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Pattern Puzzle - Vintage Bodice

Monday, December 29, 2014
Once again I have been seduced by a Vintage Fashion Illustration promising so much in fit and style.  Add to that the fact that this bodice promised to be one of those fascinating one-piece patterns.  They were so thoroughly investigated in the first half of the 20th century when manufacturers were looking for a  reduction of machine processes for the mass manufacture of fashion.  This blog now has a great number (5) of these style of blog posts which I plan to develop into a more detailed post in the future.Vintage Bodice

 There is some variation between the pattern instructions set out below and the illustration.  These are mostly practical pattern making choices that dictate what is actually possible in the real world.  In particular the neckline in the instructions is assumed a straight line as the illustration suggests.  However the only way to achieve a straight line is to make the 'V' neck a little deeper in the front.

The pattern plan below is based on a knit kimono block with the inclusion of a waist dart built on the waistline to sharpen the fit of the waist, so necessary in vintage styles.
Begin by:
  1. Extending the shoulder line beyond the shoulder point, according to your taste.  Here approx. 8-10cm (3 1/4-4").  This shoulder line may be left straight or shaped over the shoulder with a curve.
  2. Join the cap sleeve length through to the armhole curve and under arm point.  Straighten the underarm point area to remove unnecessary fabric.
  3. On the front block, continue the curve from the cap sleeve into the front panel seam.  Shape it over the bust area to leave room for the gathers to shape over the bust.
  4. The front waist dart shaping is transferred to the front panel seam to make the gathers over the bust.
  5. The back waist dart is shaped off the side and centre back seams.
Vintage Bodice Instructions
To develop the pattern:
  1. Trace the back bodice, removing the back waist dart allowances off the side and centre back seams.
  2. Place the front and back shoulder lines together and trace the front upper bodice onto the back bodice, therefore eliminating the shoulder seam.
  3. Then place the front and back side seams together and trace the front lower bodice onto the back bodice.
  4. The front waist dart is transferred through to the front panel seam edge.  In most cases this will not be enough extra fabric to form an effective amount of gathering.
  5. To introduce extra gathers into the front panel, seam split open the front lower bodice and open it up as if you were making a full bust adjustment.  
  6. An example of this is on the left in the diagram below.  I have suggested that 2cm is added to the width and length of the pattern.

One-piece Vintage Sewing Patterns

Set out below are three different versions of this bodice pattern:
  1. One with minimal gathers in the front panel seam.
  2. The second with full bust adjustment.
  3. And the third with the shaped cap sleeve.
The grain line has placed the bias along the neckline edge.  There are a number of places for the grain in this pattern.  Parallel to the centre back or parallel to the centre front is also very acceptable.

Vintage Sewing Patterns

If you have any questions regarding this Vintage Style bodice, please don't hesitate to use the comments section below.
Enjoy  :)

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Maga commented on 29-Dec-2014 06:39 PM
Oooh I like this - hope 2015 will finally produce enough time to let me try out some of your fabulous patterns. This would make a lovely summer blouse. Thanks for sharing these patterns and congratulations on your new site. All the very best for 2015
Lauriana commented on 29-Dec-2014 07:45 PM
I've read all the earlier posts about these one piece vintage patterns. As a pattern maker, I find them fascinating but I also wonder how well any of these ever worked in real life. The all-in-one shape removes all the usual places for fit alterations, which both a seamstress trying something new and a mid-20th-century RTW customer would often use.
And also, I have a bit of a collection of vintage magazines (I started collecting for the fashion pictures but love to get some social history at the same time) so I know something about the era. For example that here in Europe fabric was still quite expensive well into the 1950's. So, I believe most of these patterns are American and/or from the second half of the decade, by which time things had changed. In the Netherlands in 1950, the labour cost for a few bodice seams will definitely have outweighed the fabric consumption of a design like this.
eimear commented on 29-Dec-2014 09:54 PM
the new look to the web page is gorgeous, and the bodice pattern is fabulous -wishing you the very best for 2015, and thanks so so much for all the pattern shares.
Anita - studiofaro commented on 30-Dec-2014 10:16 AM
You are so right Lauriana, they do seem strange in that they suggest fabric is cheaper than labour and little concern for the amazing waste?? Most of the patents that use this principle are US in origin and I get a sense they are looking for efficiencies in production. They are very interesting records but perhaps they were just new ideas that didn't work out in real life. The earliest one I found was 1890's and the latest mid 1950's. Thanks for dropping by the new blog with all your generous comments Eimear, Maga and Lauriana. :)
Anna commented on 31-Dec-2014 03:09 AM
Sorry, what about the little shoulder tucks?
Love your blog.
Anita - studiofaro commented on 31-Dec-2014 12:20 PM
Hi Anna, thx for dropping by. They are more like wrinkles than tucks and are caused by placing the shoulder lines together with cap sleeve and close to the neckline. you could add extra length and make tucks or gathers if you like that feature. :)
maria del socorro commented on 31-Dec-2014 11:26 PM
Que hermoso,pienso desarrollarlo porque es una manera sencilla e innovadora,GRACIAS por compartir tan generosamente sus ideas y conocimientos
Anita - studiofaro commented on 01-Jan-2015 10:16 AM
My pleasure Maria. We would love to see you project if you are happy to share. :)
fotomarieke commented on 08-Jan-2015 11:14 PM
Your wordverification is now very clear.
I intend to make this one in the upcoming month, I plan the single twist .The fabric is from my stash. I'll start drafting and start with a muslin soon.
I am so pleased that you also have information for drafts for big bustcircumference and that you plan to show us how to do the sewing of the focal central point.
I'll keep you informed
Anita - studiofaro commented on 09-Jan-2015 07:23 AM
Thanks Fotomarieke. :) Looking forward to seeing your projects. Can you tell me if you received notification of my answer to your comment? i'm not sure if the system is working fully yet. thx
eimear commented on 15-Feb-2015 10:36 PM
hi anita, i did a quick draft of this pattern and was thinking of trying a toile for it in the next while (its on a list and depends on the remake pile) - i am assuming jersey would be the best fabric or what would you think..... ?
Anita - studiofaro commented on 16-Feb-2015 03:57 AM
Hi Eimear, it is wonderful to hear from you again. Yes I think a double jersey would be the thing to get a great fit. Although it should work well enough in a woven fabric but maybe not as comfortable to wear as the jersey. :)
eimear commented on 02-Apr-2015 12:17 AM
Hi Anita, thanks for that, i only checked the post again last week (and saw your reply) as i was to cut out the toile! toile/patter needs tweating but lovely pattern. thanks again
Anonymous commented on 02-Apr-2015 08:28 AM
Thanks Eimear. Wpuld love to see your sample? Let me know if you post it on your blog. :)

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The challenging patterns, the exciting new design trends and the impossible drapes; that's what I live for.  Disclaimer: These new ideas are offered here for testing and are offered without guarantee.  Allow yourself time and space to truly test and perfect the patterns for all your new ideas.  And please don't give yourself a hard time if the first toile is less than perfect.  It's simply part of a process. Enjoy :)

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All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available FOR HOME AND PERSONAL USE ONLY.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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