Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Day Dress

1949 "Busy Day Pinafore or Dress" #101, Hello Dolly Boutique patterns (c)2008 as sized for the 22" American Model doll 

This pattern is for a day dress with sleeve and trim options.
I have altered this pattern to fit my 22" ball jointed doll by ResinSoul.

Measurements in centimeters  
Diff          Resinsoul Dai  American Model 22"
+2   Height             58    56
-2.5 Bust               22.5  25
 0   Waist              15.5  15.5
-3   Neck circumference  9    12 
-1.2 Hip                24    25.2
-3   Shoulder width      8.5  11.5
-2   Arm length         16.5  18.5

The Basics: The pattern pieces, drafted down by hand from a vintage pattern, have some grainlines marked and seam allowances are included.
The instructions are bullet point style, with some small reproductions of vintage pattern instruction drawings. There are some typos, misspellings, and wrong words in the instructions which might present a few problems for some less fluent English-language readers.
Although dots and notches are extensively referenced in the instructions, no notches and only two dots appear on the pattern. The missing markings are not an insurmountable problem for an experienced seamstress but would be perplexing to a novice. 

I used a small scale gingham cotton/poly seersucker for the sleeveless view, with shoulder and bodice ruffles, and "baby" rick-rack trim.

Ruffles: The instructions state to turn the straight edge of each ruffle piece under 1/8", then to apply rick-rack trim. There are no grainlines marked on these pieces. If the ruffle is cut on the straight of the grain, the turned under edge is prone to fraying. Cutting the ruffle on the bias would solve this problem but could make the turning under difficult. A simpler solution is to extend the straight-cut edge of the ruffle 1/8" to allow a double-turned finish.

The instructions say to sew the side seams before attaching the armhole ruffles. It is much easier to reverse this order and put off the side seam until later.

Facings vs. lining: Facing pieces are provided, again without notches or other useful marks. With the seam allowances from the two ruffles on each side of the bodice, and the seams on the shoulders, facing the armhole and neck edges makes for unnecessary bulk. I would suggest lining the bodice instead. Lining will also provide a neater finished appearance. (The placket instructions do reference a lining, but that is the only mention of a lining. This is possibly a cut-n-paste error by the publisher.)

Pocket: A pocket placement mark is provided on the front skirt piece. It is worth noting that this marking represents the size of the pocket pattern piece before the edges are turned under, rather than the finished pocket.
On my version of this dress, I narrowed the pattern pieces so much that I had to move the pockets to the side, to avoid them meeting at the center front of the skirt.
To make turning the pocket edges under less frustrating, I advise using a cardboard turning template cut to the size of the finished pocket.
There are no grainlines marked on the pocket pattern piece. I assumed that the pocket should be cut on the same grain as the front skirt piece. I chose to cut my pockets on the bias grain, to create some extra visual interest. I also chose not to use the pocket stay piece provided, since my bias cutting put the top edge of the pocket nearly on the straight of the grain, and that, along with the rick-rack trim, would prevent any stretching of the top of the pocket.
Although the instructions do not say to do so, I attached the pockets so the top edge curves out a little bit. I think it looks nicer than totally flat pockets.

Fit: It is hard to determine how this pattern would fit an American Model doll, since I made a very altered version for my skinny Resinsoul doll. I did take the waist in considerably, which make me think this dress might be a little large on the doll for which it was drafted, since that doll and mine have the same waist measurement.

This pattern made with ruffles makes an extremely cute dress, with a lot of possibilities for further embellishment.

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