September 10, 2009

frog closures and the dress to go with them


If I could have found frogs in the right shade of green, that were the right size, and not too shiny, I would have bought them. Instead it took days of fiddling around before I figured out a way to knot them and get them all the same size. I took a billion pictures for reference, if anyone is interested in a tutorial let me know and I'll happily put one together.


Here is the 1955 cheongsam pattern I used for the dress to put the frogs on.


And here is the result.


This is the first real dress I've made myself. Not a costume, more than a tent with sash, and no safety pins or double sticky tape holding things together. I did not let the zipper get the best of me. I did a Hong Kong finish on all the seam allowances, and sewed the hem by hand so it's invisible (The sleeves are finished the same way.). Also, sticking to my rule, I used fabric from the stash and a pattern I already had. No wonder I look so pleased.

The pattern required plenty of alterations to get this fit. It had 4 inches of ease at the waist!? I was reading Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and she had the same problem with a reissued pattern, but originals too must have had a lot of extra ease added. Not only did I take those 4 inches off the waist, I took a couple off across the back, and I added a few to the hips. I imagine without those changes the fit wouldn't come close to the illustration on the pattern envelope. 

I'm inspired to make a 1950's brassiere and cincher to help create a more 1950's silhouette. Wait, isn't that how this whole thing started?

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful, just beautiful!

    And yes, a tutorial would be lovely and very much appreciated.

    Wonderful job - keep up the excellent work!

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  2. Thanks Petunia! Alright then, I'll get to work on frog clarification. And thanks again!

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  3. At first I was like, "wow, you *made* the frog closures?", and then I thought, "hang on, where's the corset?"! But this is very sweet and those closures are super-impressive. Great work (as usual!).

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  4. You, my dear, are GORGEOUS! And so is that dress!

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  5. Oh that's lovely! Well done you - that suits you so well.

    And another vote for a tutorial here - I'd love to read it.

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  6. Lovely and well done sticking to the rules :) Would love to see a frog tute :)

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  7. Gorgeous dress, and you got an amazing fit !

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  8. On the pattern sizing.... I have found Simplicity and Butterrick to always have too much ease. Up to two sizes. That is why I am making my own these days.

    Well on the dress. Looks absolutely stunning.

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  9. I made frog-like knots for the 1857 dress, ended up making just one, and thought I would lose my mind. the pattern included a "pattern" to lay the cord on to get the right shape, but, oh! it was rough. Making them all match must have been quite a task. Applause.

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  10. Aw, thanks everyone! Your compliments have made my day. Sparklewren you're right, where is the corset? I did kind of just throw the frogs (and dress) in without any introduction. I was so thrilled to finally make some outerwear I had to show it off. And Giffydoll, I felt I had no choice about sticking to the rules. Why bother making them if I don't stick to them, right? I'm glad there is interest in a frog tutorial. I knew there must be others like me who will tie them instead of buy them.

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  11. Two sizes larger because of ease? Wow. That is good to know. Thank Angelindisguse for that info.

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  12. Cool dress. Commenting on your cool use of lava lamps in your background

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  13. I just found your blog from Sew Retro. The dress is lovely, and you do some really interesting work. Your photos are great, as well.

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  14. As a Peggy (yes people under the age of 65 are hung with this moniker!)I think it's an absolutely beautiful job you've done. everything captures the spirit. Bravo! Peg

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  16. I'm thinking to get this pattern, but I've always been buying my size for vintage patterns, I don't even think they come 2 sizes smaller than I am so I'm worried now as I'm a novice and won't know how to make it fit if it is insanely too big. I've been buying bust 32, which is about my real bust altho I think it fluctuates from 32 to 33, time of the month thing. Well, anyway, I was curious if you used the 2 darts as shown on the envelope photo. I've seen other cheongsam dress patterns mostly with one dart and I'm wondering if 2 makes it just even more of a fitted look or what. But if I get this I'm getting the bust 32 I guess, I doubt I'd find a bust 30?? And thing is, was the whole thing too big or just mainly the waist bec I wouldn't want size down and then the bust doesn't fit and I still think would be easier to take parts in than to make something too small bigger. I'm only on my first vintage dress and it's 60s dress my mom made years ago and so far her size seems be ok for me, bust 32. If I need take it in, it is a reasonable amount, I still think I'd be afraid to start shopping for bust 30 patterns. I already bought too many 32's anyway.

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