The Objet d’Art Dress

Oh I’m excited for this one! My version of the Decades of Style Objet d’Art dress has been a while in the making but, once I got properly under way, I just knew that this pattern was something special.

After wrapping up my dress for the Big Vintage Sew-Along, I was suffering a serious case of lost sew-jo. I poured a whole lot of effort into turning V9127 into something special and, although I was so incredibly proud of what I produced, I ended up feeling pretty burnt out. I wrote a while back about my search for a pattern that would help me recoup some enthusiasm and the Objet d’Art dress has definitely done the job. And here it is…

This dress is a 1950s inspired pattern – although, as I mentioned in my previous Vision Board post, I get definite 1940s garden party vibes from this one. The neckline and pocket detailing are truly unique points of focus for this dress. When I stumbled across the pattern (I say stumbled but I peruse the Decades of Style website on a near-constant basis), it was those unexpected twists on a classically simple silhouette that drew me in. These incredible details are something that Decades of Style patterns always do amazingly well – the Belle Curve dress is another example. And in the Objet d’Art dress, the detailing is used to perfect effect.

What is truly innovative about this pattern is its simplicity. Looking at the neckline or the pockets, you’d think that some serious sewing trickery was involved. But it is as simple as sewing darts and positioning them correctly. That’s it. Follow the markings and you end up with a gorgeous lapped neckline and some fantastic triangular pockets.

I’m trying not to rave too hard but I’m struggling to find anything negative to say about this pattern. I used a PDF version of the pattern and had no problems putting it together – that is to say, all the pieces fit and the markings were super clear. I went straight in without making a muslin (I really am the worst when it comes to making muslins because I’m impatient and always prefer to just alter as I go), grading the pattern out one size at the hips. The finished product fit like a glove with no further alterations to the size at all. Bear in mind that the dress borders on having a pencil fit around the hips/bum (although this could just be on me) so make sure you account for that when choosing your size. That pencil shape gives it a gorgeous silhouette but obviously a little less ease. Also there’s a fab kick pleat on the back of the skirt which I love!

My fiancé told me the left-hand photo captures my spirit because, in his words, ‘you look like you’re trying to teach me something’.

Fact: I hate zip insertions. They are the bane of my life. And, for some reason, no matter how many Youtube videos I watch, I’m still rubbish at it. I don’t think there’s a single zip in any one of my garments that doesn’t look at least a bit jerry-rigged. But I figure as long as it’s functional and doesn’t fall out, I’ve done the job. Probably my only piece of sadness about the Objet d’Art dress was having to put in a zip. It came out just fine in the end, although my hand is strategically covering a slight puckering at the bottom. Tips on zip insertions are always welcome (seriously, please help me).

The last thing to mention is the fabric! One of the things I loved about the look of the pattern was the photos I saw on the website, with a version of the dress made up in a green striped fabric. The pattern is designed to work incredibly well with vertical stripes. So I did a bit of hunting around and decided to exploit the gift voucher that I won from The Splendid Stitch for a photo of the Belle Curve dress that I submitted for Vintage Pledge July. The fabric is a Light Blue, Navy and White Striped Shirting  and it worked gorgeously well. If you choose to use a vertically striped fabric, no magic is needed on your end to achieve the final effect – if you position the pattern pieces as instructed, you’ll end up with a lapped neckline that is accentuated by the direction of the stripes. I particularly love the way that this came out on my version.

So there we have it! Another gorgeous pattern from Decades of Style who have, so my most recent look at the website has informed me, added a whole load more PDF patterns. I have a couple of other projects lined up for the next month or so but trust me when I say that it won’t be long before a new Decades of Style pattern is featured here!

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12 thoughts on “The Objet d’Art Dress

  1. lindylaura says:

    Oh my gosh. Please don’t tell my fiancé if he asks, but I just gave my checking account to Decades of Style. I love the neckline and stripes! Excellent matching!

    I’d say the ends of my zippers have gotten better since 1) I bought an invisible zipper foot, 2) I watched one of Sew Over It’s videos [I’m sorry I can’t remember which one] where she aims for the side of the stitching line as opposed to the stitching line when sewing the rest of the seam. I would say my problem with zippers is the top side. Everything gets lumpy and not square.

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    • sewforvictory says:

      I actually didn’t match a thing! If you buy vertically striped fabric and place the pattern pieces on the grain line, it all just works out that way. It’s amazingly simple! As for the zipper, that’s great advice. It really does seem to be a problem getting the seams at the end to lie flat. But I think your advice will help! I’ll definitely give it a go! X

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  2. Bree says:

    I’m so in love with this dress! The pockets with the stripe fabric are devine. Well done! As to zippers, It looks as though you are using an invisible zip but not getting close enough to the teeth, a foot will do that, and that is why it’s bubbling at the bottom. You shouldn’t be able to see the zip at all when done up. Hope this helps!

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    • sewforvictory says:

      Thank you! It’s such a gorgeous pattern! With the zip, I do use an invisible zipper foot. But I have a real problem with stopping it from sewing over the teeth. I always make sure to press out the teeth ( I saw it on one of the videos I watched) which solved the problem (for the most part) but now means my stitches don’t run close enough to the teeth. I’m not so worried about the zip being exposed on this dress since it’s a side zip (and sometimes a zip colour contrast can look great) but on some projects it’s a real pain. I’m just not sure how to avoid sewing over the teeth but still get the stitching close enough. Any more advice would be very appreciated!

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    • sewforvictory says:

      Thank you! Decades of Style are definitely my favourite pattern makers! I’m hoping to make many more in future – budget allowing 🙂 Are there any that you would particularly recommend? X

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  3. Liz says:

    Laura, your blog is so inspiring, and your vintage clothes are excellent! My favourite has to be the Objet d’Art dress, which is now top of my list of things to make.
    I’ve been thinking about your comments about inserting a concealed zip, as this is something that has bothered me ever since they were invented (yes, I am that old!). When I was studying dressmaking at teacher training college in the 1970s I was having probs inserting an ordinary (not concealed) zip into velvet knickerbockers (all the rage in those days!). I was worried that the machine zipper foot would crush the pile. My teacher said: Why don’t you sew it in by hand? I was daunted by this idea, even though it was only a 20cm (8″) zip! However I did as she suggested, it was quicker than I expected and no stitches showed on the right side.
    I’ve never looked back: I hand-stitch all my zips, even the dress-length ones, and especially if they are concealed zips. Pin the open zipper to the seam allowance, having pressed the seam allowance over, so you have a crease to follow along the stitching line. It’s simple to roll the teeth and hold them back while you work small back-stitches or even running stitches close to the teeth. I’ve found that on thicker fabrics it’s even possible to stitch the zip on the right side, using a slip-stitch. Keep the stitches fairly loose.
    In the long-run it saves time, because you get it right first time, rather than having to unpick machine stitches if it has gone wrong.
    The bottom of the zip is always a problem, but less so with hand-stitching.
    If you still want to persevere with the machine method, a dedicated concealed zipper foot (different from conventional zipper foot) should work best, as it won’t allow the needle to get too close to the teeth. By far the best YouTube video I have found is this one, which also shows the best way to deal with the bottom of the zip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCLmY-d4Qww
    Good luck!
    Liz

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    • sewforvictory says:

      Amazing! Thank you so much for the suggestions. I don’t generally shy away from a bit of hand stitching, so I think I will definitely give it a go. I’m going to watch the video now! I super appreciate your help and thanks so much for your kind words about my makes. X

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