Wednesday 8 April 2015

A tartan mini dress: Simplicity 6652

Hello my lovelies. I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend full of lots of chocolate and cake and fun times!  I spent the weekend in Solihull with my boyfriend's family which had the added bonus of a little trip to the Birmingham rag market and Barry's!  I have been declared a failed stash buster!  However, I was fairly restrained, I only bought 4 metres of jersey and 1 of quilting cotton.  

On my trip to York in January, my friend and I hit some charity shops and discovered a couple of vintage patterns which I snapped up. Actually one shop (sadly I can't remember which one) had an amazing vintage floor with some great vintage clothes and sewing and knitting patterns. Ironically none of the patterns in there took my fancy but in the Oxfam shop down the street I found 2, which made me happy.  The first was Simplicity 6652, a pattern from 1966. It was in really good condition (as it turns out, totally unused) and in my size, score! I'll probably chat more about the other at a later date.
I've wanted a tartan mini dress for ages and this pattern has so few pieces that it seemed like a good way to go.  I chose to make the sleeveless version, thinking that it would be a good piece to layer over a top when it's still chilly and by itself when spring arrives!

It's labelled 'simple to sew', as it turns out this is a misnomer! In some ways few patterns pieces means easy to sew however I had so many fitting issues that it was super complicated.  To start with I made some planned changes to the pattern: the front of the dress had two pattern pieces, I am not a fan of seam lines down the front of dresses or skirts and definitely not ones where I have to pattern match so I removed the seam allowance and cut the front piece (and facing) on the fold. 
Broad back adjustment, this is something I've recently worked out I need to do in quite a few patterns so you'll be seeing a fair few of them in these parts. I sewed the dress pieces together and inserted zip, so far so good, however when I tried it on, it looked like this:
You can't tell everything that was wrong from this photo but you can see it was miles too long. Although it fit well over the hips, it was huge on top and the shoulders extended too far.

I made the bust darts bigger, took a lot (I think like 25cm overall) off the sides, grading out to the hips.  Cut back the shoulders and increased arm hole size.  I also lowered the neck line, I don't consider myself to have an elephant neck but the original neckline was strangling me.  At one stage the dress looked like one of those pre-surgery plastic surgery patients with lines all over it to show where I needed to make alterations! I ended by finishing the neck and arm holes with bias binding, no way was I about to start drafting facings after all the alterations I'd made.

I now like the final result. There are loads of flaws as a result of all my hacking but the busy tartan print helps to hide them. It's worn here over my Bronte top.

I made quite a lot of effort to pattern match which all the alterations totally messed with, however it did work down the back. Look at those matching lines:

I now like the shape of this dress but will have to transfer all the changes to the pattern pieces before making another version and I currently do not even remotely have the motivation to do this so it may be a while before version 2 pops up.  However, this is my first make as part of my vintage pattern pledge, whoop for one down, just 3 more to go!

Thanks to my photographer and porter for these shots:
I was so happy to put all these clothes on again afterwards, it was COLD in Solihull this weekend!

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