27.3.15

the dreaded walk-away dress

i know everyone else discovered and made the walk-away dress a few years ago, but i somehow missed that. so when someone mentioned it recently in a discussion of 1950s dress, i instantly thought, "want!" even though most of the discussion was about how it's a terrible, terrible pattern that no one should waste their time on!

somehow, that kind of talk made me want it even more. my dress would be different and better than anyone else's, simply because it's mine. logic, right?

first i did a lot of googling. a lot of people have made this dress. many zillions of people have blogged about or made this dress. many, many, many. it was even featured on the great british sewing bee.

but a lot of the dresses i looked at... well, i could see why they weren't happy. they had used a fabric too heavy, or drapey, or without enough body. they weren't fitted through the waist. their bust darts were pointing the wrong direction. they had made strange choices for alterations, but blamed the original pattern rather than the changes. or, they just didn't have the right figure for the dress. in the 1950s, a tiny waist held in by a girdle and uplifted bosom was the order of the day. this pattern was designed for that figure - it won't work on someone who is more straight up and down, even if it's twiggy.

also, the "revised for modern figures" pattern butterick 4790 made some unfortunate changes, as you can see if you compare it to the original butterick 6015.

you can see the sides are distinctly angled on the original, but are straight and then curve on the new one. this gives the bodice less structure and support. even on the pattern company photo of the new version, you can see it comes down weirdly low under the arms.

the bodice looks loose and bunchy in spots too, and the waist isn't snug and sits too low.

how to "fix" these errors by butterick has been heavily documented on the blogosphere, with helpful tutorials.

here's a linedrawing of the original pattern layout - this is what i will be aiming for!

today, i bought the pattern. now, i'm keeping my eye out for a nice cotton poplin or chintz or even ticking - something springy, but with tons more body than the quilting cotton so many have used. i was kind of astounded to see the pattern itself recommends "lightweight broadcloth." are you kidding? that would be a mess!

and it needs to be inexpensive, because i need 4.5m of fabric. i need to find a day when i can spend some time down around queen street, preferably at king textiles i think. may take a while to find just what i'm looking for, but at least the sewing itself only takes a few hours!

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