Tag Archives: Simplicity 6023

That 70s Dress (The Next Generation)

Simplicity 6023

I hate to admit it, but I sorta love the Saturdays my hubby works (don’t tell him!). There’s nothing to do but a bit of house-cleaning, some light yelling at the children (usually over their bedrooms, but this week, for variety, it was the back yard, which somehow became encrusted in stray bits of wood and empty pop bottles over the winter*), and, of course, sewing.

This weekend’s project was, natch, Simplicity 6023, that same pattern I won in Peter’s giveaway a few weeks back. Much easier to focus now that I have the Springy Coat out of the way. Which is good, because this was definitely one of those two steps forward, one step back projects. Not because the pattern was tricky, or the instructions were bad, or the fabric was ill-behaved. No, this was all about the stripes.

You may have noticed how little print and pattern matching I do? How I will move mountains (ok, cut bits on the bias) to avoid having to line things up? Precision sewing has never been my strong suit. I’ve improved, mind you, but I still regularly fall short of my heroes. Or just plain adequacy.

Stripe matching? At least the hem's nice.

I did not rip out every single seam in this thing but… well, there were a lot. A lot of perfectly good seams, too, except that the stripes were off. Well, more off than all the rest. Probably if I’d gone all couture and hand-basted everything, I could’ve gotten them mostly even. None of them are even remotely like perfect, but at least they generally line up (except across the bodice side-seams, there was no way to make that work with the amount of fabric I had.

Invisizip

On the up side, I conquered my first invisible zipper! And, I hate to say it, but I might actually be a convert. I used Sherry’s tutorial (though I read through Sunni’s, which is similar, and used some elements from it as well), and a regular zipper foot, and it went in like a dream. Aside from the fact that my impecise waistline stitching meant that, although I matched up the waist seam perfectly using Sherry’s tips, the stripes above the waist didn’t match up at all. So I had to rip half of it, fudge the waist a tiny bit (since it’s less visible than the stripes) and go with that. Pooh.

The slight irregularity at the top is due to my not reading Sherry’s other tute, on facing an invisible zipper, until after I’d half attached one of the facings. Silly me, thinking I’d just follow the pattern instructions… The side on the left in the photo, which I did following Sherry’s method, turned out much better. I should probably have stayed the back of neck before all the messing around, though—it’s a bit stretched out and threatens to gape.

My new best friend

Speaking of zippers, let me introduce you to my new best friend! A few weeks back I had lamented the inadequacy of my zipper foot, and some of you wise people had told me that there were much better fish in the sea. So last week I finally made it to the sewing-machine store, discovered that my machine is an “oscillating hook” Janome, and came home with this little gem on the right.

Isn’t that the cutest little foot ever?

By twiddling the green knob at the back, you can adjust the foot’s position to the left or right of the needle, or right in the middle for straight stitching. Perfect for edge-stitching! And, because it’s so finely adjustable, perfect for pushing up the edge of the invisible-zip coils to stitch right alongside them. Yay! I interfaced the entire zipper length plus a bit with knit fusible and had no problem with the zipper bubbling, buckling, or anything.

The back---wrinkled from being tied 😛

FIT: Despite the photo (wrinkled from being tied), the back fits really well with my little swayback adjustment (though it wreaks havoc with the stripes). Although the tie pretty much disguises most issues in this area, anyway. I made my ties extra-long, because it seemed like a good idea at the time, which turned out fun—I like pulling them around to tie in the front. A nice option to have, since often back ties drive me nuts.

With my bodice-shortening, the waist-seam falls about a thumb’s width above my natural waist, which is roughly where it’s supposed to according to the pattern, so yay! That being said, my bodice-shortening alteration raised the neckline, and I would probably have been just as happy with the lower neckline. This is a bid demure.

I did take each side-seam in about 1cm (so a total of 4cm reduction all around). This is similar to what I did on the first 70s dress; I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more of a 10 (bust measurement would suggest this but everything else says 12 or larger), ease in the dress, or, most likely, the fact that I keep using stretch wovens.

I took the same 1 1/4″ hem the pattern allowed for, but because of my fiddling pieces up and down to get the stripes to match (yes, my cutting was even less precise than my sewing!) I probably lost about an inch in length there. It’s fine, though, falling at a good spot above my knees.

Buttons---Yoke (left) and Cuff (right)

I did the cuffs with the wrong side lapped out. D’oh. Figuring out which way they should lap, BEFORE the sleeve is set, was a head trip in itself—I’m actually impressed that I got them both the same way, so I’m not going to sweat it.

