In a jiffy: Simplicity 8682 dress

Saturday 18 September 2021

I'm very sceptical when it comes to pattern envelopes that just have an illustration and not an actual photograph of a model. Vintage patterns are notorious for the illustration looking completely different to how the project turns out because no-one these days has those teeny tiny waists and pointy busts.


a white lady posing in a pink and white polka dot dress next to plants in white pots

This dress however lives up to its promise - it did only take a jiffy to make and it turned out pretty much exactly like the pattern cover. This is Simplicity 8682 from 1970:

A photograph of a vintage sewing pattern on pink polka dot fabric

I've made this before back in 2018 which I still wear so I knew this would fit with just minimal fitting adjustments - I only had to add a few centimetres to the side seams below the waist dart. I did lower scoop the neckline at the front by a few more centimetres because the jewel neckline on this dress is really high. Even with dropping the seam line by another 2.5cm is still looks very high like the design but no longer feels like it is choking me.

a photograph of the inside neckline of a dress

Those long French darts on the front view give a really nice shape to the dress without making it too fitted or tight. 

a photograph of a white woman posing in a pink polka dress beside some plants in white pots

The back view just has vertical darts which normally isn't enough to stop the fabric pooling in my lower back. I usually prefer a dress with a waist seam for better fitting results, but this dress actually fits me quite well in the back. There are darts in the shoulder seam which give it that rounded shape. I really need to improve my posture looking at this photo - no wonder the neckline at the front of the dress felt like it was choking me!

a woman posing in a pink polka dot dress with her back towards the camera

The fabric I've used is a cotton duck from Spotlight in pink and white polka dots - I bought this back in 2019 so I was quite glad to finally get around to sewing with it. The fabric was quite stiff at first, but softened up a lot after a wash and a line dry, but isn't clingy or drapey so the dress retains its a-line shape.

a woman posing in a pink polka dot dress

So there you have it - a dress that lives up to its simple promise of being made in a jiffy. It's a good dress to recommend to a beginner sewer or someone just getting into sewing vintage patterns - there are quite a few copies available for sale on Etsy and by other vintage pattern sellers.

Suns out, dresses are on: Burda 07/2015 #115

Saturday 11 September 2021

It's only the beginning of spring here in Sydney, yet we hit 30 degrees (84F) here today - that doesn't bode well for when summer actually rolls around. Despite my love for sewing summer dresses I do not like the heat at all, but clearly I'm living in the wrong country!

After the last failure of a dress I decided to make a super simple dress that I've made before and I knew would fit with minimal effort. The real star in this project is the fabric - a bold graphic print cotton sateen from Nerida Hansen Fabrics. I'm not too impressed with the fabric though - it's rather thin and more like a cotton poplin or lawn than a sateen and it lost the sheen after the very first wash and the navy blue parts of the fabric look a bit worn out already. It works fine for this casual dress, but previous fabric I've bought from Nerida Hansen have been better quality than this, so it's a bit disappointing and I hope it's just this batch.

A picture of a lady posing next to a pool in a dress with a bold graphic print

The pattern is Burda 07/2015 #115, which I made back in 2015 when I was doing my Burda of the month challenge. I still wear that dress, so I knew this one would work out fine.

a sewing pattern cover of a dress

There's not much to say about this dress - it has a boat neckline with a facing, cap sleeves, a gathered skirt with elastic waist and a simple bodice with a bust dart. I picked this pattern not only because it is simple, but because I didn't want too many seam lines to avoid breaking up that large scale print. I deliberately placed the waistline at the dark stripe to avoid the stitching being too obvious.

a white lady posing beside a pool in a graphic blue and orange print dress

The back is similar to the front, just without the bust dart.
a photo showing the back of a woman standing next to a pool in a blue and orange print dress

And it has the all important pockets in the side seams. I'm not a fan of pockets in fitted dress because it adds bulk and they usually gape open, but in gathered skirts like this they are just right.

a white lady posing next to a pool in a blue and orange print dress

So all in all a great project - perfect match of fabric and pattern. I can see this dress getting a lot of wear this coming summer.

For the love of velvet

Thursday 9 September 2021

Earlier in this never ending lockdown I needed to buy some buttons, and I discovered that Spotlight has a flat rate shipping fee of $13 no matter how much you spend. So instead of spending more on shipping than the actual buttons, I decided to fill up my order with some patterns and fabrics which handily were on sale. I ended up spending way more than the cost of the buttons and shipping, but that's sewing logic for you! 

Plus I bought two beautifully soft velvet fabrics - one a teal crinkle velvet and the other an olive green quilted velvet. I've only sewn with velvet once before many years ago so I wasn't sure what to expect, but these were easy to sew and all three projects turned out great.

