No bows allowed

Rather than fix my two fail projects, currently mocking me on hangers in the bedroom, I decided I needed a pick-me-up to restore my faith in my own sewing abilities, so I went for a new pattern Mail Order 4936. The bow-dress pattern arrived late last week so it seemed like as good a time as any to make a dress out of it and see how it looks. I used this blue woven plaid cotton I’ve had for a few months that is one of my “winter weight fabrics” I’ve been trying to make use of.

Seymour came out to help with with cutting.

I decided off the bat that I didn’t want to include the bow on this one. It seemed like an iffy element to begin with but on the busy woven plaid I definitely didn’t want to risk it. However, once I got to construction of the neckline I realized the yoke front wasn’t nearly long enough when it didn’t have the bow covering the ends.

So I did a little redrafting and lengthened the end a little arbitrarily. Once I laid it on the bodice I realized it didn’t quite match up the way the other one had, so I messed around with it until it felt like it laid right. It was a little tricky as the ends went in a different direction that they had before. It looked a little odd on it’s own, but I guessed that when the buttons and tab were on it would look better.

Buoyed by Tasha’s post on properly setting in sleeves, decided I’d brave it and give the method a try. I don’t know where I learned or came up with the hacked method I have been using to attach sleeves, but it does work well enough. Though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt a bit guilty every time I trimmed off an inch or two of ease and ignored the instructions.

I don’t know what kind of sewing gnomes were at work that day, but the sleeve went in like a charm! Who knew? They have a blousier look than my hacked sleeves do, which seems like a great option for the 40s & 50s dresses. I think some of the shirtwaist 60s dresses still will look better with less ease.

I sewed over most of the needles, but it didn’t cause any problems. My granny said she sewed over needles most of the time, but then she would also forget and leave a secret needle hiding in a finished garment. My mom once called it her signature. You always put her garments on carefully the first time cause you were bound to find a pin in your armpit.

With that kind of pin-minding heritage, I sew with colored ball-head pins. Harder to forget theses. And easier to find them on the floor, which seems to be my signature, according to my husband who finds them and accuses me of homicidal sewing tendencies.

With the sleeve in, I put the 4-gored skirt together and added some bias cut pockets (of course). If a dress of mine can have pockets, you can bet I’ll add ’em.

The finished dress was unexpectedly gigantic on me. Thankfully I hadn’t preshrunk the fabric, so a hot wash and dry on high later… I’ve got a perfect fitting dress. Sometimes bucking convention and ignoring what you’re told to do works in your favor.

So far I’m a big fan of Mail Order 4936. It’s comfortable and warmer than most of my thinner cotton dresses. And it already had a bit of a worn-in look about it. Which I guess is good? Consensus: My impulse buy was a success. I wore it to work today, and since my husband had the day off work and slept in, all you get is an awkward self-portrait of it on me.

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