Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Very First Hollywood Pattern, Part 1

I am always coming across fantastic Hollywood Patterns online, and I finally got around to making my very own.  

Well, technically it is my second, as this Vintage Pattern Lending Library dress was originally a Hollywood Pattern.  But since I  was not dealing with the original pattern tissue, it doesn’t count.

This project will forever hold a special place in my heart.  Both the pattern AND the fabric came from last month’s Sew Weekly pattern swap!  In fact, both items are from Mena herself. 

So, instead of working on my taxes this weekend, I spent that time playing with fabric.  Priorities, people, priorities!

I love that someone left their notes on creating the three-quarter sleeve version of the dress in with the pattern.  So often I feel like writing on my patterns is somehow going to ruin or devalue them, but since I love finding notes on vintage patterns, I have started writing bits of information as I work on my projects.  I like to think that the person that uses them next will enjoy the extra personal touch.

The fabric is only 35” wide, so it must be rather old.  I like to think that the pattern and the fabric are from the 1940s, but I have no way to confirm that.

And guess what I have from my birthday thrifting expedition?  That’s right – two perfect pink buttons.  It is so rare to find a pattern that requires only two, and they are a fabulous match, as well! 

The waist stay guide and belt pattern pieces are missing.  Talk about good luck!  With vintage patterns, it is usually the most important piece that goes missing.  If you purchased the pattern for that fabulous scalloped bodice, that is what is bound to be missing.  But a belt (which I did not have enough fabric for, anyway) and a waist stay are so easy to duplicate, this feels like a complete pattern.

There were, however, a few snags along the way.

As is obvious from the pattern envelope, the skirt pieces are cut on the bias.  However, the pockets are cut on the straight of grain.  

It felt strange to me, but I figured the pattern drafters must have known something that I do not, so I went ahead as directed.  Well, it may have something to do with my cotton, but those pockets are a huge mess.  They stick out at odd angles (no surprise, really, when the bias skirt pieces are fighting against squared off pieces) and not in a good way.  It just looked awful.  Why, why, why?  I went to the extra trouble of sewing the darn things in, and they let me down.  Well, I was not feeling up to ripping all that work apart, so I just closed the pockets with some hand stitches.  Take that, you poorly drafted rectangles!

The moral of the story: trust your intuition.  Perhaps a rayon with a lot of drape would work differently, but I have a feeling those darn pockets would still stick out.

The pattern gives a couple of options, but I decided to go with my favorite bound buttonholes.

And, a momentous occasion transpired while finishing this dress.  I have run through my first complete spool of Hug Snug.  

That’s right – I used all but 16” of a 100 yard spool.  Pretty exciting if you are a seam binding nut like myself.  Or perhaps it is a sign that I need to take it back a notch on my obsessive finishing. 

Raw edge alert – bring out the binding!!


  1. OH, it's going to be adorable! I wish I could see your closet full of vintage dresses you've sewn, as I'm sure you've made more than all the rest of us put together!

    Happy sewing,


  2. oh! YAY! I love Hollywood patterns (I've only made one too!!) And what a great surprise to find that drawing inside! I can't wait to see the dress!!!