20th Century

Madame Ornata’s sapphire blue 1930’s dress – the bodice

I’ve  skipped ahead a bit with Madame Ornata’s 1930s dress, showing you the finished (well, mostly) product before all the construction shots, so it’s time for a re-cap.

To make the slippery silk charmeuse easier to work with, and to help the bodice hang better (and hide any lumps and bumps), we flat lined the bodice pieces in an adorable cotton print from Madame O’s stash.

The cut-out and flat lined bodice pieces, waiting to be assembled

Madame O and I worked on the dress together – one person pinning and ironing while the other person sewed.  It was a very fun and efficient way to sew.

Me on Bernini, Madame O's machine

The skirt is topstitched to the bodice, but we tried to hide the stitching everywhere else on the dress, so there was a lot of very, very careful, slow stitching.

Carefully 'stitching in the ditch'.

For the most part, I was the sewer, and Madame O was the ironer and pinner, and (most importantly), fetcher of cups of tea.

Irons, straight-edges and sewing machines - all that you need for sewing!

The bodice back, interior view

And the exterior view

The bodice front, mostly assembled

I love the details of the V in front

Some final assembly and pinning (and don't you love my socks?)

Careful pin placement = perfect seams

A final fitting - over a shirt for warmth!

With everything assembled, we did a final fitting.  I ended up having to take in the sides of the bust a tiny bit to make it lie perfectly.

That tiny bulge at the side needs to go.

With the bodice all fitted, I carefully pinned it to the skirt, so that the bodice could be basted, and then topstitched to the skirt.


You can already see the gorgeous silhouette of the dress

Madame Ornata described this as a dress made up of a bunch of random pieces that made no sense at all until you put them all together.  It is true that with some patterns you can see the shape of the garment right away, but with this one, there wasn’t anything until there was everything.

The side view, with the back selvedges pinned together.

The back view. I love the '30s detail of the double train.


  1. *sigh* It’s gorgeous and I am delighted to see that Madame O has such FABULOUS taste in sewing machines!

  2. Madame Ornata says

    I am soooo lucky. Wore it to the Windy Lindy. It is a dream to wear; silky soft, comfy, cool, great to dance in, my favourite colour ah sigh. I got heaps of lovely comments and felt like a Princess all night. And how often do you get to feel like that?

    I am even more inspired to make other 30s dresses now. And I have been told my body suits the 30s shape(being ‘boobs on a tube’). I’ve seen a drop dead gorgeous black dress that I’m aching to make. So please watch this space….

    Thanks so much to insanely talented and generous Dreamstress for her time and knowledge.

    Ditto, MrsC I have always said you are a woman of extremely good taste. But Bernini is not long for this world, she will be retired soon. She is much cherished but is sadly no longer her best. I’m still deciding which way to go but I will probably go Janome now as I experienced a less than satisfactory interaction with the Bernina agent here that has really put me off Bernina. Although I love the machine itself, it’s an expensive investment so reliability and good long term support is equally important.
    If anyone has feedback or advice around this I’d really like to hear it.

Comments are closed.