Gertie hit 2023 off with a bang with her new Patreon theme and first pattern. In fact, it was the reason I signed back up to her Patreon. Last summer, I paused membership as it was annoying me that my pregnant body was not compatible with the patterns that were being released (although I wasn’t really feeling a lot of the patterns last year). The Society Dress, though, was the pattern I needed to kick off my own sewing this year. The same was true of the first pattern of 2022 – the Joan Wiggle Dress. Glamour is what Gertie does best!
The Society Dress is a 1940s-inspired fitted knit dress in two lengths with two sleeve options; you an choose between an everyday appropriate look in a knee length A-line skirt and short pleated sleeves or a six-godet floor-length gown with bishop sleeves. There is also an optional draped cowl hood. For me, the only option was the short sleeved knee length dress which has all the feels of a 1940s tea dress but in jersey – all the impact AND comfort: what’s not to love? While I have to admire the aesthetic of the gown, I would never have cause to make that version (unless, of course, I was going to a costume party and then I may find a use for it). This is a tightrope I walk in every vintage-inspired sewing project I take on; to ensure I wear the garment and it does not wear me. I find that vintage can be costume-y which is not the look I am going for which is why I think of my wardrobe as ‘vintage inspired’ for modern living.
The pattern itself is straightforward – there are no complicated techniques required for this pattern (generally one of the greatest features of knit patterns). However, I did have some issues with this pattern, namely to do with the fit and sizing. I measured myself for this pattern and made the size that corresponded to my measurements – while it fitted my bust well, the shoulders had an extreme amount of extra fabric – it was little big all over, in fact, but the shoulders were the worst. I ended up having to take the shoulders in by 1.5 inches. I find this kind of irritating. It’s a common problem I find with patterns that are graded for curvy women; people assume that ‘curves’ is commensurate with being larger all over, which is not always the case.
After making the adjustments, I’ve realised I could probably just size down next time (although I suspect the shoulders would still be too big so it might be worth checking out adjustments that would be needed there, too. I made the dress in a viscose jersey (probably not the kind of fabric Gertie would recommend – the requirements are for a fabric that stretches one way by 50-70% and this stretches a bit both ways) but I love the light, floaty feel of this fabric. I also think the little rosebuds have a retro vibe, and combined with the pattern, has created just the vision I had in mind for this dress. I will wear this over and over again!
Fabric from Jenny Stitches.