Vintage Sewing

back into the world of sewing!

April 8, 2009

Now that I’m finally done with school, I’ve got a lot more free time on my hands. That box of vintage patterns in the attic has been calling out to me.

My first creation is McCalls 4480. Please ignore that parts of it aren’t finished yet… I was just really excited about getting this far with it that I wanted to share my progress!
I made the sundress on the left, with a blue stripey cotton/poly blend I picked up from JoAnn’s. It was very easy to make- no buttons, no zippers, nothing difficult to handle. The only problem I have run into so far is that one of the side pieces isn’t lining up quite right, and so the under-arm area of the dress is higher on one side than the other… I must have goofed up somehow. Also, the fit! Is it supposed to look like a maternity dress? I guess it is a late 1970s pattern, and it’s supposed to be fairly free-flowing, but I do wish the skirt was flared a bit more. Perhaps I can fix that somehow. Also I am really short (5’1″) and this dress is a bit long on me!

Today I was browsing around Goodwill and picked up this delightful pattern! I’m excited, it looks easy to sew and might be a bit more flattering than the McCalls. Can’t wait to try it out.

  1. I love the Simplicity one that you picked up from Goodwill. I think that will be very flattering for your height. I can’t wait to see it.

  2. Regarding the “maternity-look” of the McCall’s pattern, if you decide to make it again, try eliminating the gathering below the bust band. In my experience, changing the gathers to simply being flat does a lot to alleviate that look. They’re both adorable patterns though!

  3. It’s definitely the gathers below the waistband that make it poof out at the stomach. I’m thinking about just tearing the dress almost entirely apart to get rid of the gathers!

  4. You did a great job on the McCalls dress! I sympathize with your poofy stomach dilemma. Another option to trying to fix that is shortening the hem. I think it’s worth taking the dress apart and undoing the gathers, because you did a terrific job on it. If you don’t feel happy wearing it, it will just languish in the closet. I know, I’ve had projects like that. 🙂

    The Goodwill Simplicity pattern is terribly nice. If you want to make sure it’s the right length, you can hold the front pattern piece up to your self (before you cut out the fabric) and see where it ends on your leg. If you think it’s too long, you can fold the paper up to the correct height (but be sure to add the hem allowance, usually 1-2 inches). Then, fold up the back pattern piece to the same place, tape the paper up and cut out the fabric.

    Happy sewing! I can’t wait to see your next project. 🙂

  5. Those Empire-waist dresses often make women look pregnant who aren’t. If you make the skirt more semicircular you can make it both flare more, and need less gathering at the waist, which will help the “maternity dress” look. Either look up directions online for drafting circular or semi-circular skirts, or find somebody who’s made one before to give you a hand.

  6. That Simplicity pattern brings back a few memories. My sister and I both made three or four dresses out of it in the late sixties, early seventies. The dress I wore on my honeymoon was a black moire fabric, that pattern, super short, December 1969. Have fun with it!

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