The gorgeous and gracious Debi, who I’m sure you all know from her blog My Happy Sewing Place and her work on the Sew Weekly, recently hosted a challenge in celebration of Thanksgiving.
The instructions were to use a piece of fabric or pattern you had won or been gifted or to use a tutorial from another blogger in the spirit of saying thanks to the collaborative community that we are all a part of. And lucky me, the day after reading Debi’s Sew Grateful challenge, I won a blogiversary giveaway of two vintage patterns from Amy of Sewing Through the Motions.
I decided to make Simplicity 4908, which according to the Vintage Patterns wiki is from the early to mid 60’s.
The dress has a princess seamed bodice and kimono sleeves. The front panel and the belt are all cut as one piece and it finishes at the back with a bow. Which makes me feel a little like I’ve accidentally made a bridesmaid dress…
Image via Aeva Couture
I blame Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Still, I think a 60’s vintage dress in coral sounds just lovely so I didn’t let that put me off. Nor did I get defeated by the amount of pattern alterations that were needed.
To start with, I graded it from a 36in to a 41in bust before tackling the full bust adjustment. Frustratingly because of all the angles involved in the side front panel it just wouldn’t come together so instead I created a new pattern from a hodgepodge of ones I already knew fit.
The first pieces I needed were for the shoulder princess-line bodice, so I grabbed my Sewaholic Pendrell blouse. Next the kimono sleeves, which came from the white lace tee I made a few weeks ago. I fit the pendrell pieces under the bust (it’s usually a loose blouse) then cut the side panel at the midriff to mimic the curve on the original piece. The bottom of the side panel attached to the front piece. The kimono sleeve addition was pinned to the side panel before tracing it off again and adjusting the seam allowance.
The back piece was the only originally graded piece I used, except for the bow. The only change made was to make the neckline scooped rather than V- or bateau necked. I continued the belt from the front piece around the back tracing the outline of that piece.
The skirt I adapted from Burdastyle’s Jenny Pencil Skirt, and the pockets came from another pattern.
You can see the original pieces above and below you can see how they sort of piece together.
In the end, it came together pretty well despite all the improvisations. By the time I’d made all the changes, a muslin might have killed me so I just went ahead and whipped it up but next time I’l remove a little length under the bust and definitely add more ease at the hips.
Still for my first attempt at sewing a vintage pattern, I’m chuffed.