Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Lock and Key Dress - Simplicity 6584

The Lock & Key Dress is done! And it took longer than I had planned.  (As per usual.)  I thought this would be a quick, non-complicated, novelty shirtdress, but I ended up putting in way more time than the dress pattern probably warranted:


I wrote about it here.  I finished it last night and wore it to work today.  (I find going to work is so much more exciting when I have a new dress to wear.)  So here it is:
And here's the back:
These are the changes I made:

1.  Decreased the waist seam allowances to 3/8 inch to give me one extra inch in the waist.  It fits perfectly now.

2.  Seriously shortened the sleeves.  I probably shortened them by nearly 6 inches when all is said and done.  I originally shortened them by 2 1/4 inches and put the sleeves in but they were miles long and looked like stove pipes.  So I shortened them yet another 3 1/2 inches.  Here's what they looked like before the final whacking:
These things were so long, they hit my elbow!  I estimate that putting in these sleeves and dealing with the length consumed about 2 1/2 to 3 hours of my time .  I seriously considered making this dress sleeveless, but I've reached that Certain Age where I can't regard my upper arms with any degree of acceptance.

3.  Used fusible interfacing instead of sew-in.

4.  Put in machine stitch buttonholes rather than bound buttonholes.  I wasn't about to do nine bound buttonholes . . .

5.  I made the sleeve "cuffs" like the Hawthorn dress.

6.  In addition to the bodice pocket, I put a patch pocket on the right side skirt piece, using the pattern placement on the pattern.  It resulted in a pocket 1/2 inch smaller than the pattern called for, but it is the perfect size to store my employee badge:
This pocket is so cool and I enjoyed using it all day.  I noticed that Trena added a waist loop for her employee badge on one of her dresses (but now I can't find which one); I might have to start adding a pocket to all my shirtdresses!

How you know this is a vintage pattern:

1.  The hem is deeper than modern patterns - 2 1/4 inches.

2.  There is nothing sexy about this dress.  The bodice is loose and not close fitting, the length of the dress is "correct" for the mid 1960s, i.e. just below the knee, and the buttons go all the way down to hem - heaven forbid there be a flash of leg!  Had I been paying attention, I probably would have left off the last one or two buttons.

3.  The instructions for this dress fit on one page which seems pretty typical for the era:
This caused me some consternation.  I'm used to patterns that have an illustration for each step.  I couldn't visualize every step in my mind, so I just took it slow, completing a step, then reading the next sentence, then completing the next step, and so on.  If I sewed as I read, the next step became clear.  This was the only way I got the collar constructed, as this method/collar was not familiar to me.

4.  The front and back skirt side pieces are slightly gathered, which makes altering the dress to fit a lot easier.  If you make any change to the tucks in the back bodice or darts in the front bodice, the skirt doesn't need any corresponding changes - you simply adjust your gathers.

Other notes:  I actually took the time to hand sew (!) a hook and eye closure at the waist to eliminate any gaping at the waist.  I had planned to use gray buttons, but saw these mint green ones, so I got both, and ultimately went with the green.  I got the belt at Target, and you can't see them, but my shoes match my belt.  This color combination of mint green and coral seem to be the "in" colors this summer.  So the dress is vintage, but the colors are up-to-date.  : )

Amazingly, for being such a non-sexy dress, I got compliments all day.  From people I didn't know.  In elevators.  I did enjoy wearing it. It was fun, it was comfortable, and I felt "cute".  This dress ended being one of those that was a PITA to sew, but a pleasure to wear.

So for the future, I'm going to have to look through my remaining shirtdress patterns, see what else is "on deck", and what I should make next!  With the completion of this dress, it was time (past time, really) to take the Bernina to the shop for a tune up; it was starting to skip stitches.  When the Bernina person told me it would be 7 to 10 days before my machine would ready for pick-up, I felt myself start to hyperventilate and wonder why I don't own a back up sewing machine after 11 years of sewing.  But then I remembered that I neglect housework and my husband for the amount of sewing I do now; the last thing I need is an additional machine to sew even more.  I have at least a week's worth of work in putting away patterns, cleaning up fabric, and reorganizing the sewing room.  And the ironing, my God, I have so much ironing to do . . .

Happy sewing, y'all.


Audrey said...

Great looking dress! I can see why you got lots of compliments. The fabric print is really unique and interesting. I agree with you that having a new dress to wear makes going to work more exciting. I like waking up and remembering that I will be wearing a new, me made, dress/jacket/blouse to work that day. It is just the extra motivation I need some mornings to get moving.

Vicki W said...

That dress makes you look skinny. I don't know what it is but it's really flattering.