Catalogue of Sorts

What I wear, when I wear it, and how it works on my bike

Saturday, Done!

Paris Promenade DressToday, I finished the Folkwear 261 Paris Promenade dress. Pattern 261 apparently replaced Pattern 504, which was produced in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 504 is out of print and I have been unable to find it for sale, or even find much information about it on the internet. I guess the licensing agreement with the Met’s Costume Collection expired because the other Met patterns (the Cloister dress, for one) appear out of print, too.

At any rate, #261 looks reasonably similar to the picture on #504, but I can’t find a line drawing from 504, so it’s hard to say. I’m so curious about it, however, because although I am pretty happy with how my 261 turned out, I really hated the pattern because I found the instructions nearly incomprehensible. It was especially maddening because it should be a really simple dress: there are few pieces; it’s not fitted; nearly every seam is a straight line. Despite this, the pattern instructions made little sense and the drawings did not seem to help.

  • The dress is constructed of only 5 pieces (plus the sash):
  • The underdress, which is cut on the fold, so that the fold creates the shoulder line, with a slit neck opening and a single seam forming the bodice
  • The overdress, which resembles an apron and is left open like a large pocket, and which has a half-lining. The lining only attaches to the bottom edge of the underdress, whereas the overdress is stitched to the lower skirt in a typical seam and then secured to the underdress in only a few spots. There is an overdress piece for the front and one for the back.
  • The skirt. Oh god, the skirt. There is a front skirt and a back skirt–the last two pieces of the dress. They look normal and they attach to the apron overdress in an ordinary seam. But from there, the instructions are really no help at all.
Paris Promenade from the front, different light. The actual color is somewhere between the two.

Paris Promenade from the front, different light. The actual color is somewhere between the two.

The skirt attaches to the underdress by folding from the bottom up and stitching to the inside. But only after you’ve stitched it to the apron and the apron to the dress.

In the end I don’t know. I figured out a way to put it all together by playing jigsaw puzzle with the cut pieces, using lots and lots of pins and some bright orange basting thread. I may have, in fact, constructed the skirts precisely as intended, but I don’t know.

Although it’s not in the instructions, I put binding on the bottom/top edge of the lower skirt before sewing it to the underdress edge. I actually need to go back and fix a few spots–the folded up part of the lower skirt should attach (I think) only to the edge of the underdress, and not be sewn through the overdress, which is at the same point on the dress–because they show through on the apron.

Still, it’s basically done and I actually really like it. I have no idea what occasion I’ll ever have to wear it, but I was surprised how lovely it turned out. Evie (my dress dummy) is shorter than I am (by quite a bit) and skinnier through the hips, but we match in the bust and the waist. Not that there is much to the fit of this dress, but it fits well.

Because my underdress is a stiff satin, it does not drape like the illustration, but I think it works fine. Were I to make it again (and I don’t know. It was irritating and the finished dress is of low utility, but it’s comfortable and pretty), I’d use something more fluid for the underdress.



This entry was posted on October 26, 2013 by in Sewing and tagged , , , .




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