Simplicity has released their latest collection, making me question my choice to squeeze in one more wool project before the weather really turns - is it summer already?
And it would seem that the shelf bust is incredibly popular this year (Butterick has two “modern” versions produced for their Patterns by Gertie line if this one does not thrill you). I went looking for the original, and this is what I found:
Interestingly enough, the original design includes sleeves. I cannot understand why they would not have reproduced that detail.
Well, the back treatment is my answer. The straps are the problem. The original Simplicity 4704 is full coverage through the armholes and back. And wait a minute . . . the strap treatment on the front of the bodice is different, too.
Perhaps Simplicity has morphed two different patterns? But the original 4704 artwork is included on the new reproduction, right down to the checkered print (it looks like they just photo-shopped the sleeves out).
But wait . . . the original design looks a whole lot more like Simplicity 1848. So why is Simplicity 4704 included on the new cover art? What is going on here . . . and where has my cute bolero pattern disappeared to? Also, they have changed the skirt. Why? Perhaps the full length version used too much pattern tissue for one design, but why add gores to the short version when neither of the vintage versions do? What exactly were they trying to reproduce?
So it would seem the answer to the age old vintage reproduction question, “do they alter the design?” is a resounding "YES." I am not sure I like this answer.
There has also been some controversy about the seam placement falling above or below the actual bustline on this style. The contention is that if that seam does not sit below the bust it looks like a fitting mistake. Well, I think the answer is less clear than that, and has to do more with the proportions of the actual person wearing the dress, and, of course, the dress itself.
If you look at vintage versions of the shelf bust style, the bust area starts to look very large and matronly if the lady wearing it has significant assets, especially when the pleated/ruffled area is full coverage. If you wish to minimize the bust, drawing a design line right through the bust and using a contrasting color can really help to accomplish this.
I think the more successful of these designs incorporate some kind of draping or folds to disguise that bisected line that cuts across the bust. This is missing from all of these reproduction designs (both by Simplicity and Butterick) and is, perhaps, what does not quite work on the larger model in Simplicity 1155, whose under bust measurement is significantly smaller than her full bust.
If, on the other hand, you often use a small bust adjustment, exaggerating this area might be something you want to do. Wrapping that portion of you figure with a bias band of fabric will certainly accomplish this. In this case, the seamline is placed right at the underbust, making a smooth lower bodice panel easy to fit without smooshing anything.
The danger, I believe, lies in either extreme. Personally, I do not want to look flat chested in a 1950s design (a dress from the 20s is a whole other story), but I also do not want to look the prow of a ship with a bust that enters a room two minutes before the rest of me.
What do you think of these designs? Where should that seamline sit? Thoughts? Comments? Would you make any alterations if you were drafting the pattern style lines for yourself?
But enough of the self busts! What I would really like to see is a petal bust design, please!
And by the way, there is a second vintage reproduction. This playsuit set is adorable - very Roman Holiday. The bra top design is somewhat similar to Simplicity 1426, but the whole look is wonderful. Some may be disappointed that a pair of shorts is not included, but I really, really like this. It is not groundbreaking, and not terribly complex, but the armhole cut on that shirt, the wide shaped waistband, and the pleats on the skirt just makes me happy.
There is even a jumpsuit design that I am strangely drawn to . . . if only my legs were six inches longer, I think I could pull that off . . .
But for now, I think it is time to spend some time with one of my unfinished knitting projects and a cup of tea. Here is to a productive weekend!
[Click on image for source]