Sunday, May 4, 2014

The year was 1953 . . .

I am back in sewing mode and feeling very inspired!  There are a couple of projects I am currently working on, but today all the focus has been on vintage and polka dots.

McCalls 9245 is from 1953 (thank you McCalls for including copyrights on your printed patterns from the 50s!) and I love it!!  And yes, I am clearly obsessed with capelets.  

This vintage pattern has seen better days.  There are quite a few rips and tears, some of which are due to ten or so rusted pins that were used to shorten the skirt pieces; the pattern instructions are disintegrating before my eyes; and the tissue itself feels much more brittle than other McCall patterns from the era.  

I used a gift certificate I received a few years ago to purchase the pattern which was listed for a lot more than I am comfortable spending in real money.  The website stated that the pattern was complete and in good condition, however, it turns out that there are a few facing pieces missing.  

The missing facing pieces are not a huge deal, but I do find it odd that the pins were not removed – it is clear that the seller never opened the envelope to check that all the pieces were accounted for because they would have had to remove the pins to do so. 

While the design seems to be rather rare, the condition is not worthy of the $75 price tag, and definitely should not have been described as in good condition.  I am not going to name the storefront here because I am assuming this is not something they make a habit of doing, and just needed to rant a bit.  I feel lucky that this has only happened to me a handful of times, but it still bothers me.  

If I was not completely in love with the design, I probably would have set the pattern aside.

But I found this perfect polka dot rayon fabric from Britex (unfortunately, it seems to have sold out – which does not surprise me – because there can never be enough high quality dotted fabric in the world!) and I knew it would be perfect for the dress.  I had the fabric in hand when I discovered the issues with the pattern and at that point it was too late - I did not have the heart to give up on this project.

One muslin of the bodice pieces, and it was time to cut into the most amazing rayon I have ever had the pleasure to work with!  Polka dots forever!!

 [The fabric for this project was received in exchange for my contributions as a Britex Guest Blogger.]


  1. I am struck dumb! I cannot believe that you would pay such a lot of money for a pattern anyway, no matter how you loved the design, and to accept it in that condition with no come back seems crazy. Forgive me for that it's none of my business, I just feel that whoever sold it to you will continue not to check their items fully if no one points it out. However the toile looks great and that fabric stunning. I am rather partial to polka dots myself. Please don't be offended by my first words they are not intended for you but rather on your behalf. Can't wait to see the finished dress despite the obstacles.

  2. I feel your pain about expensive patterns that are not in the condition described, or have missing pieces. Grrrr... It's going to be a lovely dress, though, and even with the price of the pattern it will still be a bargain for a made-to-measure creation.

  3. Can I make a request for a post? Could you write about the undergarments you wear under your vintage dresses? I know they wore girdles and such at the time. Are you doing the same? Are you altering the dresses to fit you without, or are you built so they fit? I remember you mentioned that one of the dresses, I think it was the Ceil Chapman one, was drafted without ease, presumably to go over a very stiff girdle or corset. How did you handle that one?
    Thank you, I love your blog.

  4. I am trying very hard not to crawl into the internet and grab your polka dot from you! I have a dress I made out of that very same blue rayon polka dot, and it's starting to dissolve (it's about ten very well loved years old) and I Want More! Spouse who does not sew just agreed; we must have more!

  5. Lovely fabric indeed. And that design... isn't that one of those mid-1950's dresses with a lowered waist seam? I've always been curious what one of those would look like in real life.

  6. Actually, it would be a service to name the seller so that other will know to scrutinize the pattern description and closely quiz the seller before purchasing. This was just not professional conduct.

    You've made it work, so brava to you!

  7. This is sad that you had to pay so much for a pattern that was in such poor condition. I am guilty of not checking all my pieces when I receive them so I am sure that in the future I am in for some surprises:) There was one blouse pattern I received and was so excited to start it pulled out the pieces and there was way to may alterations and pins attached for me to make it worth it to continue. It's so nice when you get factory folded patterns in vintage. What beautiful fabric! I also got some some similar blue and white polka dot fabric that was "supposedly" from the 60s, when I got it, I knew it wasn't but I thought I'd just give it a shot anyways. I washed it and it smelled like motor oil and started to get holes in it. It's the win some you loose some game:)

  8. I have a different take on the $75 pattern: Thank you for taking the risk and making the best of it. We all have learned so much from your efforts--far beyond anything I could do, that's for sure. Of course the pattern should have been in better condition! You went out of your way to try this and we are the beneficiaries. You go girl!