Moderne: We have sleeves!

I’m making this dress- Wearing History’s Moderne, View 1.  This style is not for the faint of heart, nor is the construction.  No one ever accused me of shrinking violet syndrome, so here we are.  I finished the sleeves today and attached them.

At this point, I said sayonara to the archaic 1930’s instructions which tell you to make four more bound buttonholes, join the sleeve seam, then attach the facing and topstitch in the round.  I preferred to do it flat, even if that means that the sleeve/facing seam at the wrist won’t be enclosed.  Somehow I’ll get over it.  I also chose to make “hand worked” style machine buttonholes as I have no interest in tiny bound buttonholes.  Yes, it would be a pretty couture touch in a plainly visible area but if I got caught up in making buttonholes I wouldn’t finish the dress til sometime around Independence Day.

I am the type of sewist who likes to sit in front of my machine and sew.  That’s why I put in so much prep work on big projects.  I honestly can’t figure out how it happened, but the front of my sleeve head had WAY too much ease.  I played and trimmed and steamed and somehow managed to set the sleeves.  I haven’t had this much trouble with sleeves in a long time, I can’t blame the pattern because I re-drew the sleeve heads myself.  I’m not thrilled with the result, but I can live with it.

Speaking of fiddling while sewing, I had to re-cut the collar a few times to get the right length.  I like the copious top-stitching which makes it stand up stiffly.  Between finishing the collar and attaching the sleeves, I tried it on and worried I made a huge mistake- I looked like the commander of the Art Deco spacecraft from the future.

I’m less worried now, though I can tell I made a poor fabric choice.  This is a tailored dress.  I like tailored dresses, but they require a fabric which eases well.  I dyed this cotton pique and the silk accents using a larger than usual dose of sodium carbonate as a fixer.  I suspect the sodium carbonate somehow stiffened the fabrics, though I washed them normally after dyeing.  This pique has the texture of a paper napkin and will not ease.  I plan to soak the whole thing in some kind of fabric conditioner or a sodium bicarbonate solution after construction, in the hopes it will soften the fibres again.  I would never have bought the pique were it this stiff in the shop.

I’m really, really excited about the sleeves- they’re completely unexpected.  I want to make this dress in the future using a lightweight wool or a silk, something smooth and buttery that responds to steam.

I had thought to use a CF zipper.  No matter how I approach the problem, I can’t figure out how to make it work.  I’d use a separating zip, but the side front skirt yoke would have to be attached to the waist seam, rendering my efforts laughable.  I ripped out the side seam almost to the armscythe and it’s easier to wriggle into now despite the long tight sleeves.

The skirt and lining may weigh down the bodice sufficiently so it hangs the way I wish it would.  I plan to flatline the skirt pieces with dark blue cotton voile.  Fingers crossed!

I’m working on the skirt draft to go with the Demilitarized jacket, I dug deep into Golden Section principles and I’m really excited to show you what I came up with.


  1. Wow, Steph, I've browsed through your entire post archives, hypnotized by all the lovely garments you've made. I've just found a great source of inspiration, and I'll keep coming back! Don't get surprised if I start copycatting your work ;-). The dress will look amazing, I'm in love with the simple yet extravagant style the asymmetric button closure gives to it.Oh, and thanks for reading my blog! I'm late with the RTW jacket sewalong schedule, but I'll give my best to keep up with the others!

  2. I read a LOT of sewing blogs, but I just had to stop and tell you how great this post is. The dress will turn out fabulous, and I really look forward to seeing it all together.Well done!

  3. I love the blue color you chose, even if the dye seems to have caused the fabric to stiffen. Like you said, hopefully a round of washing after the dress is finished will do the trick.Also, I'm looking forward to your golden rule skirt post.

  4. This looks AWESOME. Wow. All your hard work you put into prepping and making the pattern fit to your slopers is totally showing off in the finished garment.This high neck version looks awesome on you!

  5. Just seeing the bodice on you, that would be a neat design for a jacket! Especially with the neat front opening.It seems to be coming along nicely, despite the sleeve and fabric stiffness issue. Looks really good!

  6. I fell in love with asymmetric closure of the front! Of course, my favorite color is purple, so this dress has extra bonus for me.

  7. Thanks, everyone. You all inspire me to keep going, I'd probably have quit if I weren't blogging this…I hope when I finish I can get a good picture of the color, it really does seem to glow so I guess the sodium carbonate was worth it despite the textural challenge.

  8. Pingback: Hard Yakka: Welts, Bound Buttonholes, and Balancing Flaps « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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