A Christmas Dress

Simplicity 8498

Simplicity 8498. I would love to add some crazy braid along the front seaming.

It actually happened. It involved staying up late, not finishing several other things, and some seriously slipshod stitching, but my Simplicity 8498 (AKA Simplicity 3833) got made!

I changed my mind on the fabric—I had planned on a teal plaid cotton. But that really felt like a summer dress and, well, Australia this ain’t.* Β So I dug through my stash some more and turned up about 2m of this gold brocade drapery fabric, absolutely clamouring to become View 3 from the original envelope. It’s not any warmer, mind you, but somehow it feels more “right” for the season.

Making this took some doing. First off, given the time constraints, I didn’t have the time to trace and alter my pattern properly. So I made my small plethora of usual alterations by dint of folding, pinning, and occasionally chalking out the changes directly on the fabric. Also my pattern is a size 14 (NEW SIZING!), which is a size larger than I usually make; I trimmed 1/4″ off of each seam after cutting, except for the few pieces on the fold, which I overhung the edge the same amount. Not the most scientific grading method ever.

Simplicity 8498

Simplicity 8498

This post, along with some slapdash tissue fitting, suggested that I wouldn’t need to shorten the upper bodice as I usually do, but measuring the back piece confirmed that the distance to the waist is still the full Simplicity standard. So I took my 1″ tuck below the bust but above the waist. On the back I added a swayback adjustment. I squared the shoulders the “proper” way, by raising the outside rather than dropping the inside, since I was pretty sure I didn’t need to raise the bust point even a little bit.

I carefully re-attached the lower portion of the skirt pieces (which had been trimmed away by some previous stitcher, but fortunately saved) using scraps of cheap iron-on interfacing. It took considerably wriggling to get all the pieces on my 2 (ish) m of fabric, but somehow I did it, although I won’t swear that all the skirt pieces are perfectly on grain. (I’m not convinced the original pattern grain-lines were the most logical, either, for that matter).

I only made one major style alteration: I knew I would feel dowdy and choked if I kept even the lower of the high necklines, so instead I made a squarish scoop neckline. In hindsight, I think it rather resembles the neckline in this similar-era dress, actually, though I didn’t explicitly set out to copy it. I lowered it over 2″ and it’s still not even what I would call low-cut.


Multi-view. The back fit is actually much better than it looks here, since I’m twisting funny. My ass probably really is that narrow, however.

There’s not much to say about the construction. It was simple, fast, and completely lacking in finesse. I did manage a decent (not awesome) lapped zipper in the back, facilitated by the fact that I had extra-wide seam-allowances to play with. Even after I had trimmed off the amount of excess I thought I would need to remove, I still wound up taking in the side-seams each an extra 1cm (for a total around the dress of 4cm)… I suspect I am not really respecting the intended fit of a shift dress, but I like it this way, which in the end trumps period authenticity in my books. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the shift-dress shape, which is why you haven’t seen a whole lot (any?) of them in my sewing thus far. I really like how the fit of this turned out, though. Even if it is a little more sheath than shift. Also, I love how these late 60s/70s patterns do long. I didn’t even lengthen the skirt (after removing 1″ above the waist, remember), and I could still take a 2″ hem at the bottom. Win.

It is nice being able to understitch all around the separate arm- and neck facings, but they still seem bulky and awkward to me where they overlap. The darts wound up at pretty much the exact right position, perhaps a smidge high but no worse than I typically end up with. (I have a hard time with dart placement, I think stemming from the fact that my “bust apex” and my nipple are not in the same location.)

I really miss my dedicated photo-space. Finding an un-cluttered space with enough distance to set up the tripod in out current, limited digs is, um, tricky to say the least. None of these photos are as awesome as I feel like the dress looks in real life… not sure if that’s a reflection on poor photography or my own vanity. At least they aren’t iPhone photos, as I finally found my camera charger. Actually, Osiris found it. In the wall-socket where I left it. Apparently it’s been there the whole time. I’m blaming the poor light in our bedroom—I think I mistook it for the telephone plug in.

So, the dress has been worn to one Christmas dinner already, with at least one more to go. It appears we will get away with only two turkeys this time. Up side of shift dress style, no issues with a restrictive waistband when indulging in conspicuous consumption. It’s not exactly the right style to become a wardrobe staple—maybe in another version—but I am definitely satisfied. πŸ™‚

Insert Obligatory Winter Scene Here.

