Let’s start off with a back view for a change. In all honesty there is very little difference between the front and back of this dress as seen in in photos. It’s a beautifully simple design. The pattern is vintage Vogue 1101 by Christian Dior, all the way from 1982. Not the actual Christian Dior: the date puts it in the Marc Bohan era of Dior.
Here’s the pattern envelope. The red and black version is very striking but red and I don’t get on. This was an eBay find and it’s a Canadian version of the pattern: it’s entirely metric.
Amazingly I found a contemporary runway photograph of the design. The red looks more orangey here. It’s clear the original fabric is slightly shiny and very drapey. The pattern envelope says it’s medium weight tissue faille, which is not a fabric I am familiar with. Also is it just me or is the skirt a lot shorter on the runway photo?
My version is made of much less exotic polyester crepe. Specifically it’s John Kaldor Prestige crepe in royal blue and black. I got it from Sew Essential. Handily they had the raglan shoulder pads too: being an 80s style of course it has padded shoulders. I love the look, but positioning and sewing the wretched things in is one of my least favourite tasks.
I can’t complain too much though. When I measured the pattern I discovered I didn’t need to make a single adjustment to make it fit me. I normally have to add a lot of length to the body and sleeves, so I always trace the pattern and make adjustments on the tracing. The pattern pieces didn’t even need cutting out on this one because the original owner had done that. Good thing, because actually cutting the fabric was a trial because of the large and awkwardly shaped pieces.
Annoyingly I don’t seem to have a photo that demonstrates the pockets. There are pockets. Boring side seam pockets, but entirely functional. I managed to hack a hole in one while running the edges though the overlocker, so the insides have an ugly repair – as always my finishing isn’t going to win any sewing prizes. I liked this dress enough to hand hem it but again it would probably be best not to look at the underside of the hems. They’re ok from the outside and that will have to do.
I like the closure on this: buttons at the shoulder rather than a zip, which might spoil the lines on the back. The belt is a bit odd. It’s a little short for wrapping around twice but far too long just to wrap around once. Twice seems the best option but if I made this again I’d add a little length.
I am not sure I will ever need another one of these – it’s very memorable – but I think it would work well in a lighter weight ponte as well as the crepe.
Thanks to my husband for the photos.