All The Oldies & The Goldies Playin' On The Radio [Simplicity 1609]


I already posted pictures of this dress worn, but I wanted to give a proper write-up of sewing the dress itself. This is probably the most quickly I've ever put a dress together, as I decided about 36 hours before graduation that I didn't like what I had planned to wear and that I needed to make something else. I'd had the fabric sitting in my stash for a couple of years, waiting to become part of a skirt for a 1950s-inspired dress, but I'm really glad it got used in this project as I think the simple cut was perfect for showing off the large scale fleur-de-lys pattern!
 This was my first time making up the pattern, but it went together really easily! I'd grabbed Simplicity 1609 and another vintage reprint pattern when patterns were last on sale, and I'm glad I had a pattern that turned out to be quick to put together! I eliminated the front seam, cutting the front piece on the fold instead, as to keep it in would have ended up chopping up the pattern on the fabric.
 I didn't have enough of the fabric to get fussy in how I cut the back, and as a result it's not totally even. It's not too bad, but it would have looked even better if I'd been able to line the pattern up along the centre-back seam.
 This was my first time inserting a lapped zipper - not by choice, but because my local fabric shop didn't have a long enough invisible zip and I didn't have time to shop around! I'd replaced one in another dress, so I wasn't approaching it utterly confused, and it went in really well...all three times that I ended up putting it in.
 Instead of using a facing like the pattern called for, I ended up stitching in bias tape and then hand-stitching it down. I was worried that a facing (something I wasn't experienced with) would confuse me and possibly mean I couldn't finish on time, so I went with a tried and tested method of encasing the raw edges in bias tape. I'm happy with how neat it looks, but it causes the fabric to lay differently than a facing would, so I'll be following the instructed method when I make the pattern again in the hopes of eliminating the awkwardness around the underarm where it sticks out instead of lying flat.

I ended up having time to overedge stitch all the raw edges, which I'm really pleased about! It's a new feature I've been playing with since February, and I like how professional it makes a garment look, as well as hopefully making garments more long lasting. I also finished the hem with my new blind hem foot, which I'm still getting used to but which makes the hem process a lot neater. My only real problems with the dress are the bagginess under the arms, and there's excess fabric at the end of the zip. I know where I went wrong with both of these things, so when I next make up the dress I should be able to eliminate the problems!

Overall, I'm really happy with the dress. It fits well, and it was a welcome change to introduce a short Sixties silhouette into my sewing plans. The pattern went together quickly, and the dress has survived a trip through the washing machine to become part of my work wardrobe.

Title from Studio Killer's Friday Night Gurus.

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