My mother gave me this piña fabric from the Philippines last summer. I saw the perfect vintage pattern for it (Simplicity 5514). I finally put it together just in time for Valentines’ Day. I picked the pattern because of it’s simple lines and that it only had french darts in the front. I was a little worried that I would have to shorten the dress where the french darts were, but was able to go just below. I lopped off several inches from the bottom for being short and raised the waist by about 3/4 of an inch.
I had a thrift shop silk dress that I placed under the piña dress but needed to make some alterations. I could have kept it simple but I didn’t. What a pain that was. I had intended on cutting the dress short and using the fabric that I removed for a ruffle below. Had a terrible time with my Bernina ruffler attachment and Babylock ruffler. Finally, got a good ruffle with the #16 foot. Once it was attached it looked terrible and would catch underneath. So I sliced it off. Of course, it was indecently short for my purposes so had to add to the bottom. I did that with silk sashing that I had. Not my best work, oh well. I also added straps that were more substantial than what it came with and took the bust in a 1/4 inch on both sides. I can also wear the silk dress separately.
The original pattern did not have sleeves so I drafted sleeves based on Simplicity 7082. I used a tutorial to make sure the sleeve was wide enough. I did have to shorten the vertical height of the sleeve cap. Don’t know if I just measured incorrectly.
Because the material was sheer and shifty, I used a light table that my husband made me as a gift for use with my calligraphy (which I have not done in ages) to match tracing marks. Worked like a charm!
Here is a close of up of the front detail as well as the french seams that were used and the french darts. Perfect insertion of an invisible zipper for the first time using the Bernina #35 Foot (took it from my mom’s machine).
The excess fabric had to be trimmed off the edges of the embroidered scallops.
I also have a slip that belonged to my mother that no longer fits her. It looks just like Simplicity 3833 which I have in my pattern stash. It went with a similar style dress which has since fallen apart. I took the dress apart and made a pattern that I will use for another dress. Works well with my dress except the front of the upper chest is a little wider and you will notice that extends beyond the seams of the other dress, but most people won’t care.
Addendum 4/30/13: More Recent Pictures