The Claire McCardell dress… take one

You may be aware I have been working on a Claire McCardell dress… that is to say I am sewing it from a vintage pattern of one of McCardell’s designs, using some retro fabric I picked up here in Canberra (from the 1960s).

Last night I spent my free time (aka when husband and toddler were sleeping) hemming the dress… I actually made a few of my on alterations to the dress including reducing the volume of the skirt which was otherwise typically very 50s and very full… all the same it felt like I was hemming and pressing forever! This innovation was a little bit experimental, I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t going to negatively compromise the overall design but given the fabric was vintage and I was short about a yard, this didn’t seem like a major issue. Given my shorter height I also reduced the length.

I am calling this post “Take one” as the process of photographing the dress (thank you darling husband) revealed a few things that weren’t obvious to me on the mannequin, that I want to correct. Particularly a bit of bulk on one side of the neckline where there was some tricky pleating. Additionally, I want to reduce the length of the bodice by about half an inch or so (you can see why in the last photo below). I also have a few remaining threads to remove (form where the seams were thread traced) but otherwise… I love it! Its extremely comfortable to wear and has a “dressed up for the weekend/brunch/coffee at the market” feel.

Without further ado…

A common theme in McCardells dresses, the high, tightly wrapped, surplice bodice

The back of the dress

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