McCalls 2399: the toile

McCalls 2399 the toile

McCalls 2399 the toile

Dress front

Dress front

Back of dress

Back of dress

I recently purchased some vintage patterns and I have been itching to get making them. Work has been full on recently and I haven’t sewn for so long I was really suffering withdrawal symptoms! I started making the toile for McCalls 2399 last week and just finished it this evening. This is my first attempt at a vintage pattern and I must say it has given me a greater sense of achievement than any modern pattern I have attempted.

McCalls 2399 pattern

McCalls 2399 pattern

I love the nostalgic aspect – creating something that was worn in the past, in this case 1970’s. I love the old fashioned instructions and I am really up for learning more techniques so I feel that attempting vintage garments will encourage me to focus on my finishing and give me experience in altering patterns. Because, for sure, women were certainly a different shape in years gone by!

Of the patterns that I bought, this one was probably the simplest but I still learnt some new things along the way:

The bust darts were certainly interesting. I certainly haven’t come across these before!

bust dart pattern

The bust dart

I wasn’t using stretchy fabric so I was very interested in how this would work out! When I pinned it together it did surprisingly stretch to fit… the magic of bias I guess.

pinning the bust dart

Pinning the bust dart

Once seamed, I pinked the edges to help it lie flat. The instructions called for clipping seams but pinking seemed easier.

pinked edges to the bust dart seam

Pinked edges to the bust dart seam

You can see how they worked out here . . .

Side view and bust dart

Side view and bust dart

I will really have to take more time and care in making these darts on the real thing if I want to avoid ‘pointy boob!

This was also the first time I have inserted a side zipper too. And I have to say, not so scary at all. In fact a little easier and more forgiving than the usual back zipper. . . I always seem to place it too far away from the top or too close to the top!

The image on the front of the pattern quite clearly showed a mini length dress – mid thigh to be precise – but even after taking 2 inches off the bottom it was still granny length on me! So I ended up taking another 4 inches off . . . 6 inches in total! I think the models must be at least 7 ft tall!

But here’s a thing. Even though the pattern called for shortening or lengthening at the hem, the whole shape of the dress changes by shortening. It is not so A-line, more straight and shapeless.

Front of dress

Front of dress

So I think I will have to redraft the skirt section of the pattern before I start on the real thing.

Overall I am fairly happy with said toile. I’m glad I saw it through properly to catch any problems along the way before I go chopping into the proper fabric but I am not too hot on the back of the dress. It is kind of shapeless and I am really hoping that with the large print on the fabric I am going to use it will disguise the somewhat sausage shape!

Back of dress full length

Back of dress full length

Having said that, I am not going to be too critical as I am probably just too used to fitted dresses. It is actually a very comfortable dress and will be great for wearing about a hot office in the summer.

Tie-front topstitched

Tie-front topstitched

As for the little tie-front detail, I’ll be damned if I am going to turn these tiny tube laces inside out. I will stick with making them like bias binding and top stitch them, though with smaller stitches and with complimentary thread for the proper version!

Would love to know what you think and any hot tips would be most appreciated!

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7 thoughts on “McCalls 2399: the toile

  1. Love it! That collar in particular – it’s got a gorgeous shape.

    I know what you mean about the dress length – I made up a late-1960’s pattern a few weeks ago, and found that even though I’m rather tall, and the dress on the pattern envelope drawing looked rather short, it was actually quite a long length once it was made up! Which was rather surprising, really. Guess they were just 90% legs back in the 60’s…..

    If you’re worried about the shape, you could always consider making a same-fabric belt to go around it to cinch it in a little?

  2. Thank you Kat. I wouldn’t have been seen dead in a collar like that 10 years ago. Funny isn’t it!

    I think you are right about the belt. I was going to nip it in a couple of inches at the waist but there is a danger I wont be able to get it on and off over my head, even with the zip undone! I am going to try and redraft the pattern by pinching the pattern up across the line that falls between the waist and the hem. Also means I can keep the shape of the hemline which I have lost here too. Will have to do it in a couple of places though as 6 inches is a lot to lose this way!

  3. I just love your details, is a really nice dress, I have several of those 70’patterns and my bigest challenge is finding the right kind of fabric to use. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Thank you Patricia. Funnily enough I haven’t begun work on the real one yet as I am debating the fabric. I was determined to use something from stash but I’m not so sure I have the right fabric. Do you have a blog?

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