Traveling Red Dress: We Have the Pattern!

Well, I ordered it today, anyway. Thanks to the generosity of donors (THANK YOU!), I had the money for the pattern as of this afternoon. Here’s a picture of it again, a slightly bigger one this time. It is so pretty I could stare at it all day long:

The dream dress pattern is now the property of the women of the Traveling Red Dress!

It’s a reprint of a vintage pattern, not an actual vintage pattern. This is a good thing. I’ve worked with vintage patterns, and they assume that the seamstress knows a whole lot. They use weird shorthand. Things were called by other names. They ask for things that are no longer made. I made a dress for my mom from a  vintage pattern, and it turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself, but I had to cut up drapery weights normally used in curtains to get the cowl right. Because whatever the pattern wanted me to use to weigh down the fabric? That thing does not exist anymore. So–phew! I will definitely be able to understand the directions for this dress.

The second advantage of a reprint of a vintage design is that this one provides instructions for modifying the size. This is important, because the pattern I used for my mom fit her measurements in the bust and the hip and the waist was several inches too small. While I am glad that I seem to have “won” some sort of genetic lottery and somehow fit the measurements of the Red Dress pattern, it occurred to me when I saw that the pattern is adjustable to “modern sizes” that I could keep making Red Dresses from the same pattern to fit other women as precisely as possible! How cool is that?

So, step one: complete. Pattern acquired. Once it arrives, I will trace it, so that I don’t have to cut it up and can keep it in its original, clean state.

Step two: acquire cheap muslin. This will be used to make a mock-up of the dress from the pattern. That way, if I come across anything tricky and make mistakes, I will have practice. I learned that this is important the hard way–I had to redo so many pieces of the flower girl dress I made for my niece that I used up fabric that was supposed to go for to the bridesmaid’s dress! My cousin was in fashion design school at the time, and she managed to pull the bridesmaid’s dress together, but it was, well, short. (I know–my bridesmaid is an awesome, awesome friend for wearing that dress.) The point is, make the mistakes with the $3/yd fabric or you will end up ruining the $25/yd fabric!

Step three: acquire nice red fabric. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I don’t want to use a synthetic (polyester) fabric. I want the dress to feel good; I keep thinking about how amazing my silk taffeta wedding dress felt to wear and want to repeat that. I also want it to last and let it be altered to fit other women, so I want a high quality fabric. I still love the idea of taffeta, but I also keep thinking about velvet. Would velvet look too dated? Stuffy?

I will also need trim and a zipper and something called horsehair braiding before I’ll have everything I need, but the way I see it, I’ve complete step one of three! Not including the actual sewing. Because that will include more than three steps, I’m sure.

Thank you again for donating, helping me get the word out, just plain supporting me. I am super excited!

4 Comments

  1. Heather S. said:

    That’s fantastic, I can’t wait to see the finished product.
    P.S. – Love your blog’s name! Austen’s “Love and Freindship,” right? :)

    February 3, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      Thank you, heather! Dead on about the Austen. The entire quote is in the “About Me” page, towards the end. “Beware of fainting fits! Beware of swoons!” LOVE.

      February 3, 2012
      Reply
  2. I think velvet would be kind of awesome. is that weird. Maybe not quite as functional as other choices but… very Scarlett O’hara or something. Are curtains out of the question?

    February 3, 2012
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      You know, I thought of Scarlett, too. And brocade from the “decorative fabrics” category? Oh yes, I have looked. I can definitely see it.

      February 3, 2012
      Reply

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