Recent interchange in a restaurant:
Roland (husband... observing a woman walking by): I hate maxi dresses.
Kyle (son): Me too.
Me: I'm making me one.
Me: It's from a vintage pattern that is remarkably similar to the dress that lady had on.
Me: For the beach trip.
End of that discussion.
So, not only have I made a maxi dress from a vintage pattern, but I made it from fabric that used to be curtains a la Scarlett O'Hare. If she were going to the beach and not to a prison to see Rhett Butler. These curtains:
About 4 yards of a soft cotton batik. That glinty spot you see is some beading I had added for fun. It became a problem.
The pattern I used, McCall's 3246, copyright 1972:
I don't actually have that much to say about it. Bust 34 is really a little small for me, but there isn't much fitting. I did a tissue fit, resulting in a full bust alteration (FBA) which added some needed width for the midriff. I made the midriff bands
a little longer on each side (somewhat unscientifically), and added 1/2" to the lower side edges of the back bodice which was plenty. I did narrow the shoulders about an inch.
I didn't have the instructions, but this is a pretty easy and straightforward pattern. It doesn't call for lining, and I didn't want to anyway. Remember, beach. Hot temps. The V-neck has a foldover lining, and I secured it with some machine embroidery using one of the fancy stitches on my machine. I used the same thread hogging stitch around the midriff as well.
Oh! When I did the FBA, it also lengthens the bodice a bit. I removed that length along the center edge, eliminating any gaping. That's also what's causing the midriff band to sag a bit at the sides, something I can live with. If you want to see the embroidery better, I think clicking on the pic zooms you in a bit.
I did have to shorten the dress a bit, and initially, I just gathered the full widths of the rectangle, but that turned out to be way too much volume around the middle. I had traced the skirt pattern, which has an a-line shape, effectively removing about 8 inches per side.
Yep, the midriff band does sag a bit around the sides, and while I know why (see above), I didn't realize it until after all the embroidery was done. Remember... beach dress, not a couture gown.
I used an invisible zipper which admittedly is not as 1972 as it is 2012, but it was the only matching one I had. The seams and embroidery don't match up perfectly... beach dress. Now for a little test... the back skirt panels had to be pieced because of the fancy beading on the curtain which was sewn into a seam, not just put on top. I'm hoping it's not too noticeable.
I haven't gotten Roland's opinion, but frankly, my dear... well, you know the rest!