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Prairie-palooza: Simplicity 9778 (1971), Butterick 4888 (1977 or 1978), and McCall’s 4872 (1975)

January 27, 2017

Three-fer!

This project started out as Simplicity 9778, a Mother Hubbard-type dress from 1971.  It’s cute, but you sort of suspect it will work out less well in reality than in theory:

I have a weakness for these prairie dresses with yokes.  #dontjudge

But I found some hideous-slash-amazing Concord print in dull green with brown/purple flowers on eBay, and some awesome deadstock buttons in a weird raisin color, and got to work.

I knew when I got to the collar that I was making a mistake.  The band collar is drafted–well, “drafted”–as a straight strip of cloth.  It’s not contoured toward the front of the neck the way a band collar should be.  Seamsters, take note: If you make this pattern, IGNORE THE COLLAR.  Draft your own or borrow from another pattern whose designer wasn’t so lazy.

Predictably, it sat around my neck like a section of pipe.  This looks a lot better and far less amateurish in the picture than it did in real life.  Plus, it was uncomfortable.

It looked cute with a belt, though:

But that didn’t help the collar.  It also turns out that this pattern, obviously, is basically a nightgown:

Even with the belt, it tends to shift forward as you walk so all that fabric ends up bunched around your stomach.  I sewed six tucks into the back waist, which helped a lot, but . . . eh, I still wasn’t wearing it that much, which made me sad because I loved, loved, loved the fabric.

Patiences pays off: Surfing eBay netted me another yard, so I decided that I would try to salvage the skirt (well, lower half) and sleeves from the baggy dress and attach them to a new bodice.

Butterick 4888 is from 1977 or 1978 and I want us all to take a moment to contemplate the phenomenon of the wedding gown or bridesmaid dress that comes with an apron.

With an apron, people.

That woman is wearing an apron to her wedding.

However, it’s still a cute pattern and, since I wasn’t planning to make the sash, I was pretty sure that 1 yard + scavenged pieces from the old bodice = just about enough to scrape together a new bodice.

I hate long back zippers so I altered it to button up the front (I had to put a placket in the skirt) and made the facings out of scrap from another dress to save on the “good” fabric (this is the waist seam, finished in bias, with the front facing tacked over it):

I cheated on the sizing.  I’m usually a 12/bust 34 + slight FBA + added width across the upper back + added bodice length + lowered bust.  My 4888 was already a 14/bust 36 so I experimented with just taking in the shoulders and leaving the back width and bust measurement alone (although I still lowered the bust point and lengthened the bodice a little).  This time, at least, it worked.  I might still do a very, very, tiny FBA the next time because I added more of a front facing than was intended so it takes a little more room.

I actually got some brown/purple solid to make an apron to wear with this.  I have no idea where I will wear it with an apron, but whatever (this is the old bodice with the yoke).

As a side note: If anyone is into loose prairied dresses with yokes, try McCall’s 4872 (1975)–it’s similar to 9772 but the bodice is trimmer and the skirt/lower half is more flared, and it’s more flattering and less bunchy around the waist.

Sorry, you can’t really see it in a black dress, but it worked a lot better than 9778:

  1. lovely fabric – can totally get sewing being influenced by the lovely illustrations……and then the result being ‘slightly’ different! thats a nice variation you did on the 2nd dress (enjoyed the apron bridesmaid dress illustration !! )

  2. There is a Polish custom of the bride wearing an apron to her wedding reception. When a guest dances with her he has to give her a little money which she puts in her apron pocket so she will have funds to set up housekeeping. At least that is what I was told.

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