The crinkle velvet I turned into a super simple three quarter circle skirt cut to a midi length. I did use an old 1980s pattern for this skirt, but there are loads on online circle skirt calculators if you can be bothered doing the maths and marking. 

For the waistband I used a lovely patterned elastic picked up from Pitt Trading - the two go together fabulously and it's a really quick way to do a waistband! I just used my coverstitch machine to topstitch the elastic to the skirt so that it would stretch without popping a seam.

I used the rolled hem function on my overlocker to finish the hem - doing it this way again was far quicker than doing a traditional turned up hem but it also gave a wavy lettuce edge effect which suits the look really well.

From the olive green quilted velvet I managed to make two projects - a bomber jacket and a vest, so that makes it a total bargain. I don't plan on wearing them together, but I have been wearing them individually alot lately - it really elevates my dog walking outfits!!

The jacket pattern is from a 2014 Burda Easy magazine which I've made twice before, and apart from the welt pockets (which are tricky) it is indeed a quick and easy sew. I used some black ponte that was in my stash for the cuffs and collar, and fully lined it with some black silk that was from deep in my stash. I also happened to have a black separating zipper in the stash so all the elements came together for a quick and satisfying sew.

For the vest I used Simplicity 1499 which is a great pattern with a couple of variations. It's only been in recent years that I started wearing vests at all, but I see a few more of these in my future.

 I made a few adjustments by fully lining the vest instead of using binding around the edges because frankly I find sewing on binding neatly and evenly a really fiddly and annoying task. I also used some bronze snaps because I didn't have another separating zip in the stash, and the colour of the bronze looks great against the green.

I had to use some of that black ponte from my stash for the side back panels because I didn't quite have enough velvet fabric, but I think that just adds a bit of a sporty look to it.

And the best part is that it has quite big pockets inset in the princess seam which I used the velvet for both the pocket bag and lining which makes it bulge out as you can see in the photo below, but it sure is nice sliding your hands into a velvet cocoon on a cold day. 

To be honest, I haven't worn the velvet skirt yet - not because I don't like it but because I've had nowhere special enough to wear it. Now the weather is warming up it will need to wait until next year. But the jacket and vest have been worn lots in the last few weeks so it was a good buy even though technically I'm trying to sew down my stash and not buy new fabric....

A sewing miss: Vogue 8685

Sunday 5 September 2021

You can't win 'em all. A wadder every now and then is inevitable, especially if you don't make a fitting toile! This dress definitely falls within the category of a not so great outcome, but hey it's only fabric and a bit of time that's been lost and right now I have lots of both.

a white woman posing in a maroon dress

Actually this dress took quite a lot of time to finish and it's only because of refusal to make any new UFOs that I finished this at all. And looking at these photos of the finished dress I'm probably going to refashion into a skirt when I get over the frustration of this pattern.

So this pattern is Vogue 8685 which is now OOP but has 34 positive reviews over on Pattern Review. Being a pear shaped, my waist is relatively narrow compared to my hips so I liked the focus of this pattern on the midriff.

a picture of a sewing pattern cover

However, the midriff band and the curved yoke was just too much for my figure - it was too tight around the hip and too loose on the top which just looked terrible. Here is the first iteration of the dress made according to the pattern:

a photo of a badly fitting dress

a photo of a badly fitting dress

a photo of a badly fitting dress

So out came the unpicker and I adjusted the pattern pieces by letting out and taking in the seam where needed to make it fit. But then the curved yoke just looked droopy and the seam line finished at my widest part which just emphasised my saddlebag thighs. No photos of this stage because I was really annoyed with it.

In a last ditch effort to prevent this becoming a UFO, I decided to take off the curved yoke and just have the midriff waistband piece. I had to fuss around a bit with the skirt to make it fit by adding some pleats to the front and cutting out some excess from the back and then re-sew the invisible zip matching the seam lines again. So now it's finished.....but it's not great.

a photo of a white woman posing in a maroon dress

a photo of a white woman posing in a maroon dress

The proportions are all off because that waistband sits too high, there is too much fabric under my bust which makes it look floofy and those pleats I added to the skirt just emphasise a round tummy. And those sleeves! Those sleeves are way too big and way too long but I could face more re-sewing on this project, so instead I added elastic to the cuff to make it look a bit like a bell sleeve. But actually they just look too big.

a photo of a woman posing in a maroon dress

This fabric is a really lovely deep plum crepe that I picked up for a bargain from the Sewing Basket, a charity run fabric and craft store selling donated items. I am deeply sad that I used this lovely fabric on this catastrophe, but hopefully I can still give it a life as a skirt eventually.

Given the glowing reviews on Pattern Review, I think this wadder is all about me and not the pattern so if you have this pattern and were thinking of using don't be put off by my awful outcome. But I do recommend making a muslin and possibly using a stretch fabric. And if it doesn't work out, well it's all experience for life's rich tapestry isn't it?