The Three Words We All Love to Hear:


Subtitled: The saga of Vogue #2903.

Jen Ma began classes with a number of ideas. Vogue #2903 was one of them.

Vogue 2903
Cutting 2903
Blending patterns, deciding layout.

After deciding the sequence she was going to do them in, she cut into the printed cotton as her second project.

The pattern is an open paisley print that really can’t be matched exactly on the curved flared princess seams. What you have to do is be careful to get a good blending – a pleasant meshing of the pattern as it divides across seams. Layout can be tricky, but if you think ahead at this point, you will end up with a better product.

Sometimes a student has a general sense of where she will be going. We initially started this dress for a wedding on the Mexican coast in May. The detail required didn’t work out, however, so we switched gears and finished the dress written about here.

When she got back to the city, we started in earnest on this flared mid-century dream, but there were sidetracks here and there (not the least of which was the brief time-out she took to make a series of aprons with fabric from The Needle Shop).

Kind of a team effort.
We call this “Humpty Dumpty”

Once we were back on track, we worked. It is rare to see this kind of dedication. And we do mean dedication. A phone call at 9 p.m. to see if the workroom was still functioning became a sewing marathon that everyone enjoyed. Please do be careful, though: If you are sewing in 6-8 hour blocks and the clock strikes 3 a.m. it is easy to forget how hard it can be to get out of a fitted dress with a small center-back zipper.

What we ended up with was one of the best project of the year, and perhaps one of the best projects we have seen a student make.

Some details:

Hand-set center back invisible zipper:


We added three layers of crinoline using a circular ruffle pattern in organdy.We used a circular ruffle for two reasons: to give maximum volume at the hemline and to reduce the overall bulk around the lower waistline.

2903 is obviously not draughted for petites!

The dress was long, so we altered the pattern to a more appropriate length.

Absolute best hem treatment for a print that you should use but won’t want to:

Jen had asked what the absolute best method of hemming was. After hearing that the absolute best thing to do involved horsehair braid and two rows of hand-stitching in four colors, she decided to split the difference. We serged the edge, easing in fullness as we went. And then…

And then we ran an invisible hem by hand. But this wasn’t just any invisible hem. We found rayon thread that matched the colors in the print perfectly and then switched threads as we moved from one color to the other.

Here is how it works: We started with white, sewing up the initial white ground. Once we shifted to one of the other colors she “carried” the thread through the back of the serged edge until the next white area. Once she got back to the beginning, she started with the next color.
This technique doesn’t take that much longer than a regular blind hem by hand and is about as invisible as you can get.

And here we go! A beautiful mid-century flared dress with inset yoke neckline.

Vogue #2903

1 Comment

  1. hi. you are really beautiful with this dress. maybe you can help me i am sewing it to today.
    i am very exited about it but i dont know how to make the pleats.
    can you please help me?

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