I had three of these vintage plastic flower buttons in one of the random button baggies I’ve picked up over the last six months. I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over buttons (and Syo spent a lot of time making art with them while I did it, and then being irate when I broke up her faces to lay different combinations on the dress).  I covered a key-chain ring with fabric to put behind the one on the yoke, which hopefully looks more centred in real-life than it

Simplicity 6023

does in this photo. The third button I sewed on turned out to have a broken shank (I’m not sure how this worked since all three were held together at the shanks by thread in the button jar…); fortunately, none of the buttons are functional, so I just stitched through the holes in the flower. You can see it if you click on the photo to get the full-size.

As you can see from the outdoor photos, we are finally not only snow-free, but practically warm here today! (Temperatures were in the low teens C!!!1! That’s like, gosh, almost 60F.) And tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer… maybe I can actually wear a skirt. Or a dress…

So, another contribution to my 70s wardrobe. Although it’s not getting me any closer to fulfilling Joy’s  Bellbottom Challenge. Maybe I’ll move on to the Simplicity 6602 suit next… though I think I would probably try to merge the pants legs with my Ellen pattern. I have no particular desire to mess around with high-waisted pants.

Toodles!

*I feel it necessary to explain that I DON’T randomly chuck my recycling around the yard… but the kids apparently think that empty bottles are the cat’s meow in playthings, especially when you can fill them with water and leave it outside to freeze and then it snows and they get buried and you have to get more and… well, it was a mess.

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That horrible sinking feeling…

Simplicity 6023

You know, where you start sewing something together and it’s just not quite right. Your fabric isn’t behaving the way you envisioned. You mess up a seam and don’t notice until it’s graded. You begin to suspect that your arbitrary alterations weren’t the right ones after all…

Erm, I’m not the only one who gets this way, right?

I have gotten the front bodice constructed for Simplicity 6023. After experimenting with knit interfacing, I decided to use an extra layer of the black linen (actually a linen-cotton-lycra blend, really quite yummy) for interfacing instead. And I decided I would make piping (from one of my scant scraps of the plaid) to edge the neckline and cuffs. Then I sewed the three layers of the front yoke piece together (one half, anyway), notched, graded, and realized that I had forgotten the piping. Rrrripit. Add in the piping. Flip around, and realize that the linen is quite a bit sturdier than the plaid fabric and really doesn’t need the extra layer for interfacing.

Use the pinking shears to remove as much of that extra layer from the middle as I can, because I’m way too half-assed to unpick again.

Manage to trim the piping too much at the corner, so it’s fraying a bit when clipped.

Fuck it.

Anyway, it looks cute. I have a sinking feeling I should’ve raised the armscye without raising the neckline, and shortened the bodice lower down. Or perhaps left it, as it’s designed to hit above the natural waist (which probably means it would hit right at my waist).

Argh.

Probably, it will all be fine. I like piping. I like plaid. I have a great excuse for not even trying to match my plaids. The black detailing looks pretty sharp. The neckline may be higher than I wanted, but that’s hardly the end of the world. At least I’m pretty sure this one will be large enough (if not a bit too large, given the stretch in both my fabrics)

After all this self-drafted stuff with seam allowances of 1cm or less, the 1.5 (5/8″) regular seam allowance seems positively excessive. Especially in nice, minimally fraying fabrics like these.

Springy coat---now with shoulder pad!

On the subject of the Springy Coat (may I just say that working on two projects at once, when you only have one sewing machine, is REALLY ANNOYING? I have spent way too much time re-threading in the last three days) I put my shoulder-pads and sleeve heads/wadding in as per the latest installment of the RTW, and am HAPPY. I love how it just ups the look that little bit. It was kinda a pain since I’ve already (contra the sewalong) stitched my lining to my facings (I did this before sewing the facing on to the main coat, as I didn’t think I’d be capable of getting the piping right while wrestling the whole coat), but I managed. I will take a moment to note my jealousy that Steph has already finished her jacket.

New Coating

Oh, and while I was at Fabricland picking up the black linen, this coating followed me home. I’ve been keeping an eye out for something with a good drape for Simplicity 8613. I was thinking either cream (I know, I’m making an off-white coat right now) or blue or coral, and this combined two out of three.

I think a fabric diet is in order. I seem to binge every few months, and then fast for a while, but I’m not getting stuff sewn at quite the rate that I’m buying. I’m not anti-stash, mind you—I especially like to have on hand various “basic” fabrics, like denim, plain-coloured knits, lining—but I also don’t want it to get out of hand.

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Jonesing

Springy coat---now with collar!

So yesterday I took the opportunity afforded by my kids’ last day off school to sew shamelessly. I caught up on the RTW Tailoring sewalong. I washed most of my new finds. I played with my buttonholer, and I traced out Simplicity 6023.

