Simplicity 4260 Simple to Make Dress with Wonderful Neckline

20150727_182955-1Hello, all, this is my first posting on We Sew Retro.  I follow the Cennetta, at, and she led me here.

The pattern’s awesome neckline first caught my eye.  And it has POCKETS.  That would’ve been enough,  but I spotted the notch in the kimono sleeve, and I was sold.

The dress is described on the pattern envelop as: “Simple to Make” dress has short kimono sleeves and bodice underarm section for freedom of action. Concealed pockets in flared skirt are optional.”  Pockets optional?  Not in my world.

20150725_145051 (2)I wanted to make a 1950’s style dress for this year’s Sausage Fest at Anaheim Brewery .  It’s a local event with a Rockabilly band, and lots of 1950s style on the guests.  Big, gathered skirts aren’t a great look on me, so I like that the pattern’s flat at the skirt’s waist like this one.


I'm crazy about this neckline.  Is it a W? An M?

I’m crazy about this neckline. Is it a W? An M?

I got my fabric at Fabric Depot in Portland.  I love green, it makes my hazel eyes stand out.  The fabric is 100% cotton, green lattice with small black leafy fronds.  It wasn’t till I was laying out the pattern that I read the selvedge and learned that it was a Mary Engelbreit.

This was my first time sewing a truly vintage pattern, and it was a pleasure.  The instructions were clear, and the line drawings accurate.

I make a 3/8″ high back adjustment, 1/2 ” swayback, and took off 1 1/2 inches off the hem.  There’s no darts, just a large pleat at each front shoulder, and four smaller pleats on the front and back bodice.  No FBA?  Why, yes, this is Simple to Make.

Freedom of action - bias sections under the arm.

Freedom of action – bias sections under the arm.

It doesn’t call for interfacing, but I added it to the bodice facing.  Then, when it was time to sew the buttons and button holes, I went, huh.  Should’ve interfaced down the front of the skirt, too.  So I cut some strips and steamed them in place.  I skipped most of the topstitching, since this pattern has plenty going on.

FB_IMG_1438049923464 (2)It wasn’t till I wore it that I realized how effective the bias sections under the arms are.  Just a little give when you reach for something. Freedom of action, baby, yeah!

My dress and I had a blast at Sausage Fest.  Here’s me photo-bombing the lead singer, Amber Foxx.

Thanks for reading.



Watermelon Two Piece 50’s Style Playsuit

This just might be my favorite sewing project so far! I picked this fabric up 3 times in Joann’s and put it back every single time, telling myself it was too over the top. It was on sale recently and I finally had to give in to temptation and scoop it up. To me, nothing says summer, more than watermelon!

This watermelon playsuit is a collaboration between my trusty 3/4 circle skirt #Simplicity1200 and #Simplicity1426 version A!

Normally this is something that I would feel far too self-conscious to wear. Honestly though, I feel like my fears are completely unfounded in this. It’s so flattering and when I wear it, I feel like a million bucks! It’s just so much fun. In this post, I’m going to talk mostly about the top, because the skirt is #Simplicity1200 which I’ve done several times now, here and here, no point in rehashing those details.

The only thing I changed on #Simplicity1426 was the neck band on the top. I mistakenly only cut out one piece when two was needed. After cutting everything else out, I didn’t have enough fabric to fit one more. So I improvised and used the same simple black bias binding that I used to bind the hem of the skirt. I’m really glad I did too. I feel like having the black at the top and the bottom of the set creates a cohesiveness that I really like.

I used simple black buttons on both pieces so they would be minimal and understated. I wanted them to blend in with the outfit. I feel like they do just that.

#Simplicity1426 was a great pattern to sew, it sewed up quickly and the directions were really simple to follow. I’ll be sewing this one again in one of the other versions I’m sure!

There isn’t much else I can say about this make. I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Now I just wish I could have an excuse to wear it more often!!

Thanks for reading, check out more on my blog at!

Until the next time!

Vintage Simplicity 4432 plus Totally Tubular Turtles

I have done it before and I will do it again. Vintage Simplicity 4432. The perfectly simple sundress. My first go at this pattern turned out one of my favorite dresses for my middle daughter Holly and we had such a fun photoshoot at the Classic Car Show that runs in our town every Friday night on Grand. Then I made a Super Hero Comic Book Dress and a Star Wars Dress (unblogged until later this week.) All in all- its a perfect little sundress pattern!)

Simplicity Pattern 4432.

Holly was born in 95 so she was pretty young in the 90’s but all my kids enjoyed watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” When we saw the fabric online I knew I needed to buy some. I actually bought quite a bit- and made my grown son a button down shirt, which he wears all the time and gets SO MANY compliments on I thought I should go into TMNT shirt business!

Honestly, there is not much to say about the process of making this dress because I have made several! The bodice has been fitted and as long as she doesn’t eat too many pizzas I can just use the same pattern pieces I used the first time round!

