The “Suzy” Dress
Fabric: 2.5 yards yellow cotton from Mood, white pique from Fabric.com
Pattern: Butterick 5913
Notions: invisible zip, bias tape (used for the neck facing)
First worn: to Coney Island 8/5
Wear again: yes
Time to complete: at least 8 hours
Total cost: about $35
About a month ago (when my parents were here to babysit!), I fell in love with this dress worn by Suzy throughout most of Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest film. Too young, too short, I thought. Impossible. Then in the Reality Check challenge I had cause to reflect that I might need a little more fantasy in my wardrobe. And I just happened to have this pattern, which was part of the mighty box of goodness I received from the Commercial Pattern Archive when they were selling off duplicates cheap ($35) and random (by the box).
I meant to make the long sleeves with white cuffs and keep the pockets all yellow, more like Suzy’s dress, but late into the night of sewing I went with the easier-to-execute short sleeves and contrast pocket flaps. I totally underestimated the time it would take me to grade up the pattern and get it fitting properly. This is the first time I’ve graded a single-size pattern that doesn’t correspond to any of my measurements, and I made a few missteps along the way. One change I made was to rotate the bust darts a bit downward so they don’t poke out right over my nipples (sorry! so indelicate!). The darts look a little low now; I think instead of rotating them I should have just shortened them. I really have no idea what the proper bust dart angle/level should be.
I like the result enough that I plan to use the pattern again. I’d still like to try those long sleeves. The 60s aren’t my favorite vintage fashion era, but I find this kind of mod shape extremely flattering to my figure, which is (starting from the top) flat, straight, and pearish.
The short sleeves turned out to be a blessing for the pictures at Coney Island. Holy crap was it humid! I couldn’t bear to put on the knee socks I actually set foot in an American Apparel to buy. You can’t see them in these stills, but throughout the film Suzy wears white knee socks and saddle shoes.
Both fabrics have some nice textural depth. I’m pretty sure I used the wrong side of the yellow fabric; it has a warmer color and a more interesting pattern. Unfortunately it creases easily, as you can see in the feature photo. Oh well, Suzy’s dress looks wrinkled too.
I’m not the only sewist who hasn’t been able to resist Suzy’s dress. I found the above image of Suzy in the dress in yellow (I think from a brief scene at the end of the film) on Camelia Crinoline’s blog. See her finished dress here and her inspiration post here.