1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 3877: The 60s Christmas Dress

December 23, 2013

I’ve had this gorgeous pattern since July and have been looking for the perfect excuse to make it and what better than a Christmas party at work? The scene is set, there will be a brass quintet and nibbles and drinks in the Atrium of our building, now all I need to do is make an entrance in something very festive.

Simplicity 3877

I did (again) struggle with the sleeves – which were, again, meant to be set in…but it seems we do not get on very well, so I did my best, tried not to cry (after sewing a sleeve in inside out and having to get the trusyt seam ripper out again) and took a deep breath. They didn’t turn out too badly BUT I have made it an aim for 2014 to master set in sleeves!

christmas dress

The light isn’t great in this pic so I’ve added the one below as I think it gives a better impression (and it was too cold to be outside!)

Christmas dress

My dress was complete! To find out more, have a look at my blog post and please let me know the secret to set in sleeves, they’re driving me NUTS!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, thank you so much for making me feel so welcome on WSR and reading my posts over the last six months or so and have a wonderful Christmas! I’ll be back soon (unless I cannot reach the laptop from my eggnog and chocolate coma) xx

  1. Super lovely dress! I do find sleeves quite tricky sometimes. Do it slowly and keep smoothing it as you go – thats what my mom keeps saying! I love the contrasting fabric and it looks amazing! I sometimes struggle with mix and matching fabrics hahahaha 🙂 I think the fit and cut suit you perfectly!!

  2. Love the pattern and color you choose. I always stitch 3 rows of gathering/ease stitching at the sleeve top. I then pin the the sleeve in, matching only the notches and all the markings. I then pull up the threads to get it to fit in the sleeve. I use a lot of pins to distribute the ease nicely. I always baste the sleeve in by hand. Then check from the right side to see if it looks like it will be good before I sew it permanently. Enjoy your party you look beautiful.

  3. Wonderful dress! Set-in sleeves are a strange thing: to me, it’s almost a matter of finding the right “groove” in the pattern piece, where the seam is supposed to be. Have you ever played a vinyl record, and the needle isn’t exactly in the groove so it sounds unusually scratchy and not clear? Then you adjust the needle ever so slightly and voila! beautiful clear sound. Same with set-in sleeves! If I miss the seam line ever so slightly, even with careful basting and adjusting, it just won’t work.
    Hope you have a lovely, fun time at your party!

  4. I love this! So appropriate for the event you are going to.

    My sleeve tip is to make sure you clip your curves very well. I make bras, which require a similar “setting in” to a sleeve. Clip the inside curve, which you can then gently stretch to fit the sleeve. I also like the ease stitch method Gail describes.

    This dress would be really pretty in taffeta!

  5. First let me say you did a wonderful job! Be sure to ease stitch with a long machine stitch ON the seam line of the sleeve head. Then turn your garment inside out, insert the sleeve right side out into the opening from inside the garment and pin the shoulder and underarm to align. Be sure you are using the correct sleeve. The double notches on the sleeve head should be now aligned with the double notches on the back of the garment. Now you can pin, starting from the underarm, working your way to the shoulder. Use your thumb to smooth the ease stitching and keep pinning, working from underarm point to shoulder, first the front, then the back. Now stitch- use a basting stitch, stitching from the inside from underarm towards shoulder, then around back to underarm. Turn the garment right side out, check the seam, looking for anywhere you may have caught too much garment in the seam. Then go back and stitch again directly on the seam line with a regular stitch, then you can trim the underarm section and clip the seam allowance in the upper area. Don’t trim off too much seam allowance in the upper sleeve head area. Good luck!
    You can always hand baste the seam- easier to rip out if it’s all wrong!

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