Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Static Wriggle Dress

The senior detective lent back on his chair, and fixed Jorth with a baleful glare. "So, young lady" he said. "You've come in here declaring yourself to be the perfect candidate for the undercover surveillance position at the Vogue Patterns Archival Museum*. There's a cabal entrenched in there that are making sure valuable vintage patterns are never allowed to see the light of day, and we're determined to smash the ring preventing the sewing public from accessing and using them."

The detective paused the fill his pipe up with tobacco. Jorth sat impassively, watching him go through his particular brand of pipe-lighting ceremony, and used the time to ponder the job being discussed. It was horrid to think of all those gorgeous vintage patterns that were not being allowed to see the light of day. In a world that was overrun with slovenly dressers who thought that a g-string hanging out of saggy stained tracky daks paired with a too-tight t-shirt that was embellished with glittery lettered statements such as "Wannabe P0rn Star", classy design-driven vintage patterns were more important than ever! Jorth was determined to play a part in their rescue.

Finally, encased in a haze of blue smoke the detective started up again. With a hard look at Jorth he said "Listen up: not only will you need sewing experience and vintage pattern knowledge, but you'll also have to look the part and never let them suspect that you are working for the Vintage Pattern Wiki Freedom Squad**. How do we know that you can keep your cool?"

Jorth threw him a confident smile and said "Why, sir - I'm so darn cool that my dress has it's own built in air-conditioning. When do I start?"

After admiring the back of her dress, the detective grinned then pressed the intercom button on his desk. "Mandy? Organise the employment papers for Miss Jorth here. I think we've found our gal!"


Project Details
Pattern: McCalls 5845 (ugh! Out of Print, it appears)
Fabric: 1.15m Japanese cotton "Kobe Static Grey" from Tessuti Fabrics (sold out now, alas!), plus 1.15m silk/cotton voile for lining.
Notions: 30cm zip, hook and eye

I quite like how this dress is rather demure at the front, but a bit "hey, momma!" at the back. And, yes, it is nice and breezy on the back on a hot day! Not bad for a remnant piece.

The one change I did make was to sew my darts on the inside, instead of out the outside like the instructions requested. Forgive me, McCalls pattern designers, but I just thought that was a completely daft design concept. I felt it would make it look like you didn't KNOW that darts were meant to be on the inside. Plus, how would they sit nicely? Huh? Sorry, but no outside darts for me.

*Totally made it up. But wouldn't it be cool to be let in amongst all those vintage Vogue patterns for a day that I'm sure they have stored away somewhere. Or a week.
**Fighting the good fight on behalf of cloistered vintage patterns everywhere.


  1. Oh, what a really sweet dress.

  2. Best looking dress yet...I will have to keep my eyes open for a similar pattern over here stateside. The back is gorgeous. The dart thing..hmm..why would they do that??


  3. I have made that dress up in a Stretch Sateen and I agree it is a beautiful dress. I did the outside darts and like you was a little apprehensive but they really do add a cute edginess to the dress - I totally recommend you try it. Sorry I have no review as yet and I can't try it on for a pic as I am 30 wks pregnant. But I'll do one when it fits me again!


  4. What a gorgeous dress , I especially love the back.

  5. That's lovely! Can you wear it with a bra or would it be visible at the back?

  6. You're going to be positively freeeeezing with the new aircon at work ;)

    Fab dress!

  7. Thanks for all the love, peeps!

    Mildly Crafty, alas - I can't wear a bra with it, as you would be able to see it. So I just give my lady lumps a stern talking to in the morning and inform them that they have to behave themselves or else!

  8. Tricia10:26 pm

    Beautiful dress! A great choice of pattern to suit you.

  9. I don't believe it. I also have that fabric in my not sure what to do with pile. I was thinking sheath dress, but I didn't buy enough.

  10. I'm past the no-bra option, so I made two straps, tied them in a tidy bow, and then attached to cover my bra- stitched on one side, snaps on the other. It's a cute fix.

  11. now that is one snazzy dress. hey, momma!

    ps how do you sew these things up so fast? do you stitch in your sleep?

  12. Images of Bogart and Bacall - great story and fabulous dress. Yes, bring cardi to work!

  13. Lovely! The back is fabulous.

  14. Adorable dress, adorable you! And a perfect marriage of fabric and pattern.

    I'm surprised at how much back is exposed. From the technical drawing it looks like like only a narrow bit of skin would show.

    I like how this print keeps the dress flirty and yet wholesome. Not really vampy.

    Calvin Klein has done some fabulous dresses with darts folded to the outside. I've also seen that detail on 1950s dresses and skirts. Perhaps you'll reconsider.

  15. What a funny post!! I totally agree with you and further more would love to see them "liberate" some of the patterns languishing in the Vionnet archives in particular but I guess that is a dream too far??I love your dress and you have managed to marry pattern, fabric and those shoes so well . The sillouette is great on you . Well done !!!

  16. Another stunner! I agree with you about the darts too.

  17. What well behaved lady lumps you must have! (I've never heard that term before! I'll have to try to use it in conversation!)

  18. Hi Leisl!
    Not sure if you got my email, but I have joined the world of blogging! I couldn't remember the name of your blog but found you on tessuti site. Your dresses are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for introducing me to Ottobre magazine - I have a subscription for this year and have used it heaps - love it. I love the red wool jacket you made your little girl - think I might have to back order that pattern! Let me know what you think of my blog - its sewpony.blogspot.com Not much on there yet as I've only been on for a week but so far it's lots of fun. Hope you are well:) - Suz (Hingston)

  19. Oh dear...I had better be watching you don't break into my hall cupboards then....I've lost count on how many Vintage Vogue patterns I have stashed away over 20 or so years of hoarding....

  20. Gorgeous job! Funny, when I made this pattern, I didn't even notice the instructions for the darts were reverse. Glad I didn't. I agree with you - it would look like a mistake not a design element.

  21. Based almost purely on this post, I went and bought that pattern.

  22. I don't know if you already know but you are in the burdastyle best of February. Love this dress, beautifully made. You got my vote.

  23. This dress is beyond gorgeous! Beyond!


Leave a comment! Make my day!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.