Going to the Races: The Dress

This dress ended up being a bit of a Frankenstein. The main fabric is a poly crepe that I bought in London on Goldhawk Road. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do without access to that place.

I happened to own Burda 8856 pattern which has a beautifully flared skirt pattern to it. I used this to create the skirt, cutting it shorter than the pattern requires.

This gives it that perfect swing fit and and flare that Peggy has in so many of Season 2 dresses and is probably what makes this dress feel so va va voom to wear.

The sleeves were loosely based on a full sleeve pattern I had from elsewhere. Really any sleeve pattern is fine as you want it big. I wanted them to have plenty of poof, and I got that. I ran a loose stitch down the center of each sleeve and pulled it tighter, I then made a tube of fabric and tacked it down on that pulled line. I'm convinced that this is closer to the original than just using the tube to pull it up from the bottom, as you have definite gathers all along that tube line in the references. If I hadn't been running out of time, I probably would have readjusted, gone back and pulled it in more, but this got finished in a whirlwind and it was good enough to be worn.

The bodice was fully drafted by me. I started with a body block, threw it on Marge (my dress form), and drew on the neckline, and the placement of the under bust waistband. In all honestly, I drafted two tops that night, although the second hasn't come to fruition yet.

Bonus future cosplay hint in there!
The neckline was something that I wanted to be careful about. I drafted it hoping that I would make it acceptable for general wear, unlike hers which I don't feel would be work appropriate.

So I raised the cut out significantly from where it sits on Peggy to both make me feel more comfortable wearing it and make it less boobalicious in case I ever end up wearing it outside of a convention.

I used the same fabrics as the hat (a white organza layered over a grey poly crepe) to make bias tape with a bit of yarn in it for when I'd be doing the dress.

Zipper placement was something that took me a while to figure out (especially after I spent 45 minutes trying to get into a back-zipped dress and ending up begging the hotel's maid to zip me up). Because I wanted to carry the underbust line across the back (as I believe is accurate), I couldn't put a zipper down the center back. However, I still needed a bit of a zipper there so that my head would fit through the neckline. I ended up with a short, 4” zip going from the back of the neck down combined with a side zipper to actually get it to fit.

The neckline was definitely the most complicated part of this assembly. I cut the neckline out with about 2 inches wide twice. I added interfacing to give it some oomph, and sewed one of them to the lining material. Then I sewed the two necklines together, turned it right side out, so I had the neckline plus a facing. I then placed the white/grey bias tape about an inch away from the neckline and stitched it in place through all layers. I then took the my actual bodice and stitched it on the other side of the bias so that when it was pressed back down it was nice and clean.

If I'm honest, I rushed this job, and I'd like to go back and do it a little cleaner,  but it worked well as a process. I think the facing is fine, just the placement of the crosses could be better.

Most of the construction was straightforward from then on. The only finicky part was insetting the underbust part because it means you have an awkward y-seam. However, I watched a bunch of quilting tutorials to remember how to do Y-seams and when it came time for it it was good enough first time I was ok with it.

I think if I were to do it again, I would have done the underbust as panels that went straight up from the skirt rather than having a waist seam as the skirt occasionally pulled (or maybe I need to wear yet another slip underneath!), but overall I'm pretty happy with this.

If I'm honest, I love this dress. I really want to go back and clean it up and finish little bits that I didn't have time for before. I was shocked how many people recognized Peggy while I wore this. Far more seemed to know who it was than when I wore the promo dress.

Photo by George Germaine
Or maybe its just they had gotten used to me being Peggy.

I can live with that, tbh.


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