I first saw this 1968 pattern in a vintage pattern lot I bought in 2009. I was immediately smitten with the color and the scalloped edge of the center front edge. At the time, I wasn’t confident enough in my sewing skills to attempt those scallops and I left the pattern alone. At the time, I was also considerably heavier and I would have had to make a lot of adjustments since the pattern, as these patterns usually do, only came in one size; size 16 38-inch bust in this case. I also didn’t think it’d be flattering. The pattern sat in a box with the rest of the lot for a few years. I took it out again a couple of years ago and although I was confident in my sewing skills and even in my grading skills, I was much lighter then, which would have also required quite a bit of faffing around to make the pattern work. So I put the pattern back again. Damned if you, damned if you don’t.
So, in July of last year, after having put on some weight again, I thought it was the perfect time to finally make the dress. After making a muslin, I searched high and low for suitable fabric; I knew I wanted bright green, and it had to be a heavy enough fabric to give the dress shape but not so heavy that it would be too stiff or bulky. Not an easy combination of qualities, it would seem. I ended up buying lime cotton twill from fabric.com and not only was the weave and weight perfect for this dress, I loved the color too. I mean, it’s green, really green. I love it.
I did have to make fitting alterations to the length, but none to the bust, which was surprising considering that my full bust measurement is way larger than 38 inches. I imagine this would be enormous on anyone with an actual full bust measurement of 38 inches. I’m short, as we’ve established, so I had to take three inches off in length right off the bat. Which left me with a two-inch hem, which I think works. I have big upper arms and added some width to the sleeve. I also removed some of the sleeve cap ease. Once I got the fitting done, I cut the fashion fabric, then proceeded to let it languish in the sewing room for seven months. In my defense, grad school took most of my non-work time and I truly was swamped. Never mind that I could have just as well finished the dress between when I cut the fabric in July and when school started the next month.
Sewing those scallops to be as rounded as possible was not easy. I used something like a 1.6 stitch length and sewed very carefully and very slowly. The photo on the pattern envelope shows bound buttonholes and the instructions do mention bound buttonholes but I chose to make regular machine buttonholes. I did cover my own buttons. I did not line my dress, mainly because I didn’t see anything about lining in the instructions even though the pattern description says the dresses are lined and there is a fabric layout for the lining. My best guess is that they assumed people knew how to line dresses, but there really is no mention of lining in the instructions that I could see. At any rate, I live in South Florida so I wouldn’t have lined it anyway. I finished the seams by serging.
I am very pleased with this dress. I love that it’s so distinctive, but I’m also apprehensive BECAUSE it is so distinctive. Not only is it bright lime green, but it’s also a style that is no longer worn by the masses. I’m going to have to just own it and put on a poker face when I wear it in public if I have any hope of pulling it off. That said, the dress doesn’t look quite so bright green in person, I think it’s a bit less obnoxious.