Saturday, May 14, 2011

From 1940s mockup to shirtdress reality!

The mockup is complete and I am progressing nicely on my final 1940s shirtdress for a play I'm in. However, before cutting into the fabric I began panicking about the striped design of the fabric. In my limited sewing experience I confess I have never worked with stripes and didn't know if it would ruin the stodgy, sophisticated design I was attempting for my character.  It turns out stripes are manna from heaven! I loved having lines to follow, and through the cutting process I ended up discovering how many errors the original vintage pattern contained. 
Remember this mess from the mockup?  Stupid perforations!!!

 The perforations for the pleats were off by as much as and inch and a half by the time I got to the hem. So, I just corrected a few things and voila:

I still need to hem the dress, finish the buttons and button holes and add snaps on the wrists of the sleeves. Also, I can't seem to find a belt buckle that isn't this God-awful leprechaun gold. So distracting, and I'm pretty sure not a wise thing to have on stage. Blinding the audience is usually a no-no.

Also, I am still debating about adding the period-appropriate bound buttonholes. I was inspired a few months ago when I saw a production of Light in the Piazza. They had the most beautiful dresses on display in the lobby including one that was very similar in design to my pattern. (See below!)

I couldn't resist getting up close and personal with those buttonholes. Exquisite! I am pretty sure I will regret not doing them, but it may just come down to a time issue as there is slightly more memorization involved in a two-person show.

Now about that hat...


  1. regarding the belt buckle: there is an old stage trick of spraying shiny objects with aerosol hair spray to dull them down. Cuts the reflection from the stage lights. Give that a try on the belt.

  2. Oh that is too cool... will do!

  3. It looks lovely! Funny, I have a grey shirtwaist on my list. :D