Thursday, 21 August 2014

Simplicity 2497

Hey hey hey! 

I've heard it said that you're not a proper sewer until you've completed your first vintage sewing project. Well, here's mine! 

I used Simplicity 1459, which I picked up for £10 at a vintage market I visited on Saturday in my town's civic hall, but I made quite a few changes! 

Firstly, when tracing the pieces I shortened both the bodice and the skirt significantly. The bodice piece originally was sitting around my hips, and the skirt pieces reached my ankles! Clearly, women in the fifties were about two feet taller than myself. Then, I decided to leave off the neck facings and the sleeves, instead choosing to bias bind the raw edges. Finally, I didn't bother adding the collar which came with the pattern, in an effort to simplify my first vintage make. Next time I make this dress though (there will definitely be a next time!) I think I might make the collar, just to see how it turns out. 

I love the buttons up the front. I found some on my local market which matched absolutely perfectly with the fabric I'd chosen! 

The only thing I was left slightly disappointed with was the fullness of the skirt. I assumed thanks to the pattern illustration and the many, many pleats, that the skirt would be big enough on it's own to not require a petticoat, but it just hangs flat. I don't really like the straight up and down look, so I've dug a fluffy crinoline from out of the depths of my wardrobe which helps to add the fullness I wanted. 

So there we have it! A qualified sewer at last, one vintage pattern under my belt. I assure you it won't be long till the next one! 

Hope you are all having a lovely week, 

Beth x


  1. Hi Beth, I just saw your post on We Sew Retro and decided to have a look at your blog.
    First of all: Congratulations on your first vintage project! It looks lovely.

    As a fellow 1950's fashion enthusiast, I hope you don't mind if I give you some pointers.
    - In my experience, women in the 1950's were, on average, a little shorter than women today. So, if you don't have length issues with modern patterns, any trouble with that should be down to style. And fashionable skirt lengths were more likely to be calf length than knee length up to 1960.
    - Fashion illustrations are flights of fancy. They very often make full skirts look a lot fuller and slim ones a lot more clinging than they are in real life.
    - Related to that: whether or not a skirt will stand out on its own is at least as much down to the fabric as to the fullness of the skirt. A full circle in soft, thin, limp cotton will fall straight down, half a circle in denim will stand out. And to get the classic 1950's silhouette you always need some kind of fluffy petticoat.
    - And, related to my point about length: waist length. Judging from the picture, the waistline of your dress is well above your natural waist. It looks nice, but if you want the 1950's silhouette, that seam should be at the narrowest point of your torso.

    Obviously, the advantage we have nowadays is that we can pick-and-mix from the styles of the past and adapt them to our own style. So, if I misunderstood what you are doing, please just ignore me.
    Best of luck with your next project!

    1. thank you, this helps a lot! i've never sewed using a vintage pattern before so i didn't really know what to expect. i shortened the bodice a lot as that's how i usually prefer my dresses, but i think i will go back to the original length if i make this pattern again - now it's finished, i can see the length should be a little longer. the fabric is also quite lightweight so that's probably where the skirt issue comes from, but it's not a problem to wear a crinoline. thank you for all your help! i will definitely bear it in mind when sewing future vintage patterns :)

    2. So exciting! I love sewing vintage patterns! I always have to lengthen everything I make (dresses and skirts, that is). It is so fun to create these vintage styles!
      Great job, and I love the purple polka dots!!

      Esther @