1950’s Swing Dress
Inspired by the red dress in the image to the left, one of our customers asked us to make a glamorous 1950s dress for her new historical doll, Connie. We did a couple of sketches to illustrate the doll-proportions, and set to work.
The first step was to pattern the dress and make a mock up (which is basically a dry run of the pattern in a test fabric), to be sure that the proportions would really work. For this dress, one of the most important things to figure out was the collar.
Collars are tricky things, turns out. It took me a couple tries to get it right.
On the very left, Melody is sporting the first version of the collar. It was too high in front, so in the second version I lowered the point where the collar crossed. The third picture is Lisette wearing the mock-up; since her shoulders are somewhat narrower than Melody’s, I thought she’d be a better indication of what it would look like on a narrower-shouldered doll. (The final dress will have sleeves, but I didn’t mock them up because they were very standard sleeves and I felt confident they would work.)
Needless to say, the fabric I used for the mock-up, although quite lovely in and of itself, was not the fabric for the final dress! I went on an expedition to the fabric store and found this gorgeous, double-sided material: one side green, one side gold, and it’s a marvellously soft silk/rayon blend. It had a fabulous drape, as well. For the lining and accents, I found an amazingly soft cotton and silk sateen.
Here’s the dress, after the first major work session. The skirt is much too long, of course, but I trimmed it down to size in a later step.
After some more work (including closures up the back, installing the underskirt and netting support, putting in the sleeves and attaching the cuffs and collar) the dress was finished.
To see the new doll in her dress, please visit: http://thedollwardrobe.blogspot.com/2009/08/melody-valerie-1950s-green-dress.html