, i was afraid the waist would be too short. according to my moulage, i am absurdly short-waisted, but i’m still in denial about this, so i figured i’d rather have more torso than not enough.

also, because i can only go to the buttonholer on saturdays, i closed this (temporarily) with a CF zip, which is throwing off the perfect fit under my arms and just at my bust. the bodice was drafted to accommodate the overlap of a button placket, not a zip.

all in all, i’m quite thrilled with the final result, because now i have a wonderful strapless sloper to work with! i already have two more tops rarin’ to go and plans to fix a long-stranded UFO that i accidentally fit too small. (two inches at the CB! how does that even happen?!)

i call this dress the “field of poppies” dress because the fabric reminds me of a spring day in israel two years ago during the passover/easter celebrations.  from what i was told, there is a very brief period in the spring where the temperature is moderate enough for the flower fields to just explode with color.  we happened to be there on one of those days and spent a rapturous hour running through a field…next to a gas station.  random, right?



Devra is a New York-based photographer and sewer who tries to find time to do her day job in between bouts of crazed sewing.


Comments are closed.

  1. Very sweet! I admire that you are successfully drafting your own patterns. Job well done!

  2. Wow, way to persevere for the perfect fit.

  3. I am stingy with good fabric too. I admire your confidence in drafting and fixing to get it right. And boning and bra cups, impressive. You are unstopable. Good work.

  4. Very pretty. Great job.

  5. Congrats on tackling such a challenge! Great job putting it together.

  6. Nice! My early garments also make me cringe. I love how you salvaged a skirt, met the 40s part of the challenge, AND made a sloper– how efficient!

  7. It’s lovely! Bravo on making a strapless sloper, you rock star you!