As soon as I saw this Molyneux (Vogue Paris Orig 1841) dress pattern on etsy, I couldn’t get it in my hot little hands fast enough. I knew it would be the perfect addition for my summer wardrobe as well as work for one of my Vintage Pattern Pledges for July.
While I’m more of a 40’s/50’s kind of girl, sometimes I can’t resist a Grecian, open-backed dress from the 70’s. I seem to be branching out to a lot of different styles this summer…
This is actually my second version of this pattern. While the first has yet to be blogged, I stitched up this dress literally days after completing the first.
I got this fabric as a large remnant from Sawyer Brook fabrics, without a plan of what to use it for. When it arrived I had finished my first (long) version and knew it would be lovely as a second (short) version; the perfect pattern to show off the lovely abstract floral design.
- Just an FYI – the remnants are actually in the regular fabric area and are called ‘last cuts’ and have special pricing on the Sawyer Brook website. I found it kinda confusing at first so I wanted to let you know. (In no way am I compensated here for my opinions or for fabric.)
This fabric is a rayon knit with lycra in it. I find that if you want drape, it’s rayon all the way! Or bamboo… bamboo has a really lovely drape also. But I really can’t resist a pretty rayon knit. And who knew that green + purple = wonderfulness.
Here’s the pattern envelope image. The gal on the left is wearing the knit version, too.
I ended up increasing the deep plunging back bodice by like 2″ or so as my first iteration wasn’t quite as close-looking to the pattern envelope. I really wanted a deep V, almost to my waist, for dramatic effect like the pattern image is.
Most of the pattern directions are tailored towards using a woven fabric and I had to modify them greatly for my knit fabric – despite the pattern saying it can be used for either woven or knits. In one stage, I’m supposed to close the bodice wrap section with no less than 7 hooks and eyes for a 4″ piece gathered section. Nope! I just stitched the two pieces together and finished the edges.
What’s interesting about this pattern is not just the design but the construction. There’s a whole under-bodice structure to this wrap dress.
You may be able to spy some white tape on the front image. Yuppp! Girl talk time: I taped in some support with athletic tape. This dress really can’t be worn with a bra but I don’t feel comfortable going bra-less. Tape suggestion came from Meg/Michelle and was such a good idea.
While this dress is made in knit, I added quite a bit of clear elastic to some inner seam allowances to make sure this dress would hold up over wearings. I added some to the under-bodice shoulder seam, the waistband seam, and the center back V area of the top bodice wrap section.
I didn’t bother to make a muslin of the outer wrap bodice, what I did work on was perfecting the fit of the underbodice.
When I first made up a knit muslin, no matter how much I reduced the shoulder height the bodice kept falling off my shoulders.
What ended up being the fix was taking wedges out – triangles – both on the neckline side as well as the armhole side on both the front and the back bodices.
Unfortunately I don’t have any more photos of these steps, but I just made sure to keep track of how much length I removed from the underbodice so that I could remove the same on the outer wrap bodice pieces.
This pattern also has you sew on a cummerbund gathered piece on the front of the underbodice so that when the outer wrap bodice splits, you can still see lovely gathers in that area. I did it on version 1 but it really just added bulk and was pointless, imo. So on version 2 I omitted that piece, honestly no one is the wiser; but I will admit perhaps it is needed on a woven version…
Given my bad posture, I’m quite surprised that the shoulders of my dress actually stay up. I was worried that this design was going to not work on me (due to bad posture) and also due to my narrow shoulders.
But I wore this thing for a whole, hot day at the garden nursery with my mom. I bent over, picking up all manner of plants and I never had an issue. *win*
Actually all of the plants you see behind me in the photos is what I got that day with my mom. Got some knockout roses, hydrangea, lilac, a couple silver fluffy looking plants my grandma used to have, and so much more.
Now that I’ve switched to talking about plants & my garden I guess I’m all done talking about this dress.
I’ll leave you with a silly selfie and give my husband an ever present “Thank You” for taking my garment photos.