I presented my pink two-tone 1967 shift dress, and explained it was unwearable due to my following the instructions and underlining it with silk organza. As Lynn Malley noted, it felt like a hair shirt. Well not quite that bad, but really not nice.
I had lots of feedback and suggestions – many thanks. Lots of urging to just bite the bullet and line it, even if some deconstruction (or careful handstiching) was required. Other, knowing commentators, said it would be quicker and easier to start again and avoid making the same mistake.
My solution, today, was actually to wear a good quality slip (petticoat) that meant little of the surface actually was in touch with my skin. I also wore the dress with the yellow jacket. A bit bright maybe, but why not? It is summer, but a bit cool.
I may make a lining “in due course”. I agree with a number of you that it is often easier to do the garment again rather than fix it once it is finished.
However a number readers made other suggestions for improvement:
- Wash fabric first
- Add a couple of waist darts back and front
- A “smidgen” shorter – say one inch
- Scoop the neck
I mentioned that I actually liked the shift dress as it is so comfortable. It is also an iconic, 1960s, shape. I have written an ode to the shift here. Once it is darted it looses its unique qualities, and it becomes a sheath dress. I explain the difference between a shift and a sheath dress here.
So if I dart it, it becomes something else. It may be nicer, but it will not be the dress as designed. I am inclined to say I like it undarted as this is true to its heritage. You may remember in my consideration of this pattern (actually both the dress and the jacket) I mentioned that they were the perfect shape for a woman with a relatively straight figure.
The truth is when I planned to make it I saw it had a chain belt. I bought a chain belt in the Shelter charity shop. But I didn’t like the draped look. No I wanted a proper waist belt. That means that I really want shape at the middle (I invariably wear a belt). So maybe I should just take the aspects I like from the dress – kimono sleeve and yoke, knee length, and put the blooming darts in.
This is the decade of crowdsourcing and the wisdom of the larger group. You gave me style advice.
So, impressionable/always open to suggestion, I thought I would make it again (allowing me to fix the underlining/lining problem) and also to introduce darts. In terms of the length the pink dress is faithful original pattern, more or less – I took off just about 1cm.
I thought I would go with a different colour way (who wants two almost identical dresses?), but this time I would use some lighter weight linen. I wasn’t sure whether to underline or not, and in the end decided against, just lining the dress. I was wearing the pink one at the time, with the added slip, and I felt rather warm in it. The lining does give a little bit of body, even though I used a lightweight habotai silk. I also washed the linen, as suggested. But I didn’t scoop the neck as I thought it was fine as it was.
Here is the fabric and lining cut out. I didn’t have enough turquoise silk for the whole dress lining, so I will have a two-tone lining too. I will update you in a few days.