Working on this 1973 shift dress drove me crazy.
All the problems are my own fault for being impatient and not following instructions to the letter, but still... It is so frustrating when things don't work! This one was tossed into (and retrieved from) my sewing trash bin more than once before it was declared complete.
It called for a stretch fabric and I used a woven poly gabardine with only a little give. The sleeves aren't too tight (for once) and I can move my arms just fine, but the back neck curves up towards my hairline and floats away from my neck in this really strange way. It might not do that if it was able to stretch properly across the shoulders.
My trusty Husqvarna portable died (permanently this time) mid-sew and I used the Pfaff, which does not have a zipper foot, to complete the dress. ...why yes, I did attempt to stitch in a zipper with a regular foot. In case you were wondering, it doesn't really work all that well.
I ended up sewing over the zipper teeth in a few (read: a zillion) places. In other places the fabric is stitched so close to the zipper that it catches badly. For a while there the zipper was completely un-usable. Because I'd stitched it in with extremely tiny stitches and the fabric was fraying like a mo-fo, ripping the whole thing out and starting over wasn't going to work. Instead I had to carefully pick out all of the stitches between the teeth with a seam ripper and then tack the zipper down again. Next time I haven't got the right foot I will sew the zipper in by hand. I detest hand-picking but it couldn't have been worse than the amount of struggling I had to do to get the zipper to work. It mostly works now and it doesn't look as bad as I'd feared.
Side Note: All my seam ripping and crying made my husband feel very bad for me and, as usual he came to my rescue. He figured out a way to make the old Husqvarna's snap-in feet work on my Pfaff...AND bought me a new vintage Husqvarna machine. Yay!
Anyway, despite being snug in the shoulders and hips, I still had about 4 inches of extra fabric in the waist. After re-curving the side seams and adding back darts it looks much better. It was worth all the suffering and I like the way it came out, but next time when a pattern calls for stretch fabric, I'll use stretch fabric!