1960s Wedding Dress Recreation: pt 1 Drafting the Pattern

Look at us, ain't we cute!


This picture is over....13years old, I'd guess. That's me and all my round face adorableness, and that gal with the blue arrow is Kristen. We started out as sales associates in the Apple store so many, many years ago, and like so much of my Apple family, we've kept in touch.

She even came to visit with her two sons one day as the fam was making a cross California vacation. Ah, good times.




Imagine my surprise when she dropped me a line saying, "Hey, for my 10th wedding anniversary, we are renewing our vows and I want to have my mother's wedding dress remade. You in?"

"Hells yea, I'm in!" I said.


Kristen sent me a photo of her mother in the dress, a simple-ish 1960s off the rack number. As you can tell from it's yellow state, it didn't age too well, and that's because this dress is most likely a very early polyester. Plastic fabric isn't know for its preservation qualities.



I took the dress and examined it. There was a build in petticoat that was about crunched flat at this point, panels for the side pleats that were on the bias. I figured those would be the most challenging to take for the pattern. I was also careful to match the pointed seams that connected the back an d front of the bodice.


The lace was a  different story. The sleeves are sheer, with the bodice being backed on the same fabric as the skirt. The good news is the skirt is a simple gathered skirt with two kick pleats at the front and a simply decorative gusset of lace, the bad news was the sleeves were backed with netting. Ugh, that was gonna be a challenge for me and my skill-set because I don't have the grandest experience working with netting. But if there is one thing I know, my life is full of challenges!


I laid out the dress and looking at the way it fell on Kristen's mom, I did a skype call with Kristen and collected needed measurements. From there, I did a simple tape transfer of the pieces to get as much information from the original dress as I could with as little thinking as I could. Little thinking is key to keeping your sanity on a project like this.



Once the pieces were collected and labeled, I transferred the information to paper and adjusted the size for Kirsten's figure. THEN, I was able to make the pattern.


Now I could do my first mock up. As with al skirts in the mock up phase, I do a half skirt to save on fabric. The bodice required a few more tweaks because of folds and adjustments to the new size. ALSO, on the mock up, I didn't add the inset panes for the pleated girdle on the bodice because extra work for a mock up, so I stitched the pleats closed just so they wouldn't gape when worn.


But the largest fix came at the back, as you can see, where I had to add extra fabric on the back pleat, which I did to the pattern easily, but just put a piece for the mock-up because taking an hour to add that was just silly for me when I was so close to a good fit for the mock-up to start.


Now, if my re-work had been super off, I would have remade the temp dress, but with notes and immediately adjusting my pattern so I wouldn't forget, I didn't need to go to that extreme.


I sent Kristen this mock up and it fit great, though she stabled herself into it in the back (hehehe) another Skype call and I was told she'd like a bit more room in the underarm, no prob, and I lowered the front neckline a couple inches, and adjusted the angle of the shoulder seam. All simple mods, yes!

Part one of this lovely number complete.
Now onto fabric and working with the most expensive fabric I've ever had the honor to work with!


1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see the finished result! I'm sure it will be beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

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