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Topic: Pattern modifications on a vintage (repro) pattern: Butterick 6582  (Read 1648 times)
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« on: March 20, 2013 11:39:37 AM »

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the Crafters' clothing forum. Whoo! I have recently embarked on a vintage clothing sewing adventure, simply because I really love the vintage aesthetic.

I just completed my first vintage reproduction (the infamous walkway dress), and I'm about to embark on my second dress for a Mad Men party.

My THIRD dress (yes, I'm adventurous) is where my problem lies. I have had my eye on this dress for a while now:


I love the cut, which would no doubt flatter my body type (rounder bottom but not much boobage at all), and the color is awesome too BUT it's ridiculously expensive. So I figured I should make it. The pattern I found that might ressemble it is Butterick 6582:


However, to achieve that bombshell look, I would need to modify the bodice and perhaps the shoulder straps. I think it would mean redrawing the bodice entirely and perhaps adding in bra cups for shape and support, but I'm not certain. Anyone have any bright ideas on how exactly to do this?

Second, because this dress is for an argentine tango 50's style photoshoot/class (I teach at and run an Argentine tango school), I need to be able to dance in it. Argentine tango requires the female partner to take rather long steps backwards, and there are quite a few complex lower leg movements which require some freedom. The only adjustment I can imagine that would work for a dress as tight as this one would be to create a loooooong kick pleat or back slit, and raising the hemline to the knee...Does that sound like a good idea for this type of dress? Perhaps making the dress out of a stretchy fabric would also help?

Finally, FABRIC: what would be a good fabric to make this dress look very glamorous and yet true to the 50s aesthetic?  I'd like to take a hint from the fabulous Joan Holloway character in Mad Men:


I know the enveloppe back suggested taffeta, faille (don't even know what that is) or linen, but I would need the fabric to look very striking, since my dance partner for this photo shoot will most likely be wearing a black silk jacket and matching hat. I've seen the dress done in brocade, which is an option though it has no stretch whatsoever. The stretch satins I've seen don't seem to have the body to hold up a dress like this. Perhaps a stretchy organza?

Anyone have bright ideas/suggestions for me?

Thanks in advance!

« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013 09:41:58 AM »

As a dancer myself, the thing I've noticed about using commercial day/evening wear patterns for dance wear is the lack of ease, especially at the shoulder area. This dress is sleeveless, so you won't have to worry about sleeves riding up. But, when you make your sample, be sure to check for free arm movement, you may want to enlarge the armhole.

Shortening a skirt is easier than adding a kick pleat. Another option is a hi-low or asymmetrical hem, longer in back than in front. I think they are calling them "mullet skirts" nowadays.

What is your budget for fabric? The cheap stretch satins from the Halloween costume fabric table are cheaply made. Use them for your mock up. Quality stretch satin costs more but the quality difference is worth it. Check the amazing variety of stretch fabrics at spandexworld.com or spandexhouse.com

I see one difference between the inspiration and the pattern is that the inspiration dress has a horizontal "waist" seam under the bust, separate the bodice from the skirt. The pattern front is cut all in one piece and shaped with vertical darts. If you want to sew a bra into the dress (very easy to do, put the bra on, put the dress on, pin in place with safety pins so the pins stay in place and don't prick), you're better off with one that has a separate bodice and skirt.

When looking at sewing patterns, ignore the pretty photos and color illustrations. Photos and illustrations don't show the construction details. Look at the black and white line drawings on the envelope. These show you where the seams are and the shapes of the different sections.

sewingpatterns.com has several thousand womens dress patterns. Unfortunately, the onsite search engine is terrible. It takes some time to page through all the pattern options, but I think you'll be able to find something a little closer to what you want
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2013 08:39:43 AM »

I have a very similar dress to that PUG dress from Bettie Page (I work there) and tbh, most vintage repro dresses are made of a stretch bengaline and usually do have a long slit, so they allow for a lot of movement! A lot of our slimmer dresses are made of stretch bengaline.
I don't dance in mine, but it does do well in everyday running-to-the-train and climbing stairs movements. The only thing I'd worry about with the stretchiness+dancing is the dress riding up, since it's such a slim fit.
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