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Forum > Vintage Sewing > Odd vintage dress neckline ( Moderated by JEF)

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Odd vintage dress neckline
Should I alter it and if so how?
DaisyGrubber

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Date: 6/10/12 5:48 AM

I bought an original 50s dress yesterday, which is amazing as I never see anything in my size. It generally fits well and the fabric's lovely but there's something odd about the neckline and I'm feeling the urge to do something about it. It looks like it's strayed on from a dress for a much smaller person. Possibly whoever drafted the pattern sized the rest of it up for larger sizes but didn't bother changing the neckline. It kind of rides up in a weird way round the sides and back and looks particularly disproportionate when I'm wearing a cardigan.

I could easily find some more white ricrac and alter it. Maybe either take a couple of cm off all round the neck, or possibly just off the back and sides. Views?



lareine
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Date: 6/10/12 6:05 AM

That is a lovely bright dress and looks like it fits you really well in general. Is it actually uncomfortable around the neck to wear, or just not what you find usual? Is your cardigan from the same era? Vintage styles are so different from what people wear now and I have found the necklines very high and claustrophobic in some of the ones I've tried.

DaisyGrubber

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In reply to lareine <<


Date: 6/10/12 6:16 AM

The cardigan I knitted myself so is not vintage.

It's not so much that it's uncomfortable as that it doesn't sit right. But you're right, it's also not what I'm used to as I generally wear quite low necklines.

gramma b
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Date: 6/10/12 8:13 AM

Perhaps from a thin swan-necked person?
I would recut a soft scoop neck (copy another) and
it would still look Vintage. You could use the excess as a bias.
Assume you have to move a back zipper--or not, if it goes over your head.
Funky shoes, are they British-made?!

a7yrstitch
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In reply to DaisyGrubber <<


Date: 6/10/12 1:07 PM

Looks like vintage foundation garments would have made a difference in the fit and draping of the the bodice. Consider also who might have worn it. One of my grandmothers wore modern underpinnings and one did not.

Lucky you to have found the dress.

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DaisyGrubber

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In reply to gramma b <<


Date: 6/10/12 1:52 PM

Bizarrely there is no zipper at all, which is fine with me as I don't normally need one - but I wouldn't want to do an elaborate hairstyle first and then put it on!

The shoes are El Naturalista who are Spanish. They have some lovely things although not that style any more I think.

DaisyGrubber

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In reply to a7yrstitch <<


Date: 6/10/12 2:25 PM

True, but I don't think that would affect the actual shoulder line and width of the neck. At the moment there's suddenly too much room at the shoulder at the inner edge, but then not quite enough to accommodate the neck.

I just think this was either (1) a badly graded pattern designed by someone who didn't understand cutting for larger sizes (very likely) or (2) a home sewer who borrowed the neckline from a smaller size dress. There's lots of hand sewing inside it so I reckon it was made at home or by a small dressmaker.

I think we have this idea that everyone had great fitting clothes in the past, but I was looking at photos of my granny's wedding in the 30s once, and you've never seen a more ill-fitting bunch of clothes on the guests - and they were quite well-off too and not plus sized.
-- Edited on 6/10/12 2:39 PM --

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 6/10/12 7:33 PM

I have an idea. Why not slash at CF, down about 3" or so, then face this area, leaving it open, and put a button at the neckline with a thread loop closure? That way you can overlap the fullness, or you could even remove it by redrawing from the CF down to the slash.

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DaisyGrubber

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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<


Date: 6/11/12 2:25 PM

I don't think that would deal with it, but in any case I'm less worried about the fit than the appearance.

I think really the choice comes down to either just widening the neck, or cutting it bigger all round. I think I want to keep the basic shape as I like it and that's how it's meant to be. Also, either of those things would deal with the fit issue (and if it doesn't I can take a little in on the shoulder seams which would).

It's very interesting looking at how it's made. The hand sewing is incredibly tidy, yet the seamstress always used her thread doubled. Some of the seams are hand sewn and some are machined - I wonder if she only had access to a machine at someone else's house perhaps. And the edges are pinked - I guess no zigzag stitch in those days! The neck has a very narrow facing which is turned under and sewn down - never seen that before.

Elona
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In reply to DaisyGrubber <<


Date: 6/11/12 4:05 PM

It's a pretty vintage dress overall. I think that neckline may be the result of poor drafting or perhaps stretching during construction (those curves being biased edges).

Frankly, the fit looks good to me below there, and I think you could lower the neckline while keeping--and stabilizing!--those sweetheart curves, as here, keeping things quite period-correct.


-- Edited on 6/11/12 4:10 PM --

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