Saturday, August 24, 2013

Blue Gingham 1930's Bias Dress from Vera Venus

Well, the dress is done. I finished it yesterday and though I am still not perfectly satisfied with how it fits, it's wearable. And now I know what adjustments I will need to make for the next one - thank you all for your great suggestions and advice!

Anyway, I have wanted to make this dress all summer. I came across the fabulous free pattern for a 1930's bias dress on Vera Venus's website a few months ago. I desperately wanted to make it so immediately printed out the pattern.

I have also been trying to loose weight this summer. I have never really lost all the weight I gained with 4 pregnancies. I never gained a huge amount, but still, it adds up. At my heaviest a few years ago I was in the 160's. . .and I was so unhappy with my appearance as well as my lack of energy. I was so depressed. With exercising and eating better I got down to about 150. . .and stayed there for a long time. Then there was another renewal of effort and I was down to the low 140's. . .then I got pregnant with Anne. I did not gain much with her and most of it came off immediately after she was born, but still, I was stuck in the mid 140's. This summer I was determined to get into the 130's and so this dress was my incentive! I told myself I could make it once I was on that last stretch to the pre-baby 120's.

This dress was probably not the best way to reward myself for reaching that weight loss goal. It is clingy and the shape you have is the shape the dress has. It doesn't hide a thing! Especially the remnants of the baby pooch. I hate the baby pooch. But I think that since I made this dress with less ease than it really needs, it will look a lot better once I do loose these last 10 pounds or so and once the baby is weaned.

Anyway, I was thrilled to finally be able to make this dress last week!

The pattern from Vera Venus went together really well. It only comes in one size but it was close enough as it was to fit really well from the pattern. I only had to make a few adjustments. I shortened the bodice a bit by raising the shoulders. I made a full bust adjustment and then added a bit of width to the hips. That's it! I was really surprised and pleased I didn't have to do more to it. Although now, I think adding a bit more width to the torso would not have been amiss. But this is one of the first bias garments I've ever sewn and the fitting of bias things is still very new to me.

I made it up in a lightweight blue and white gingham my friend Jackie gave to me. It is semi sheer so underneath I have to wear a full slip.

All the seams are finished, either by french seams or with zig zag and topstitching. The armhole seams are hemmed beneath the arm and then faux french seamed by hand along the seam between the sleeve and armscye.

I bound the neckline instead of facing it - I don't like bothering with facings. I also made no openings so the dress slips on over the head. It is easier than fussing with a zipper or a snap placket in the side seam.

The sleeve hems and skirt hem were stitched by hand.

The changes I will make for next time:

Lengthen the bodice by about 1.5", tapering to the side seam.

Add a bit more length to the skirt to make it mid-calf length.

Add a bit more width to the torso/hips (though hopefully that won't be an issue once I meet my next weight goal!)

Try a different sleeve style. I love these little fluted sleeves for summertime but I can see this dress with long sleeves or elbow length sleeves for cooler weather. Such a versatile, easy wearing style! It lends itself to a variety of occasions, depending on the fabric used.

Though I am most comfortable wearing this dress with no accessories, I did put on some shoes and a new (thrifted) hat and the pearl necklace and earrings David gave me for Christmas a few years ago. And red lipstick!

I think I prefer plain, though, with my fiddle. I felt very O Brother Where Art Thou-sy.



  1. The last picture is my favorite!

  2. Totally agree with Jackie... I love the last pic! :) so '40's! I've watched tons of '40's so I'm not guessing here! lol Nice job. I like it a lot :D

  3. SOoo pretty! I very happy the pattern worked out so well for you and I love it in the gingham. Gorgeous photos too, I hope you wont mind if I link back to a couple of them?

  4. Thanks!

    Wow, VeraVenus, I totally did not expect to get a comment from you! But thanks! And yes, it is totally fine to link back to the pics if you like. Thanks for a fantastic pattern! Can't wait to make some nightgowns, too.

  5. Such a lovely dress. I downloaded this pattern last week in the hopes of getting it made as part of my autumn winter wardrobe, but I need to make a few adjustments to the pattern first.Good to see someone elses take on it. x

  6. I love it with the red lipstick. (But that's just my taste.) :)

  7. Beautiful!!! I want to sew this dress but I have two questions: What is the seam allowance and is the SA added to the pattern? Thank you!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!