Monday, April 29, 2013

Simplicity 1609

Until I can draft my own patterns, I'll always be slightly obsessive when it comes to purchasing them. I mark on my calendar the dates my local fabric store puts them on sale and I get their within the first hour of being open so I get as close to first pick as possible (they are bad at keeping enough vintage repo & Gretchen "Gertie" Hirsch in stock!).

When I came across this style, I couldn't pass it up!

Find this pattern on the Simplicity website
As you well know, I'm bonkers for prints, and this dress style is purrrfect for going all out. When I began this dress I had intended to wear it to the Earth Day event I participated in for work. Read about it here. In true Earth Day spirit, I decided to only use materials I had on hand, and if I needed anything it would be purchased from one of my local thrift stores. Rummaging through my little stash of cotton prints led me to a forgotten treasure: a purple, pink, & teal Damask print with gold accents. I had bought it with the intention of using it for the skirt of a dress, but I thought that this particular project would put it to better use and show off how beautiful the fabric is more than a full skirt and crinoline. Plus, it's kinda psychedelic! It was destiny to use it for a 60's mod styled dress.

Now, there were a few issues while making the dress. First being, I was a dummy and didn't check to see how long the zipper needed to be. It calls for a 22" zip, and the longest I had on hand was 16". I ended up creating a loop enclosure (is that even the proper term?)  up at the top of my dress to finish it off.

I think I may add a second button to the top..thoughts?

Another thing I didn't have was interfacing. I didn't think it was too big a deal to not use any but once all was said and done, I did feel like interfacing would have made a difference with the collar and around the underarm. But hey, now I know!

There was really only one skill about this that had me fretting: Understitching. *cringggge*
Don't ask me why, I don't have a reasonable explanation (other than I might be attempting to sew far too late into the evening) for why I just couldn't wrap my head around it before. I suppose I found it irritating that I couldn't understitch the entire way around the shoulder. So, I got as far as I could before the fabric got too bunched around my machine. I hope that made sense..ha! If anyone has a tip for understitching as professionally as possible, let me know!

Okay, don't laugh at my attempts to zig zag the edge in this photo. I'm totally giving away my noob status here.

I've since clipped all the threads...I was eager to take a photo!

I started my zig zag stitch at the very edge but it kept bunching (I'm still trying to figure out my machine..), so I attempted to mimic what I've seen other home sewers do and stitch a little further in. Looking at this photo, I think I may have been rushing. Any recommendations on a width for the zig zag? zig zag zig zag zig zag. Could I have said that anymore in one paragraph?!

So, zippers have been a challenge for me since I began sewing, but my boss is always saying, "oh they're so easy! They're so easy!" Yeah, well....they are getting easier. Here's my zip on this dress

I must be missing something where lapped zippers are concerned. This one started out proper, but managed to turned into a double lapped zipper (is that even a term?). You can see where the zipper began to expose itself towards the top of the photo. I even hand basted the seam allowance to prevent this from happening...oh well! You live and learn!

One detail that really sold me on this pattern was the collar. After construction I realized that I pivoted on one side and curved the other. I should be diligent and fix it. Perhaps I will later.

In the spirit of Earth Day I used this little scrap I purchased at a thrift store and it worked perfectly!
Welp, here's the front!

That blob in the back is Lily.
You'll see much more of her as she does indeed pose for the camera normally.

All in all I'm VERY pleased with the way this dress turned out! Each one I make becomes easier. It's wonderful to be able to feel yourself progressing at something you love. Next time I think I'll make it in a brocade for a more formal look. I also plan on lining the entire garment next time no matter what fabric I choose. This one keeps sticking to my tights!

Woo what a long post! Thanks for reading!


  1. This is great! Where did you find the fabric?

    1. I found it at a local fabric shop that's been in town since the 50's! I do plan on going back to find out the brand. I'll let you know too :)

    2. Nice! Also, about the pattern-drafting thing... buy the book "Pattern Making for Fashion Design" by Helen Joseph Armstrong if you're good at teaching yourself. It will teach you how to make your own size pattern blocks and then literally any other thing you want to make in there. It's all I ever use!

    3. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll definitely end up purchasing that one :) I love learning from books.
      I just started reading, "Make Your Own Dress Patterns" by Adele P. Margolis and so far its helpful! Have you ever read that one before?

  2. Hi! I just found your blog via Manic Pop. I love this dress and especially the fine gold line throughout the fabric!
    I used to zig zag my hems too and would do the same thing as in your picture, and then one day I read my sewing machines user guide and found that it has an overcasting foot! they are so good! its just a zig zag foot with a kinda guard so that the zig zag stays right on the edge. Im sure if it doesn't come with one, you could pick one up from the store or the supplier?
    Cant wait to see the brocade one!

    1. Thank you! The gold lines were a deal maker when I was contemplateing this print :)
      I'll have to look into an overcasting foot! I found a decent overlock stitch, it works decently but I'm a sucker for accessories :P