Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vintage Simplicity 5034

One dress down, four more to go. I did have a head start on this dress though. I'm extremely happy with how this dress turned out and I just love the Liberty fabric!

Just to remind you of the pattern this is the envelop and the description of the design: "Simplicity 5034; ca. early 1960s; Misses' Wrap-Around Dress in Two Lengths: Dress laps at the back forming V-shaped neckline. Front neckline is rounded and slightly lowered. Bodice is fitted. At waistline, tie ends are sewn to back opening edges and tie in a bow at front. Inverted pleats conceal side pockets. "
The pattern has some lovely details which I think make it extra special, unfortunately they do get a little lost in this fabric. The skirt is formed with a series of pleats, some over others, to create this lovely soft pleated look. I think it is a particularly wearable skirt style, not too full and not slim, just perfect!
There are also pockets, which are created with a butterfly-like pattern piece that was stitched to the middle of one of the skirt panels, not the side seam. They actually sit a little further back from the side of the dress, which I guess helps prevent the pockets creating extra bulk to the hip area. Then a couple more pleats hide the pocket.
The back wrap sits quite nicely and only gapes if I stand with over-corrected posture, which I guess I'll try not to do.
Modifications I made to the pattern:
  • slightly lowered the centre of the front neck. It makes me feel too constrained when a neckline sits above my collarbone
  • shortened the dress by quite a few inches
  • reduced the bust darts slightly and graded up the waist for fitting purposes
  • I used a contrast fabric for the waist tie. I really think this fabric needed to be broken up a bit and if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I'm a bit of a fan or contrast waist detail, just to try to create a waist where no waist exists. The sash was made with cotton sateen, which I found at Lincraft, but only after trawling through all the ribbon and fabric at Spotlight and Tessuti first. I think I would have preferred a grosgrain ribbon tie, but this is nice.
  • I top stitched the whole bodice as I did have a bit of trouble with the facings popping out, even after under stitching. I'm happy to do this though, as it isn't terribly noticeable and it does provide a little extra wearing security in relation to the facings. I think next time I make this I'll fully line the bodice.
  • I also modified the sleeves. The pattern includes quite long and fitted sleeves, which were impractical, so I slashed the sleeves of my muslin and re-cut the pattern to accommodate the extra ease. I had a few problems easing in the sleeves. I ran two rows of gathering and tried twice, but still ended up with a slightly gathered sleeve cap. I thought I was a bit of an expert at setting in sleeves, especially after all the Tova dresses I've been making, but this one got me. It looks nice though and they are even, so they now are gathered cap sleeves.
The fabric is Liberty tana lawn called Tatum and it was delightful to sew with. I really adore this dress and aim for make at least one other for summer. The only thing I need to do is learn how to tie a nice bow for the front ties. I tried at least 20 times before taking these photos - any tips??

Happy sewing!


  1. Lovely! I read something on the internet recently that explained why vintage dresses up until the mid-late 60s don't seem to fit the waists of modern women. The answer of course were the UNDERGARMENTS they wore to make their waists small.

    And here I was for years thinking it was just my awful proportions.

  2. This is darling!! Love the v-back and bow belt!!

  3. Beautiful! Of course, the underwear is essential for the proper fit of a dress pattern vintage or vintage, the trick to a perfect arc is the knot to the opposite side ... I explain ... if you make a knot in a first direction, the next node (arc) should go in the opposite direction,

  4. This dress is lovely and has so many gorgeous features. I think your fabric choice and coordinating sash is all very delightful. It looks like one of those fabulous designs that could almost be worn all year round with the right accessories.

  5. What a wonderful job you've done on this dress. It looks fab!

    I couldn't help noticing that the illustrations on the pattern show women with normal-length legs (instead of the usual crazy-long legs). It almost looks odd!

  6. Super cute dress on you. You have an adorable figure for vintage.

  7. Very charming dress! It looks SEW current!


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