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first pattern I ever drafted, originally uploaded by Meetzorp.

I made the pattern for this dress based on a circa 1946-7 dress from the costume stock of the theater department at Chadron State College. Basically, I copied the proportions of the original by taking careful measurements.

I made this dress in 1997, and still have the pattern. I will be making a few changes (lengthen the waist, size it up, deepen the tuck in the front waist, correct the skirt so that it is not longer in front than back & fits the curve of my butt better, & will be re-using the improved pattern to make a dress that will be a pretty close replica of the original. The original had a killer overlaid, applique yoke that had little flower cutouts. The original dress was red rayon crepe with a black-and-white gingham applique, cuffs, & collar. The copy dress will be red poly crepe w/ red-and-white gingham accents.

I am frankly amazed that I can still even get into this dress. It needs to be about a size bigger (and I recall that it was cut a little close even back then) but re-sizing the pattern will not be a problem.

Looking at what I achieved with this dress, I’m kind of impressed with my 1997 self. At that point in time, I had only been sewing in a meaningful fashion for about a year, so to make a pattern that worked reasonably well and did a pretty faithful job of replicating the silhouette of the dress I wanted to copy is no mean feat. Sure the pattern (and dress) have flaws, but they’re not beyond fixing, and now, 11-and-some years later, I have the knowhow to correct those past drafting mistakes and truly make the dress I wanted back then. I’m pretty confident that the ’09 version is going to be a pretty faithful replica of that circa 1946 dress I so admired in ’97.

I came across that vintage dress in Chadron State College’s stock costume collection when I was a student there. I was pulling potential garments for a one-act that I had the privilege of being the costumer for. CSC does student-produced one-act plays twice a year, and every detail of the play is taken care of by students. There are instructors overseeing, but all details of scheduling, construction, direction, props, costumes, etc. are handled by students. I’d been on costume making crews for three semesters, and when I was offered the chance to dress one of the one-acts, I was just over the moon. Heck yes, I wanted to costume that play!

The red and black-and-white gingham dress I’d pulled had a kind of Dale Evans-y western flair, but a little more subtle, and was in consideration for one of the characters who was meant to be from Texas and have a really flamboyant Western style. Unfortunately, this fabulous dress was both too small for the actor and too old-fashioned for the setting of the play, but I kept it out, and copied off the pattern in my own time, because I liked the shape of the dress and thought the whole effect was incredibly cute.

When I get the ’09 version made, I will definitely be posting some follow-up photos. I think it’s going to be pretty cool.

One Response to “First pattern I ever drafted”

  1. […] January 22, 2009 by meetzorp A couple of weeks ago, I featured a dress made from the first pattern I ever drafted. […]

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