Wednesday, January 30, 2013

McCall 3641: The 'Rabbie Burns' Dress


Yay! Super excited to have finished my 'Rabbie Burns' dress in honour of Robert Burns's birthday.  I used McCall 3641. Here's what the April 1940 Advance Paris Style McCall's Fashion Book has to say about the pattern:
The fly-front closing is being used again--a change from buttons, but you can have buttons if you prefer them.  The waistline is the next point of interest--there is a set-in belt to keep the dress just so at the waist, then a leather belt on top of that, held exactly in place by loops.  Notice the slash pockets, for they are new, placed in the seams for easy sewing.  No. 3641. Sizes 12-20.  50 cents.
Here's what the April McCall's Magazine says about McCall 3641:
Dutch pockets are another type in this season of all kinds of pockets. Usually they are rather difficult to make, but those in the dress with the fly closing are easy ones, because they have been placed in the seams. 

Following some of my inspiration photos from the fall 1940 Sears catalogue, I decided to make a mix between views A and B using a tartan viscose fabric (in the Stewart plaid).  I opted for the button closure--thinking the solid colour of buttons would help break up such a busy tartan print better than a fly closing, which might be lost on a print dress.  I definitely wanted to keep the bodice pockets and collar, so used those from view A.  Overall, the dress took about 20 hours to sew up.


I graded the pattern up from a B32 to a B34, though this time I did a bit of an experiment and didn't grade up the neck opening (and hence didn't have to grade the collar).  It worked out well since I don't plan to button the bodice up all the way to the neck (as in view 'B' on the pattern cover).  Sometimes I go a bit overboard in grading--adding too much length to the front and back.  The back still looks a bit 'bloused' (whereas the pattern cover doesn't show it as 'bloused') but I managed to take up most of the extra length by adjusting the waist seam.

The waist 'belt' is attached by a lapped seam, which incorporates belt loops.  It's really difficult to do a lapped seam on the waistline.  It involves lots of pinning, basting and trying on.  I think I probably pinned and tried the dress at least 5 times just for the waist seam.


I love the 'dutch pockets'.  They look very sleek and as the description states, were fairly easy to construct.  I like how they are at the seam that joins the front and front side skirt sections instead of just at the side seams.

The bodice pockets on the other hand, were quite tricky to assemble.  Normally, lapped seam pockets are a bit of a pain anyways....and then add the need to match the plaids at both the sides and top and bottom of the pockets.  Plus, the pocket flap is a separate piece from the main pocket body.  Phew! That's a lot of plaid matching!  I thread basted the pockets on first to avoid slippage when matching the pattern.  Despite this, I still had to unpick and redo one of the pockets.  They are definitely not perfect but pretty close to matching--which is fine by me!

I just love the sleeves on this dress.  I opted for the short sleeves so that I could easily wear this dress under a jacket.  They are gathered at the sleeve cap creating a bit of a puffed sleeve look.  Overall, I am very happy with the dress.  It's very 'busy' with the tartan print but is also very '1940'!  I plan to wear it with a black jacket to help break up the bright colour a bit.

The pattern was trickier to put together than previous ones--mostly due to all the details.  I also notice that back in the day, it cost more than the other patterns--it was 50 cents!!  The previous pattern I sewed was 45 cents...hmmmm....


What do you think?  Would Rabbie Burns approve? :-)

38 comments:

  1. Wow!  Just lovely! 

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  2. Alyssa OpishinskiJanuary 30, 2013 1:07 AM

     You're really jumping into this project! Yay! I like how the silhouette could pass for a modern dress and I'm totally using "dutch pockets" whenever I talk about this type of pocket from now on. When you do button the collar, is it tight at all?

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  3. You are moving right along! This is so nice in this plaid. Many plaids would totally overwhelm this dress but you really did a great job choosing this one. 

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  4. I approve. You've done a brilliant job with this dress. Oh the detailing. It's so beautiful I'm in awe.

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  5. Lovely! I'm enjoying all the McCall backstory on the dresses as well. 

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  6. My, oh my! I just love it! It looks fantastic on you. :)

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  7. I think it turned out lovely- all you need is a wee Scottie dog brooch on your shoulder ;)
    I always have issues grading lengthwise too- either it is too little or too much LOL One day...

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  8. Debbie it's gorgeous! The details are really special, I particularly like the top pockets- they look piped too ? Nice! The dress's silhouette is really pretty and I really don't envy you all that plaid matching !! Great end result though :)
    By the way I read a really useful tip on cutting pockets to match patterns by mrs c http://sentfrommyiron.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tutorial-matching-pattern-for-pocket.html?m=1

    It's something I mean to try!

