Boring beige? Another Simplicity 5320

Simplicity 5320

I’ve worn my pink a-line dress so much I made it again! It’s the same fabric, a boiled wool jersey from Truro Fabrics, in a colourway called cream. Personally I think it is more of a beige than a cream. I’m really liking the modern, minimalist vibe of this version, which is very different to the bright pink of the original.

The one thing I wasn’t pleased with in my first version was the side seam pockets which have a tendency to gape. I decided to give single welt pockets a try. These are a little on the small side but I was concerned that they’d look odd if I made them larger. I spent some time pinning little rectangles of fabric to the front of the pink dress to test out size and placement before cutting anything out. I’m very pleased with how they’ve turned out but they were a lot of work!

Simplicity 5320

The back’s completely plain. Yes those are creases near the hem, I’d been wearing it all day at this point. The zip is nicely invisible but could have done with being longer. I couldn’t find a beige 24″ invisible zip online (ok I didn’t look all that hard) so settled for 22″ and it’s turned out to be not quite enough. Anyone know an online shop that does 24″ invisible zips and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for postage?

Simplicity 5320

And in other news, Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time interviewed me for her Desert Island Sewing series. You can read mine here but check out the whole series if you aren’t following it already. It’s fascinating to see which patterns people choose to be cast away with. Thanks Winnie!

Almost wordless post (single welt pockets)

I had visions of one of those geometric Courrèges designs with perfectly symmetrical single welt pockets on the front. So I added welt pocket markings to Simplicity 5320, a structured A-line style, and cut it out in camel-coloured boiled wool. The basic dress is an easy sew but I’ve never done this style of pocket before and was pretty nervous about it. Here’s my Saturday morning in pictures.

(Wrong side of welt)

(Right side of dress)
Thread tracing

(Right side of dress)
Welt sewn to right side

(Right side of dress)
Welt with edge trimmed

(Right side of dress)
Under pocket bag sewn to right side\

(Wrong side of dress)
Cutting open the pocket

(Wrong side of dress)
Under pocket bag sewn to welt edge

(Wrong side of dress)
Pocket bag pieces from wrong side

(Right side of dress)
Sewing triangles to pocket bag

(Right side of dress)
Finished pocket

Success, I thought, heaving a sigh of relief. The rest of the dress won’t take more than an hour or two. I might even be able to post pictures of it on Sunday. Then the zip self-destructed as I was sewing it in, so no new dress this weekend after all. Maybe next week.

Shocking pink

It seems like a long time since I made this dress. I normally photograph new makes right away, but this one’s been sitting around for a few weeks while I’ve been unwell. Things are getting better now so I have slapped some makeup on and got photos of it at last.

simplicity 5320

The pattern is Simplicity 5320, a 1972 ‘jiffy’ design. I was drawn to the raglan sleeves and high collar. The fabric’s boiled wool jersey from Truro Fabrics in a shade called foxglove. Right now the fabric is still available here.

Simplicity 5320 envelope

This whole project was a bit of an experiment in colour and shape. I normally choose styles with a defined waist, which this certainly hasn’t got, and I was also dubious about the flared sleeves. Where would I store the pile of tissues that I normally keep tucked into my sleeves? Finally there was the colour. I never wear pink. I bought this fabric on whim after looking at colour analysis websites; those ones that try to divide people into twelve or sixteen categories based on seasons and assign a palette of flattering colours to each. I still don’t know what my season is but it made me think I might be able to wear some colours I’d previously avoided.

I got round the sleeve problem by adding inseam pockets. The pink fabric is very thick so I made the pocket bags in black polycotton, which means they show a little more than I’d like. I think the pink works, although it helps that my dye job has faded from its usual shade of red. The collar is great but it needs a lot of interfacing to keep its shape, which wasn’t mentioned in the instructions. And I had to take five inches off the length of the skirt. The short view was below the knee on me and I’m very tall.

simplicity 5320

Here’s the back. There’s an invisible zip which probably isn’t needed. My fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch so I didn’t want to risk skipping it.

simplicity 5320

I’ve been surprised to find myself reaching for this dress a lot since I made it. It’s very comfortable to wear but slightly smarter than jeans. It’s an easy make too, especially if you don’t put in the zip. Definitely recommended.

