Style 2978: just a little slip of a thing

the pattern:
Style 2978 copyright 1998 Style Patterns Ltd.
Style Patterns is a really difficult name to search-engine, you guys. Which might explain why Style Patterns went out of business. Or were purchased (exciting edit: yes, Style was purchased, by Simplicity. I tweeted and asked). Or…????
Name Too Vague For The Internet Age.
I would love to get all sassy and say that Style Co. should’ve thought of that in 19-whenever-they-started, but I can’t even find, like, a wikipedia stating the date of their founding.
I mean, I didn’t try that hard? Maybe like two seconds of googling? But two seconds is all it takes, come on! Internet Age!
All I know for sure is that Style existed as recently as 1998, and that I bought this pattern at a yardsale in probably 2002.

the fabric:
This embroidered primitive-pleated stuff came into my posession also somewhere around 2002, through a friend who was working as a personal assistant to fashion designer, who had a studio clearance sale and clearanced a bunch of stuff.
Stuff like a huge bag of muslin skirt samples that I bought, thinking they would definitely be awesome for something someday, and have finally just this summer admitted that what they are awesome for is: breaking down into useable muslin and zippers.
Oh well.
But the sale had a bunch of other neat stuff like machine embroidered scraps that would start off embroidered in blue and switch to orange, because they were just trying out the color. I made shorts out of some of that.
The best part of the sale was getting to check out the workroom and think about all the ways that industry patternmaking is different from theater patterning is different from fashion patterning is different from commercial patterning. The more I work through my collection of commercial patterns, the more I accept that each method is suited to it’s particular situation, and no one way is universally better than another, and I need to just relax and be flexible and Vive the Differences.
So, the fabric. Here’s a picture. It’s double layered, the top layer sort of a blue grey cotton, embroidered through to the gauzy underlayer with green thread. The embroidery has a great sheen, reflects lots of light but is not metallic. And it’s pleated pleated pleated.

the dress
This dress was SUPER DIFFICULT AND ANNOYING. And it wasn’t the pattern, it was my own stupid fault for being stupid stubborn.
What happened was I refused to look up any of the million online tutorials that show how to do a continuous facing on a neckline and armscye and have it all turn rightside out.
I figured it would all work out fine. I mean, I’ve done it before, recently even, and it all worked out. I don’t remember how exactly, but whatever, I’d just figure it out, right?
No!!!!!! I didn’t!
After opening some seams, closing some other seams, tearing my finger with a pin (which, if you sew you know it’s possible to not just poke your finger, but actually rip it, gross) I made a move of desperation: I checked the pattern instructions. And guess what? There aren’t any shoulder seams. The shoulders have some kind of ridiculous button and loop detail, which I had previously vetoed because a button would be painful under the shoulder strap of my messenger bag, plus no one would ever see that detail!
I mean look! Look at the pattern! I challenge you to see that button and loop detail! On the photo or the illustration!
So then after breaking down and checking the instructions, and finding them no help, I was considering just doing the stupid buttons after all, when I suddenly figured out how to stitch the facing so it would turn rightside out. Which is good because it’s good to figure stuff out, but bad because it reinforces my belief that everything will work out if I just stubbornly power through it.
But wait, there’s more awesome. By this time, I’d handled the dress so much that the pleats had released a little and it was too big.
So I took out the facing and took in the back and sides and made piping out of some green dupioni to finish the neck and armsceyes and added a fake keyhole and a button and was OVER IT.

While I was handstitching the hem I started wondering if I will even wear this dress, and then wondered if I would’ve worn it in 1998, and then got to thinking how my dress-needs in 1998 were pretty simple:
A dress needed to be serious enough for portfolio reviews and job interviews, stylish enough for opening nights and art galleries, and boring enough that no one would notice it was the same dress being worn to all these different events.
And the funny thing is, I had that dress, it was basically this dress, but in a fly-under-the-radar black jersey.

The thing about wearing this dress now though, is that it is very much like a night gown. In terms of comfort, but also in terms of I feel weird leaving the house in it.
In a more stable fabric, like, oh I don’t know, one of the fabrics the pattern told me to use, it would be better. What this pleated fabric really wants is to be sewn in a tube and used in, like, Aïda or something similarly Ancient Egyptian.

Sew It or Throw It:
Yeah, I’d sew it again. I mean why not, I’ve figured out the facing, the hard part’s over.

update 5/January/2016: I wore this dress once and then it went to the thrift shop. Could never get over the nightgown factor. The pattern is still a Sew It, although if it weren’t for the included cardigan pattern I would revoke Sew status altogether.


8 thoughts on “Style 2978: just a little slip of a thing

    1. Yeah the button closure at the shoulders is a weird idea. If it were forward of the shoulder seam, so you could actually see the button and loop, maybe.
      I don’t have a preference for finishing, but for this dress next time I would do a full lining. In a shocking color surprise! Like have the dress be red, clean finished with the lining at the neck and armscyes, but separately at the side slits and hems so there’s a flash of bright teal lining when I walk! Or dark purple with fuschia lining! Or aquamarine with orange lining!


  1. I love this. My mother always used patterns and I loved the images. She once sewed 3 shifts for me using vintage Lilly Pulitzer fabric given to me by a friend. She said she like to sew for me because I fit the pattern size. Which from my mother was a huge compliment. Her mother was a professional seamstress a founder of the ILGWU.


    1. That’s really cool! I’ve seen the ILGWU label a few times, it’s even been pointed out to me at work, like someone will get excited and say, “Hey, check it out, this one is an International Ladies Garment Workers Union,” and then we’ll all feel a moment of solidarity.
      I love that she liked to sew for you because you fit the pattern size! Totally understand that!


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