Tag Archive | simplicity 4517

floral 40’s

Last week I finally finished the 40’s dress I have been supposed to be making as a ‘quick easy’ project. Er yeah! I have been seriously ill with various stuff (largely Chronic Fatigue, but also a cold and tendonitis in my foot) the past few weeks, and its got to the stage that I can only sew for about an hour a day before having to crawl back into bed. So this dress happened at roughly the pace of a snail.

Pattern (As used previously here, better pictures of finished dress here) is this one from 1940s……


Love this pattern to bits, my version is a 38″ bust and fits without any real alteration other than what I would do to a modern simplicity pattern (I’ve moved the zip to the back for easy access and I make the sleeves wider cuz my arms are fat).

It made up lovely…..

simplicity 4517 a simplicity 4517

It is not the most appropriate weather for a dress of this sort at the moment,  so there is no way I was wearing such winter garments as tights and shoes. I am really pleased with it though. At first I thought it was a bit too floral, but its grown on me, and it is soooo comfy, its made of some kind of stuff that looks like brushed cotton (though given its from the fabric stall could be anything) and its just really soft and drapey to wear. I buggered up the back a bit because I was that desperate to get it done that I did not wait for Jon to come home from work and pin the zip for me, I just sewed it as it was, and then I needed to put massive darts in because it was far too blousey and big for me. It is mostly fixed now, but ideally I’d take the zip out and pin some excess fabric out of it, but thats unlikely to happen because I’m too ill and lazy at the moment and its as good as ready to wear would be, just not quite good enough!

simplicity 4517 close up

This is the top of the dress. I am so proud because I managed to get the point of the v-neck, the seam down the front of the bodice and the seam down the front of the skirt all to line up, which you can’t really see from photos because of the business of the pattern, but it looks awesome in real life.

Despite the weather I’ve tried to style it up a bit for photos, the necklace (and matching bracelet) is from Topshop in the sale years ago and the hair flower from H&M. I intend to Dolly Kei the crap out of this as it gets towards winter, I have a cute little black knitted waistcoat and a black long net petticoat I think would go brilliantly. Though any suggestions gratefully accepted.

And finally…….



The inside of the dress, and all the neat little overlocked lines. I am getting so good at making my insides tidy these days.

I am not entirely sure what to sew next though. I have the fabric ready for a Sewaholic Cambie, but I don’t have very much energy at the moment and would have to make a bodice mock-up (from experience Sewaholic patterns waist measurements are about 4 inches smaller than mine) I have the pages printed ready to assemble for a Kitschykoo Lady Skater Dress, but it’ll take a day of being really well to cut and assemble the pieces (hate pdf patterns) and I don’t really have any fabric thats jumping out at me wanting to be made into that one.

I’ve also got the fabric at hand to sew the tops I’m wanting to make for my friend and finally collected the appropriate lace trimmings to make red and burgundy versions of this top. I am so excited actually, I think I have finally found a source on the internet of reasonably cheap Japanese quality lace! 🙂 About time too!

But I am really bored with making the same thing over and over again. I really want to be pushing myself and improving my sewing, though with my health as it is at the moment and maximum sewing sessions having shrunk from about 4hrs to about 1 1/2 I’m not sure how thats going to happen. Anyway, I think I’m going to ignore sewing for a week or so, heavens, theres enough housework I need to do, and see what inspiration takes my fancy. 🙂

not very rock and roll 40’s dress

So it all started when I was wandering about the West End and was stupid enough to go into Miss Selfridges and see this dress, which is actually much prettier in real life than on the webpage, but sadly only went up to size 14, which was most distressing.

So I thought about it for a few days and then went down to Rolls and Rems in Lewisham and bought what they had left of sheer black swiss dot fabric, which happened to be 4 1/2 meters in order to have a go at making my own and very quickly realised that was no way enough fabric for a maxi dress…

until I was digging through my pattern collection and found this lurking at the bottom…


(image stolen off the vintage pattern wiki)

Now I gave up on this one about 18 months ago when I made a muslin that went horrendously wrong and I couldn’t work out what the hell it was I’d done. But it looked absolutely perfect for what I was after and only used 4 5/8 fabric at 40″ which was perfect as I have about that of 60″ to play with. well done 40’s austerity there!

So I thought I’d have a seccond go at a muslin of the short version and see what happened.

With hindsight part of what went wrong last time is I added a load of extra to scale it up as it was designed for a 32″ waist, I’m 34 or 35″ and I had just finished with a 40’s 34″ waist pattern by the same company that had come out horribly small, so I assumed this would have the same problem. I ended up having to take all the extra ease back out again and it came out a right mess.

So this time I actually measured the top of the skirt panels and added it all up before I started to see what it came to, and was highly surprised to find it was 40″! So even given there were 6 pieces all needing seams, I couldn’t see how that wouldn’t fit as it was. So i left the pattern alone and cut the pieces the correct size, the only modification I made was to add half an inch on each side at the back in order to move the side zip ( I hate them!) to the centre back, so I stood a chance of getting in and out of it myself.

And it worked, totally easy to sew up, took me two afternoons, and fits like a glove.

Obviously it being new clothes I wanted to wear it out immediately, and this is the bit I messed up on, I thought 40’s with red and black strawberry print, thats very pin up girl/vintage glamorous and I was going to see Rachel Stamp ,a glam band who used to be big in the 90’s play the Nambucca on Holloway Road the next night, so thought it was a good idea to wear the new dress. And then spent the whole evening feeling I looked a bit wrong, but couldn’t put my finger on why (though the gig was totally awesome!).

Then last week I was up at my mums for her coffee morning ladies xmas lunch (don’t ask!) and brought the dress to show my mum what I’d been up to and was immediately talked into wearing it at the lunch in a posh cotswold hotel and I got loads of compliments on it.

My mum took these pictures of me in it afterwards…

strawberry dress with belt


with a belt

strawberrys dress without a belt


without a belt!

And yes it is very appropriate for a day in the Cotswolds!

So that is something I never knew. The problem is, when looking up ideas from other blogs and online stores one has to remember that the vast majority, with a couple of notable exceptions of the girls you see, specially the ones doing vintage are all about half my weight so something that looks edgy and rebellious on them looks very respectable on me!

I will probably at some point make the long see through version of the dress as planned, and it has not totally put me off vintage patterns, though perhaps 1940’s ones at my current weight. And I suppose it is a good thing to have some really normal day dresses in my wardrobe. But if I’m going for a new pattern style I think I will look for pictures on the internet of someone with a larger figure wearing it a bit more carefully in future!

Anyway…heres a picture of our xmas decorations to be a bit seasonal! I shan’t be sewing till after christmas as they have displaced my sewing machine from the table!

xmas tree and lego