Springy Coat---cuff

It is by dint of great restraint that I am not showing you full, modeled shots of my springy coat, as I am loving it. But I am determined to retain some elements of surprise, so you will have to subsist on teasers for the moment. The sleeves went in well, although my princess seams don’t line up with the sleeve seams as well as I’d hoped (sniffle). There was a bit more ease to the sleeve cap than I might have liked, although it wasn’t a problem with this particular fabric. Denim would be another story, I’m sure. I love my buttons, too. I forgot to add a hanging-loop and my label before sewing in the facing, maybe I will just have to do that by hand…

The buttonholer is fun to play with. I sat down and read through the manual. I oiled in the spots that said “oil”. I twiddled with the adjustment knob until I figured out how to crank the template around (not without some moments where I was convinced it was broken and/or seized. But, with much reference to the manual and a little bit of blind faith—it works! Gorgeously.

Buttonholes

Now I want more templates. 😉 The keyhole template is 1 1/4″ long and I stitched it at the widest available width. The little tiny buttonhole on the right is 1cm long (the smallest template that came with) and stitched on the narrowest option. Both of these are stitched along the seam of a scrap of denim left from some child’s pants that became shorts; they’re stitched along the seam, so through four layers of denim plus serging. For some reason I really want the eyelet template, now. There’s a video of the same sort of thing on youtube here, by the inimitable BrianSews. You can see the Greist starting about 1:00 in. I initially thought the stitch-length was a bit long for my liking, but you just keep going around and around your buttonhole until it looks the way you want. Fun!

Dress!

I decided, after much wringing of hands, that Simplicity 6023 would be next up (it’s still a little too cold to think about wearing the runner-up, McCall’s 3415.) Unfortunately, when I started trying to lay out my pattern, I realized that my fabric is only 45″ wide—which means I’m about a metre short (especially since I’d been wanting to do some of the plaid on the bias). D’oh! I think I can do it by using a contrast fabric for the collar, yoke, and cuffs. I have some black stretch linen that’s about the right weight and stretch (the plaid has stretch, too) but it’s earmarked for a shirt for the ungrateful hubby, and I don’t think I have enough to do both. So I’ll check at Fabricland to see if I can get any more. If only I’d realized this last weekend during the 50% off sale… I also need a zipper and dark knit interfacing.

As to the pattern itself, I pulled out the pieces from Simplicity 5728 (apparently 1973 was a good year for Simplicity—both these patterns are from it), which, as you may recall, fit me remarkably well for being a size 11 Junior Petite. Now, 11JP has the same bust measurement as Misses’ 12 (and is a measurement I can reach with a good, padded bra), but is drafted for someone considerably shorter. Despite that, it fit me amazingly well through the upper body, although I added a generous amount of length to the sleeves and skirt.

More Jacket fun!

Upon comparing the tweaked 5728 pieces to the Misses’ 12 6023, I think I can get much the same fit just by reducing the length through the armscye by about 2cm. I also did the same little swayback adjustment. If these are my “standard” Simplicity adjustments, I’m excited, as it will give me more confidence going forward with, say, Simplicity 66o2, which also walked home with me from the thrift store on the weekend. Doesn’t that look like fun? (my camera ate the photo I took of my envelope, so I nabbed this one from the Vintage Pattern Wiki entry—my pattern is in fact a size 12. I have some robin’s egg blue stretch corduroy that I think strongly wants to become this jacket—and possibly the entire ensemble.

It is just possible that I might be a jacketoholic.

Oh, in other good news, the missing fabrics I was moaning about have re-surfaced. They were stuffed in various boxes in the kids’ playroom (which is adjacent to my “sewing room”). The fact that my children, who had tidied the playroom days before I discovered the absences, denied any knowledge of the contents of their toyboxes continues to rankle.

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Goodie, goodie gumdrops!

I got a present in the mail!

A Pattern from Peter!

Yay! Thank you, Peter! This is, of course, the pattern I won from his giveaway a few weeks back. Sweet and super-duper-uber cute.

Of course, now I’m in a quandary. Which yummy 70s pattern to make next? This new one, or this…

Man, I love these dresses...

Or this?

Simplicity 8613, from 1978

And Joy thinks I should make bellbottoms?

What to do, peeps, what to do?

Eaton's Jersey

And, I discovered this rather yummy jersey at Value Village yesterday while cruising with my mother-in-law.

It feels like wool, I thought to myself.

But it’s at Value Village. It’s probably some nasty mystery synthetic you really don’t need, I responded.

Then I discovered these little original tags, still on. 100% wool.

It went in the basket.

Originally purchased at Eaton’s Department Store.

This was a Canadian department store that went out of business when I was in high-school… but I have absolutely no recollection of them ever carrying fabric. Any Canadian readers remember when they stopped?

So, despite still not finding my little-girl-coat-fabric, and having to unpick and re-adjust the entire back of my coat (sniffle), life is not entirely bleak.

Now if it would just warm up enough, I could actually justify sewing some of these crazy little dresses.

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