More 1930s top

So, I’ve been making progress, although not as fast as I would like.

Last time, I posted pictures of the godawful top I made from my pattern. The wonderful members of the Historical Sew Fortnightly gave me advice on how to improve the fit:

  • Add a gusset under the arms for more movement
  • Move the shoulders forward
  • Add a bit more fabric to the back

And then I was totally unenthused about doing any of it

Somehow I had gotten the idea in my head of a dress with a sleeveless top with a v neck, and a cowl in back, and couldn’t get the idea out. This is definitely a period look.

1930s V-necks:


See left and right dresses

1930s cowl backs and other similarly draped backs:

Evening dress by Vionnet. Met museum. Accession Number: 1982.422.8

Jackpot, v-neck with a cowl back!

And today in opposite land, a dress with a cowl front and a V-back.

I looove this color.

I wasn’t sure how to go from my pattern to what I had in my head, so I totally started over.

(Here begineth the part with zero pictures. Sorry, it would be easier to show with them, but taking pictures takes time away from actually sewing.)

I started with my fitted bodice block, and basically traced it off while pretending the darts were just not darts. I angled the side seams to make the waist smaller.

First I cut that out of muslin, and it was straaange looking. Really tight across the chest.

I think I made some changes? And at some point figured duh I needed to cut it on the bias to get a bit of stretch. I rotated the pattern 90 degrees, and cut it out of poly charmeuse. It looked better! A bit of futzing with the size of the waist and the length, and I had a workable front and back pattern.

Then I used this article for instructions on drafting a cowl back out of my pattern.

Not bad!

Not bad!



I should have trusted my original measurement and made the cowl longer, instead of matching it to their example numbers. I’m not sure if the lack of drapy-ness is because there isn’t enough cowl depth in there, or because poly charmeuse isn’t the prettiest drapy fabric.

Going from one extreme to another, I’m now going to try draping a cowl directly on my dress form, even though the form is a few inches bigger than me. I figure since it’s just the back, I can figure out the difference.

Continuing on with the learning experience…

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