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Simplicity 1690

Hi–I’m Jeannie and this is my first post on We Sew Retro. I’ve always loved the lines of dresses from the mid-1930’s, so my first retro sewing project is Simplicity 1690. I haven’t been able to date the pattern, but there was a newspaper pattern inside the envelope dated 1936, so I assume the pattern is close to that age.

A capelet pattern drawn on newspaper dated 1936.







I made the dress from black and white rayon challis. It was quite an adventure cutting the pieces so that the pattern was identical from side to side and that the yoke matched the bodice. The challis was not cooperative the first time around and I found that I couldn’t simply fold the fabric. I had to cut half the bodices and skirts, then carefully fold and match each side of the pattern.

I made one change, choosing to line the yoke with lightweight lining fabric instead of narrowly hemming the neck, tie and sleeve edges as the pattern directions instructed. There are a lot more photos and blow by blow descriptions of my 1930s sewing adventure on my blog

About the author: I’m a romance writer and a sewing enthusiast. When I get into a rough patch while writing, I sew and vice versa. It works. I end up with new clothes to wear and new manuscripts to send off to my editor. I live in rural Nevada with my husband, dog, cat and horses. My idea of heaven is visiting my kids in San Francisco and shopping at Britex.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Michelle March 4, 2013, 12:05 pm

    WoW! Lovely. 😀

  • Jeanne Marie March 4, 2013, 3:58 pm

    So pretty! You did a lovely job. Please share more of your projects.

  • Vintage Kathy March 4, 2013, 5:23 pm

    You nailed it!

  • Lizzy March 4, 2013, 6:46 pm

    Very pretty dress! you did a very good job!

  • Jeannie Watt March 4, 2013, 7:13 pm

    Thanks everyone. It’s so exciting to see my first post up!

  • Gill March 5, 2013, 4:12 am

    Great job! What a lovely dress.

  • Rhonda March 5, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Very pretty…. I bet it would be pretty with longer sleeves too. I love the dress!

  • Harriet Bazley March 5, 2013, 8:46 pm

    The blog link appears to be broken but I managed to get it from your SewRetro profile:

    I like the way the skirt swirls around authentically at the bottom – is it cut on the bias, or just flared halfway down? The original fabric must have been something lightweight, I think, to make the little sleeves in the illustration flutter like that….

    1930s pattern illustrations are ALWAYS drawn with incredibly long legs – part of it is the high-waisted pattern styles, but most of it is artistic licence! You need to mentally cut about a third off the skirt length to get an idea of what it really looked like.

    • Harriet Bazley March 5, 2013, 8:56 pm

      Read back a bit in your blog, and I see that they are indeed bias inserts in the skirt, and that the sleeves got a stiffening lining 🙂

  • grandmabride March 10, 2013, 8:27 am

    Jeannie – just BEAUTIFUL! You nailed it girlfriend. I love 1930’s styles too and this is a lovely dress. Great job!

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