Holly Turtle Dress Sitting

This is one of those dresses that has a timeless look to it so I will probably make more! If you would like to read more about the dress feel free to stop on over at my blog!

Holly Turtle Dress Close Up


McCall’s 2440 (1962) back-wrap “apron” dresses, again

I made this one in 2009 in pink cotton-polyester with pink gingham binding.

Version one used this awesome faintly-Japanese Jules and Coco floral print from Joann’s.  I actually made this, discovered that the bodice was too big (it was too big on the pink dress but I’d gotten used to wearing it that way), tried to jerry-rig a fix, and then gave up.  Then I rallied and took the dress apart, cut a new bodice, and put it back together.  It was worth all that seam ripping:

19612440 19 Japanese flowers done

I went to DSW for work shoes on Saturday and found pink loafers on clearance.  I’m not really a novelty shoe kind of girl but something told me I might need them for my early 1960’s stuff:

19612440 20 pink shoes

I finished another version last week of the same dress but in a yellow atomic print I got at Joann’s a few years ago.  I loved it, kind of, but it was way too modern and the wrong scale for all my 1940’s dresses.  This pattern is 1961 so it’s a much better fit.  You can’t really see them, but it has big black buttons on the pockets.  (I borrowed DSW’s mirror.)

19612440 21 yellow atomic done

A word on fitting this pattern: It runs in small-medium-large-etc. sizes, not individual sizes.  This one is a 14-16 (bust 34-36) and I think the shoulders run a bit big.  I fixed it by taking in the shoulders a size on the upper front bodice (not the lower front, just the upper front) and by taking a wedge out of the back bodice.  I basically took an inch out of the center edge of the back, tapering to the lower side-seam corner, to shorten the center edge without shortening the sides.  This pulled it closer to my back and helped the gapping.

The yellow dress and pink dresses both have buttons added to keep them closed.  I’m not sure I need that now and have not added one to the flowered dress yet; I’ll wear it awhile and see.  (The back button catches on my hair, which is annoying.)

Flickr set: YellowFlickr set: Flowered

Butterick 5882 – Shoulder Pad Shelf Bust Bra

Cocktail Rebel was a Rockabilly event at the beautiful McNay Art Museum. Upon deciding to attend with two of my girlfriends, I asked them what they wanted to wear. My BFF sent me a picture of Cha Cha’s prom dress featured in the movie “Grease”.

I had Gertie’s retro pattern, Butterick 5882, that I had been wanting to try.

butterick 5882

I wanted to keep the ruffles from the Cha Cha dress, at the bust. I pulled out a damaged vintage peignoir set that I was saving for such a project.

ruffle peignoir

I had also recently snagged some small shoulder pads at a thrift store, and immediately thought I would try something new. I wanted to place a shelf bra in the dress with padding at the bra cups. I decided to sew the shoulder pads together to make a full circle. I then added elastic, slightly stretched, around each top half of my ‘cups’ to ensure coverage and give each a more natural shape.

shoulder pad cup

I then encased each cup in the peignoir fabric, and hand sewed the peignoir ruffle collar to the areas of the cups that would be exposed. My shelf bra was made by taking the bodice pieces to slightly below the bust area. I used a thin, lycra poly knit and added a 1″ elastic band, cut 1″ short of my my BFF’s under bust measurement. I then added an elastic bra hook to the back.

shelf bust bra butterick 5882

I sewed the top of the shelf bra to my main fabric like a would a lining, leaving the center back unattached. Once all was placed together, and my zipper was placed, I then hand sewed my bottom bust ruffle trim, securing the outside dress to the bra cups to prevent separation of the pieces while in wear

One additional change was that I changed the arm straps into a halter.

I could not be happier with the end result, and my BFF was gorgeous!!

susan cha cha 1

susan cha cha 2

This is my first post to We Sew Retro, although I have followed for quite a while. Hopefully, this method may be helpful to some, and inspirational to others!

Yellow summery Wrap Dress

Sooo… I’ve been following We Sew Retro for a while now, but haven’t shared anything yet. I’m pretty excited :D
A few days ago I finished my Wrap Dress from Gertie sews vintage casual! I’d bought the fabric some time ago (I guess it’s cotton, at least it’s woven without stretch ^^) and as soon as I got the book and flipped through the garment section, I knew I had to make the Wrap Dress pattern from this fabric!

It’s the first more complicated dress I’ve ever sewn – interfacing, facing, a collar, sleeves – so I’m very proud of it (: I shortened the hem quite a bit, but now I’m not so sure if it was a good decision… oh well!Gerties Wrap dress (Excuse the bad lighting ^^)

Gerties Wrap dress (2)Gerties Wrap Dress (5)

Gerties Wrap dress (3)Gerties Wrap dress (6)

Gerties Wrap dress (4)

So, here it is, I hope you guys like it! Really sorry for the .. not so optimal background and lighting =D I just needed to take som pictures, but noone was there to help!

Ms. Y