Bit of a two-for-one in this post, self-drafted maxi-skirt and vintage Simplicity 6345 in which I’m looking smug and pleased with myself.
More on the skirt in a later post. . . This top is something I adapted from this 1974 Simplicity pattern (yet another one snaffled from my mum’s collection). I particularly enjoy the version on the left there. Dig that feathery armpit detail.
The pattern pieces were all lovingly cut out and were so soft and worn. It’s such a pleasure to work with these old pre-loved patterns, they seem to have this quiet form of tactile history and I love thinking of someone else using the very same paper pieces. The fact that this was more than likely used by my mum or my mum’s mum makes me especially nostalgic. I like to imagine what they eventually made and how they made the garment, did they finish the dress? Were they crawling round their living room floor shooing cats away? And did they choose a bastard thin fabric like I did?
I used a very thin and delicate fabric which led to a lot of me shouting “toughen up and stop being such a princess!” at it during the sewing process. It got caught in the feed dogs of my machine, threads pulled and distorted and it slipped around something terrible. To deal with this nonsense, I put tracing paper under the fabric as I sewed and it worked a treat.
It took me a while to figure out how the ruffles worked as I didn’t have any instructions in the envelope (where did they get to? And who put that yellowing sticky-tape on that piece? More pattern mysteries). The piece said “cut 3” and in retrospect, I now see that one is to go across the front, two go around the side and meet at the back. But I went ahead and cut two pieces slightly modified, one for the front, one for the back. I didn’t fancy having it ruffle all up under my armpits.
I also changed the front bodice so it was one piece rather than two and after a lot of deliberating about whether to use buttons and button loops at the back, I realised I could just get it over my head without messing about with all that and simply sewed it up.
I considered edging the ruffles in a tiny ribbon of tea-dyed lace but just zig-zagged the edges and I kind of like how it looks like it’s frayed, it’s a softer, more blurred finish but I think that softer silhouette works.
Getting the shoulder straps right was a bit of a pain so I went for a tie at the top. So, so much easier. Looking back, I can barely remember the grief this material choice caused me and I’m glad I stuck with it. I think my sewing-based, problem-solving skills are getting a lot better!