How to Do Fashion’s No. 12 Aalborg is the last project in my Vintage Inspired series of wrap dresses. I love the way this dress turned out. It is my total 1970’s dream dress. It’s definitely an example of the saying “finished is better than perfect.” I got the pattern and fabric back in May thinking I’d make it in June, then July, then August and so on. Here we are six months later and it’s finally done. With all the changes and shortcuts, I can’t really call this a “Pattern Review.” Rather, here’s a Project Review, where I’ll discuss my process and changes I made to create this beautifully slinky, 1970’s inspired wrap dress.
I was drawn to the No.12 Aalborg by How to Do Fashion for my 1970’s exploration. Between the length, collar, cuff and the giant sleeves, it had everything I was looking for in a 70’s inspired wrap dress pattern. I’ve made bishop style sleeves before, but these are just crazy huge. They’re so billowy and I love them so much. The sleeve finished off with a button cuff and loop. The dress closes either with a button or long tie. There are two neckline options – an inside facing or a big, flared shawl collar. The dress front is shaped by french darts and the back has four darts.
This geometric viscose from Minerva is the lightest, floatiest, most luxurious fabric I’ve ever touched. The medallion print is composed of black, white and a beautiful rusty brown on a navy background. It is so fine and feels so amazing on the skin. I had assumed based on its glorious slinkiness that it would be difficult to sew. I mean it’s no quilting cotton, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared. I took extra care cutting the pattern and used my walking foot for tricky bits.
This was not an easy sew for me. Sure it’s an intermediate pattern – the instructions are pretty sparce and the deatils of the design are definitely more complex – but my issue was definitely a mental one. I got to the point where I either needed to either throw it in the bin or finish it as simply as possible. So I chose to comprimise the design and forego the features that initially drew me to this pattern. I eliminated the shawl collar and finished the neckline with bias binding. Instead of a bound button placket on the sleeve, I opted for a simple cuff that slips over my hands without any fastening. I used my rolled hem foot to finish the edge instead of handsewing the hem. For the waist tie, I completely ignored the pattern and drafted my own.
In terms of fitting, I struggled. I’m learning that French darts are just tricky for fuller busts. (I’m glad it’s not just me!) I had to go through a lot of trial and error to get the darts to sit right. I curved the points and brought them really far in past my apex to eliminate the puckering. The width across the bust was great. I made a size 18, but I definiely think a size 16 with a full bust adjustment would have been a better option for fit. The waist and shoulders are too big, but I can’t be bothered to unpick my beautiful French seams to take it in. Instead, I’ll tie the belt tight and pin the front to keep it from falling open.
Pattern: How to Do Fashion No. 12 Aalborg
Fabric & Notions: 3.7 Meters drapey fabric (plus two buttons for the official version)
Design Modifications: Eliminated sleeve button placket, added sleeve cuff, redesigned waist ties, eliminated facing and collar
Fit Alterations: Dart manipulation, removed 6 cm from sleeve
Future Plans: Perhaps after mastering some of the techniques that I found overwhelming, I can come back to this pattern and make it as drafted.
While my sewing experience felt pretty negative, I am in love with this dress. It is a dream to wear. The bishop sleeves are so beautiful and the flowy skirt is divine. This fabric makes me feels like a goddess. I’m so happy the 1970’s are so on trend right now, but even when the trend fades, I’ll still treasure this piece.
Thanks for reading! This dress wraps up my mini investigation into vintage inspired wrap dresses. Soon I’ll be stitching up three knit wrap patterns to explore how the constuction of wrap dresses works in stretch fabrics!