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? :-)