This 1940s Marian Martin dress has been gestating for a long time – at least 9 months since I acquired the pattern.
The pattern is for a size 31″ bust, and I have to say that it’s been a goodly while since I was that size. So, I decided to have a go at grading, which everyone says is easy. Hah! They lie!
After a very misshapen muslin, I enrolled myself in a previously mentioned pattern making class at Workspace FADS and began by creating a bodice block. Then we started on this pattern. It was quite interesting in that Sarah, from Workspace FADS, showed me that the pattern wouldn’t have worked terribly well even if had fitted me. The marks were misaligned, seams were the wrong length and darts were at strange angles (and note that on the pattern it states “sure to fit – each pattern has been tested for accuracy). We redrafted the entire pattern and after a couple of attempts I have a dress, which is pretty true to the original design.
The original pattern has a sash belt, which is very sweet, but I just couldn’t face making it, so used a leather belt I made from scraps a while back. The thing that really strikes me about many vintage patterns, and especially this one, is how contemporary they are when made up in modern fabrics. This pattern could easily be mistaken for a modern pattern, and this suits me just fine.
I used some striped cotton sheeting from Spotlight, and the strobing nearly caused me to lose my mind, but I wanted the variation in direction of the pattern pieces to be visible.
I’m not sure I’ve got the pattern absolutely perfect yet. The bust dart (there’s only one) seems high, as does the waist, but these are minor tweaks. I also left the dress a little longer than I would normally wear as I wanted to give a nod to the era, but couldn’t countenance calf length. I did use bias binding on the neckline, which caused me all sorts of issues because I wanted a chevron effect at the front, which is impossible with bias. Next time I will roll the binding to the inside and have a clean neckline.
Overall though, I’m really happy with the way this dress turned out, and even happier that I got to wear it once before the warm weather finally disappears, which it is forecast to do this afternoon. I am going to make a winter version of this dress with long sleeves, but need to source some appropriate fabric from my stash.
In a nutshell: Marian Martin 1940s dress made from striped cotton sheeting from Spotlight. Belt is two scraps of leather sewn together and the shoes are by Jeffery Campbell, from Zomp and I’m wearing them because they have a vague (very vague!) 1940s feel.