Another shirt dress

After I made my Death Star shirt dress I found I couldn’t stop at one. They’re so practical for work. This time I used a vintage pattern, Simplicity 6270. I made the view in stripes on the envelope: long sleeves, shirt collar, and worn with a leather belt rather than a self-fabric one.

Simplicity 6270 envelope picture

I swear I didn’t plan to make it in the same grey as the left hand picture on the envelope. But I had some grey stretch cotton poplin that was perfect for a shirtdress and I’m trying to reduce the stash a bit. So here it is.

Unlike the Burda pattern I used for the previous dress this one has proper cuffs! They were quite a faff to make but worth it.

Binding the slashes in the sleeves was less fiddly than I expected.

Binding on sleeve slashes

I really like the 70s collar but if I was making this again I think I’d make a two piece collar. The one in the pattern has the collar stand as part of the main collar piece and it took a lot of pressing to make it sit right. This photo was taken just after I attached the collar; the buttonholes haven’t been made yet.

Close up of collar

Here’s the back view. I shortened the skirt by a good three inches. Vintage patterns have such low hemlines and they look terrible on me!

You can just about see one of the side seam pockets in this photo. They weren’t in the original pattern, but I’m trying to make the effort to add pockets to patterns where I can. I’m always glad I’ve done it after the event, even though it seems like a lot of extra work at the time.

So there it is. Next up will be the coat project I hope!

The impossible colour

Behold my sister’s new dress, which she has kindly let me blog pictures of before putting it in the post to her. It’s Simplicity 3775, a classic knit dress and sadly now out of print. The fabric is a wool-elastane jersey which came from Cloth House on Berwick Street in London. My sister wanted a greeny-blue or bluish-grey colour so I was really pleased to find this fabric, which is pretty much exactly the colour I was thinking of.

The colour is the strangest thing. I couldn’t find thread to match it. Everything in Coats Duet was either slightly too blue or too green. Very dark green or black worked best. This was handy as the overlocker was threaded in black already.

The colour’s come out more blue than green in the pictures and the flash has really enhanced the subtle sheen of the jersey. It’s not shiny in real life!

Alien flower power

Here’s the final incarnation of the alien flowers fabric.

This is a vintage Simplicity pattern, number 5349. I’ve made it before in a black and white print and was surprised by how much wear it gets. Despite looking a bit dressy it’s really comfortable, so I find myself reaching for it on any reasonably warm day. Although not with these shoes! A pair of Converse are more likely in real life. The dress is backless so you do need a hoodie or a cardigan over the top most of the time too.

I tweaked the fit a bit on this version, but the main change from the original was that I faced the hem so that it’s nice and heavy and hangs really well. I underlined the fabric too. It all needs to be quite close fitting and structured to hold everything in place without a bra! The fashion fabric has a bit of elastane which helps there.

Cutting out this floral was a pain in the neck. It is impossible to match the print on any of the seams in this pattern without screwing up the grainlines, but I’m pleased that I avoided any obvious horrors in the placement, and it isn’t twinned anywhere other than a little bit at the back:

But my next project is definitely going to be a solid!

Alien flowers fabric

It’s not as if I don’t already have several projects lined up. But I saw this in John Lewis and fell in love with it. The label describes it simply as ‘floral’ but this does not do justice to it. Floral to me means sweet and girly. I think there’s something slightly alien and spooky about these flowers. They look like the sort of thing that might move when there isn’t any breeze.

It’s going to be a 1970s halter neck maxi dress. I already have the pattern, a vintage Simplicity that I’ve made up before.