Marian Martin 9014

I have been on a sewing tear this month but haven’t been able to get my act together to post anything until today. Maybe because I made a dress from a new pattern and I’m really happy with how it turned out, so I figured it was worth the effort.

I’ve also been on a bit of a mail order pattern bender. It seems like so many of them not only came in the short woman’s beloved half sizes, but were made in silhouettes that were not only flattering on the average woman, but featured things like pockets and practical bodices.

I was really intrigued by the horizontal pleats and tucks on the bodice of this one. I’m sure there is a really striking way I can highlight this with the right fabric pattern, but I haven’t figured it out yet. Besides, for a first go at this pattern (as a “wearable muslin”) I wasn’t going to sweat the details too much. I learned a few things from this first go around that I will fix in the next one I make. For one, it called for gathers instead of pleats and I’ve learned through enough unfortunate dress selections that gathers on my frame don’t do me any favors. I need all the structure I can get in a dress, so I use darts or pleats on everything. But my placement of the pleats on this one was a bit off. So, next time.

I used some fabric that I’ve been eying all summer long, but have been unsure if it was too busy and “noisy” with the green and navy being too close in brightness. I’m still a little undecided on that, but I think this dress overall is a success. I’m glad I put the extra effort in and made the sleeve cuffs as I think they really add a little something. I haven’t quite figured out how to get them to stay upright and jaunty, but these will do for now.

One of the little things I liked so much about this pattern was all the quaint little remnants of the original owner that it came with. The original name and address on the envelope (which, by the way, how comical is that they they post her dress size on the front with her address?), handwriting on the pattern pieces and even the original newspaper clipping from when she saw it in the paper and ordered it. One of the challenges of this one though is that it was an unmarked pattern. I’ve made something from an unmarked pattern once before and I gotta say, it was more challenging than I thought it would be. It turned out fine in the end, but I never really realized how much I rely on those simple marking for darts or cutting lines. There’s even just something comforting about the written instructions on the pieces, looking up at me with encouragement. Cut here! It will be ok! You’re doing fine! Yes, I anthropomorphize everything.

I’ve also been learning to make my dresses actually fit me and my real waist measurements — finally breaking myself of the habit of making all my dresses as fashionable potato sacks two sizes too big. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potato sack for wearing around the house on the weekends, but some days it’s nice to not look like a circus tent in sandals.

Oh, I almost forgot, this pattern was sadly missing the pocket pieces, so I had to improvise. I was going to try to recreate the cute asymmetrical pockets from the pattern but opted for a simple square pocket for my first go at this one. Next time around, I’ll try drafting some pockets like the original.

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