*Let’s just say that I kinda hope my brother doesn’t call from Adelaide, because I may very well cuss him out out of sheer bitterness. Real Saskatchewan winter has finally arrived, with daytime highs not exceeding -20C and windchills pulling everything below -30C, and I am realizing Β how thoroughly pampered I have been by the last five years of pansy-ass Southern Alberta winters.



Filed under Sewing

29 responses to “A Christmas Dress

  1. OMG I LURV IT! I don’t believe your stitching could possibly be that shoddy to have such an awesome dress. In any case, I’m glad the camera charger was finally found, and that’s funny it never left the socket.

    • Aww, thanks! Let’s just say that I had to go find some scissors halfway through the day to trim off loose hanging threads from poorly-finished seams… πŸ˜‰

      I have a feeling it will be a while before I live the camera charger down… πŸ˜‰

  2. Houseofpinheiro

    Very glam… Merry Christmas

  3. ellecsews

    Very nice, and it’s about time you sewed something for you! Merry Christmas β™₯!

  4. Actually I think some sable trim at the neckline and hem would be pretty fab too!

  5. Beautiful! I love that it’s the original pattern, too. I’ve made the reissue before. I love the long length. And I can’t say anything comforting about your winter. Holy crap that’s cold.

    • I must admit after I found out about the reissue I totally wanted to use one of the options that isn’t in it. πŸ˜‰ Long length or long sleeves… This is a bit over the top, but, well, it was fun. πŸ™‚

  6. anothersewingscientist

    Holy crap – you made it already? I haven’t even had time to look at the pattern yet and was planning on digging it out today! Amazing! And since you made the long gold, and I’m making the short red, Nettie is now totally obliged to make the long-sleeved brown version and do the robot arms for us. πŸ˜‰

    • Bahahaha! I didn’t really think I would get to it yet, either, but I was seized by a fit of early-morning ambition on the weekend. That would be totally hilarious if we ended up re-making the cover! πŸ˜‰

  7. How utterly chic. I love it! The squared neckline really does suit you and the shape of the dress, I had to look back at the pattern to see what it should be.

    Friends went home to Manitoba for Christmas and the husband of the Manitoban posted on Facebook: “Temperature update: -27c, feels like -40c. By comparison, the average temperature on Mars is -55c.”

    Merry Christmas!

    • Yeah, Manitoba may be slightly worse than Sk! (Of course, Sewing on Pins can top me with her REAL northern weather anytime… πŸ˜‰ )

      Thanks for the compliments! I’m pretty happy with it. πŸ˜‰ I’m not sure why, but I do like a square-scooped neckline. πŸ™‚

      • Now that I have a brother living in the NWT, he’s got the trump card on my Manitoban in laws as well as me. My brother and SIL moved into their own place a few months ago (they were sharing a house when they first arrived), they were considering buying a house rather than renting but opted to rent in the end because they weren’t sure how long they will stay and the resale market when they do sell. It was a good decision on heating alone. They could afford the mortgage, but apparently it would have cost about $500/month in heating through the winter. I find that rather mind boggling.

        • Yeah, they win. I’m not surprised about the heating bill, though, our little townhouse in S’toon used to cost around $400 in the winter. Of course, it was old, brick, and nearly insulation-free…

  8. Hey there – Merry Christmas to you Osiris and the girls πŸ™‚ !

  9. When I saw that first picture, I was totally expecting it to be just a normal knee-ish length dress…so I gasped when I saw that you actually went and made the floor-length gold maxi! How perfectly festive, and boy do I feel silly for shivering when it’s 40F outside…

  10. LOOOOOVE ITTTT!!! You look mavehlous darlink!

    Now I have to work on mine. It’s cut out and looking at me with the stink eye ;D

  11. Pingback: Sew-Along Success!! | Sown Brooklyn

  12. Cherie

    I have to de-lurk and comment – your dress is stunning! I don’t believe there is anything wrong with intuitive fitting and sewing, especially when you have a result like this! Great job!

  13. I love the elegance of this dress; the simplicity of the style really lets the fabric shine! So pretty – well done ^_^

  14. Oooo …. I love the long length, and in that delicious fabric, too!! Gold is such a marvelous color on you!

  15. Ultra glamorous diva that you are, Tanit-Isis! Wonderful work on this. Happy New Year!

  16. Oh. I think I sighed a little in pleasure when I saw this. Beautiful. The neckline alteration suits you perfectly and this is so glamorous and relaxed all at the same time. I love it.

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