Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dress Cutting by the Block Pattern System by Margaret C. Ralston (1932): Review, part 3

After shortening Ralston’s Dress 2 into a tunic, I looked at the pleat on each shoulder and thought that this might go nicely with a cowl neck.

This time I used the draft for Dress 1 (a coat-dress), and cut it to tunic length. As with the previous project (Dress 2) there is a pleat on each shoulder. To draft the cowl neck I used instructions from a more recent book, Dorothy Moore’s Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking, first published in 1969.

To make it up I used some stretch cotton I had in my stash, so there was no need to worry about fastenings. I finished the armholes and neck with a loosely stitched hand-rolled hem. After that I’d had enough of hand-sewing and finished the bottom hem by machine with a twin needle. I liked the end result so much that I made a second and wore them near constantly over the summer. Here it is in green, worn by my capable assistant, Brian:


Brian is slimmer than me in the hip department so I have padded him with the old towels visible at the bottom of the photo. The towels have improved his dimensions but made him a little lumpy. I recently bought some batting from an op shop that I hope will give him smoother curves.

Ralston’s Dress Cutting  has some nice ideas from the late 1920s that could be used again and I will go back to this book. The drafting instructions are very clear.  I don’t recommend Dress 2 because the loose fitting bodice from this era doesn’t work well in a dress with a separately cut bodice and a fitted waist. At least that’s the story I’m telling about what went wrong with my version of Dress 2!

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