Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Made by Me File: Vintage Simplicity 7984. The Little Red Dress that Could.

UPDATE (10/1/2014): Voting is now open.  :-)  If you so desire, send a vote my way!

Tonight's post will be twofold--first will be the "red dress" story as required by the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge for week four (read more on it here).  The second part of this post will be more on the construction of this dress (fabrics used, pattern info, changes and alterations, etc.)

Here I am attempting my best impression of a 1960s pattern model.  I feel like I look so jaunty.  LOL.

This dress is based on a 1969 Simplicity Pattern, 7984.  You can view an image of it here.

I don't wear much red.  At all.  I am a spring colored kind of lady, so spring greens, yellows, and oranges are much more my speed, so when I read that we would need to make a little red dress and have a good story on where we would go to in the LRD, I was *just* a bit freaked out, to be honest.

The one red dress I own is a gorgeous J. Crew dress from a few years back*, and it seems to be in the one color of red that suits my complexion, that red that has a lot of yellow in it.  Unfortunately for me, I had only one yard cuts of any red that was similar in hue and that meant that any dress I would be making would have to be a LRD with some red printed material thrown into the mix.  Fortunately for me Julie's Picks (a subscription swatch service at Fabric Mart) included this very pretty poly charmeuse in an abstract animal print that is the same red as the red solid fabric I had on hand.  Score!

And since I am a bit wary of wearing solid red near my face (barring that one red dress from J. Crew and this top), I figured a pretty two fabric dress would be just the right answer to my LRD dilemma.

*I almost forgot this red dress--also a winner, but again, not a traditional blue-red.

So where am I going in my little red number?  Well...and this is freaking me out a bit to admit this...my hubby and I are at #13--that's right, 13 years of marriage, this October 13th.  (13 on the 13th! Hey!)  So like all my red dress in the past, and the red blouse of the same year, I am going to do something darn special while wearing it.

The J. Crew dress was worn out in Paris, the red top was worn to a French restaurant, and this lovely red frock will be worn out (I am hoping!) to a nice dinner out to a steak restaurant where I can get some amazing cut of meat AND a glass of red wine in the same exact shade as my dress.

I wish I could go to Paris in this, but I will settle for someplace nice here in DC or Alexandria.  ;-)

Of course, why limit a dress that I spent (countless, yeah I stopped counting) hours on to one special occasion?  Why not go out for another?

Since I didn't make this in time for my reunion last year, I think I should plan another get-together with all my high school friends this year so I can show it off.  LOL.  Well, and see all my buddies again.  ;-)  I am thinking it would be pretty great to have another dressy event, maybe drinks and dinner out?  Tysons Corner is halfway for most of us, and they have some pretty great restaurants we could all meet at and catch up.

(And laugh a LOT.  Turns out all those times I lamented not getting on with some folks at my kids school, etc., it was because I really need people in my life like my old high school friends.  I miss seeing them everyday.  They're good people.)

But of course what would I be if I didn't manage to at least try and make a piece that could also be worn to mass or teaching?  Yep, add a cute jacket or cardigan and you have a work appropriate look.  Yay!  LRD multi-tasking.


These instructions are what I wish all companies would do nowadays.  Print the details all on one page, clearly, with great line drawings.  I never get confused using vintage patterns.  They also print one size per envelope, so if you are a straight size in one garment (fortunately this one I was a straight size 12, with some tweaking), you only have to use one pattern envelope, and don't have to fiddle around with a gazillion size lines.  What is in the envelope is exactly what you need.

Since I am a short-torso, wide-hipped, yet small-chested lady, this dress pretty much fit everything I needed in one go.  It featured a fitted bodice, an empire waist (which actually falls closer to my real waist, so yeah!), and an a-line skirt.  It is a very sweet pattern.  Though many patterns today are nice enough, the detail and little extras in this one make seeking out vintage patterns worth it.  Even though I didn't end up adding a button to the collar or sewing on belt carriers, it is nice to have that option.  I did add the sash, though, and even made it double-sided so it could be worn two ways for two different (sort of) looks.

I LOVE any pattern that includes back neck darts.  I know I could just add them myself to modern patterns, but for easiness, it is good to have them there ready to go.  Necklines almost always fit me better with neck darts.  The Burda 7137 I made in week two features back neck darts, as well.

Though the pattern didn't include lining pattern pieces or instructions, I knew to wear this in winter with tights would necessitate the sewing of a lining.  So I cut the bodice and skirt pieces out of an acetate, sewed them up, and carefully attached them to the dress after installing the collar.  I would like to act like I did it, no problem, but I am not a liar.  It was HARD.  The neckline was easier for me to attach the lining to, but I got all confused at the armholes.  I figured it out, but ended up having to stitch part of the armhole shut by hand since I couldn't work out how to completely machine sew the armhole lining to the armhole main fabric.

I also hand-stitched the lining to the zip.  It takes a long time to do that, but I watched the awesomeful show Sleepy Hollow with my hubby while sewing.  Have you all seen that show?  As a history teacher I was a bit mortified.  But I laughed my you know what off...

For all of the problems the lining gave me at the armhole, it did turn out well, so yippee! 

I do want to mention that I did a square shoulder adjustment on this pattern and I have to say this may be one of the best fitting bodices I have ever sewn.  I am so stoked to have something fit me so precisely!

Fabric Used:

1. Julie's Pick Abstract Animal Print Poly Charmeuse in a red/black/silver/white used for the bodice and pockets.

2. Red Stretch Corduroy from Fabric Mart (remnant) used for the skirt and half of the sash.

3. Black Textured Cotton Canvas from Fabric Mart (remnant) used for half of the sash.

4. Ivory Acetate for the lining.

I mentioned this in the other post today, but this dress reminds me a lot of the Vestiges Dress from Anthropologie, which I do own and love.  I guess I was inspired partially by that.  I look at Antrho catalogs and think, "hey, how can I make that myself?"

I am a sucker for pockets, so even though there was no instructions or pocket pattern piece, I used the same one I used for the first challenge for this dress and it worked very well.  I love little surprises, so I made the pocket from the same material as the bodice.

Okay, that's all for tonight.  By tomorrow the blog post with all of our creations will be up.  Voting is now open here!  I haven't won any challenge yet, and though that is never my goal (really love being challenged, because hey why not?), this week's prize is pretty darn good, so there you go.  ;-)

Have a great night--talk soon!