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  9. Nice work! Congratulations. And the project is such a good idea, I'm enjoying every "offering".

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  10. Great work. I love plaid.

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  11. Very nice Debi! It's such a wearable dress and doesn't shout 'I'm from the 1940s' but could easily be from a variety of eras - it's so classic. I like the choice of black buttons and belt too. Thought I might have seen the Scottie dog buttons again - but maybe that would be a bit much :)

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  12. How wonderful--the bright plaid is so cheerful and happy without being too busy.  I am making a 1942 dress from DuBarry, and I'm also finding it time consuming (piping, pockets, contrast collar). I'm so impressed at how faithfully you followed this pattern and really made it the best it could be.

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  13. The Dress turned out BE-A-U-TIFUL! I love the dutch pockets, though I have never heard of the term before. Must add it to my sewing vocabulary...

    Brigid

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  14. If Rabbie Burns does not approve, I'll look him up in heaven and punch him right in the snoot.

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  15. Ooh it looks fab! I love tartan and I love red so this certainly ticks my boxes - you look lovely!

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  16. That is really a great dress! 

    It took you really only 20 hours to construct? I'm really a slow sewer, because it would take me much more time!

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  17. Such a pretty dress! And I love the pic of you and the typewriter!

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  18. This looks great Debbie. Love it!

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  19. The bard would approve! I'm fascinated by the Dutch pockets - are they different from a normal on seam pocket? 

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  20. Ocht your a real bonny lass in that little number - great colour, lovely finish

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  21. Adorable!  I love this on you!

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  22. Love it! And I love the Dutch pockets--I feel naked without a good pocket and I like them to be more toward the front then at the sides.

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  23. Love this, especially those dutch pockets (I'd have had no idea they were called that unless you'd told me) and yes, those sleeves are lovely. As a fellow Brit, born in Edinburgh, this dress makes me happy.... *runs off to play Eddi Reader singing My Love is Like a Red Red Rose to make me even happier* 

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  24. Beautiful dress Debi.  I love it made in the tartan and you matched it very well.  

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  25. i think mr burns would approve, and i think he'd DEFINITELY buy you a drink.

    this colorway of plaid is just stunning on you! impeccable dress, and impeccably dressed.

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  26. oooh! i meant tartan! blithering american.

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  27. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:24 PM

    I had no idea you were born in Edinburgh!!! I think we must have swapped places...I'm an expat American living in the UK exploring Scottish culture and your an expat Brit living in the U.S. :-)  Btw. Love your Bowie sewalong idea!!  Just trying to figure out how to mix 1940 and David Bowie...I am sure there is a way!

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  28. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:25 PM

    I have no idea if they are different as I've never sewn pockets from a modern pattern...lol.  I think they may just be more towards the front?  I'll have to do a post and see what everyone thinks!

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  29. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:26 PM

    Thanks Sara!  I love that old typewriter!  We took those photos in one of our favourite pubs...teehee :)

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  30. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:54 PM

    hahahaha! That made me laugh so hard!!!

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  31. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:55 PM

    Yeah...I was thinking of the Scottie buttons and one look from David told me it was definitely over the top! hahahah!

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  32. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:55 PM

    Thanks Monique!

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  33. Debi_myhappysewingplaceJanuary 31, 2013 11:56 PM

    Thanks Alyssa!  When I button-up the collar it is a tad snug...but I just moved the top button slightly over...so it's not too bad.  I really hate grading collars but I will probably go ahead and grade up the neckline and collar next time!

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  34. I'm thrilled about your McCall project. I love that era myself.


    I wanted to give a little advice about lapped seams at the waist. I find that the easiest way for me to do it is to construct the entire front and back of the dress with lapped seams at waist separately from one another (without sleeves), and then attach them together at the shoulder seams first. This allows you to work with side seams with great ease, and you can adjust the width of the waist as you please. This will also help you to align everything perfectly, if there are any yokes. Also by constructing the front and back separately you will be able to align the center lines of the bodice and the skirt with greater ease.

    Hope that helps. Your blog postings have helped my sewing tremendously. I love our blog.

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  35. This dress is marvelous!  You always look fantastic in tartan, and this is definitely worthy of Rabbie Burns' approval :)  Well done, my friend!  The pockets and sleeves are just perfect!

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  36. I found this dress on Etsy and it reminded me of the dress you made. And I thought you might like the hats too.
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/107605757/vintage-1940s-wartime-shirtwaist-dress?

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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