Monday, September 20, 2010

Simplicity 7796 (1968) Beatles-inspired mod gray dress

The pattern- I picked the middle view

Ironing the invisible zipper- I just LOVE them now

Uneven collar band pieces=weird Gomer Pyle face

I created this gray, mod dress from Simplicity 7796 (1968). It's inspired by the gray nehru suits the Beatles wore in the 60's (the ones with the stand-up collars) My favorite band=fashion inspiration.If they were stars today, the media would nickname them J.Len & Paul Mac

Making the dress was a fairly smooth process, but I'm not all that happy with the results. For some strange reason, the dress looks really great in pictures but not so great in person. The last dress I did, the peter pan collar dress, it was just the opposite. I thought that dress looked better in person than in the pictures. Hmmm.... I have no explanation for that, but here's the rundown:

1.) COLOR CHOICE: In person, this dress looks like a prison guard uniform. Methinks that gray wasn't a great choice-- at least not the flat gray I picked. For a solid color dress without a whole lot of detail, I probably should have used a fabric with more sheen or more texture-- more SOMETHING to make it stand out and not look so flat. I used ponte roma polyester again. I really need to try some new fabrics, but now that I'm somewhat used to that fabric, I'm finding it hard to change it up. Fear of failure? Probably. I'd love to try a soft, cotton/poly blend.

A VERY SPECIAL NOTE: My husband agrees that this dress looks way different in pictures. I swear I am not crazy.
2.) STAND UP COLLARS: I just can't get these stand up collars to look right. In one of the pictures, you'll see what I mean. I used the interfacing as directed (god, I make it sound like medicine), but it still doesn't stand up properly. It droops like Justin Bieber's career will in a few years.

Button detail and drooping collar that won't stand up properly--my boobs frighten me in this pic-- blame my Bohemian grandmother for these-- all flesh, no silicone

I'm wondering if the neck hole is too large for me? Since I still haven't tried the 34 bust pattern, I'm wondering if the neck would fit me better on that size, which in turn would cause the collars to stand up and fit better? Could a too large neckhole cause a droop? I tried to starch the damn thing, but it remains flaccid. Either I totally don't know how to use starch or starch companies have been scamming people for years. Probably the former.

I also had some problems getting the collar to be even (height-wise) on each side, since it was made of two pieces divided by a small space. That wasn't so bad, but I did have to bond with Mr. Seam Ripper to fix the issue. I'm seriously reconsidering my friendship with him.

3.) SHOULDER SEAMS: Since I made this dress before I noticed the problem with the misplaced shoulder seams, I didn't fix that problem with this dress. I think this dress has more of a shoulder problem than the last dress. The seams are almost off my shoulders, making them look too wide (once again, I wish you all could see this dress in person).

4.) LENGTH: For some reason, I liked this dress better length-wise before I hemmed it.

I liked it better longer (that's what she said)

5.) HEM: I did the bias tape technique again which is working for me. I do want to try the rolled hem, however. Haven't gotten the right foot yet. I do wish I had matched the bias tape closer to the color of the dress. It seemed like a better match in the store.

Well, that's about it for this one. I'm going to get some sewing in tomorrow. I'm excited-- it's been a busy month, and I haven't put as much time in. I'm also working with a ribbed knit for the first time so wish me luck.


Oh how I wish this dress looked like it does in the pictures!

Happy Sewing Adventures!


  1. I could not find a decent tutorial for this so here's an explanation... ready?

    Where the 'collar' is attached to the neck of the dress there is a seam and allowance. Starting at the zip, you want to sew 3 layers of fabric, not including the exterior layer. You sew about 1/8 inch away from your seam whilst looking at the inside-most layer. ***You don't want any of you sewing on the outside of the garment***.

    As well as this, you will need to tack down the facing at the side seams. This is hand-sewing! EEK! But it will help to keep your facings inside the dress and pull down on the collar, making it sit up straighter. It's a single stitch that you sew through the facing layer at the bottom, then onto the body of the dress at the seam. Have a look in your sewing books, it's sure to mention it!

    Here's a general introduction to topstitching: This one is mainly for decorative purposes but gives you a general rundown of how it is achieved!

    Also, here's a really informative brochure on how to mark your fabric for sewing

    Keep up the good work!


  2. I agree with you on the length thing but perhaps that has something to do with it being more flowy and less military.

    in relation to the bias hem, if you sew the bias tape with one fold open to the hem right side to right side, you can then turn the tape inside and stitch again around it sealing the hem in but the bias tape on the inside. let me know if that makes no sense at all.

    However in this case I like it - I think it adds something, maybe you should bias the top of the collar or something the "striping" of the slightly different bias tape may add some depth you are after.

  3. I think it looks way better than anything i could do! it may not be perfect but be proud of it still. x

  4. The reason your shoulder seams are falling off your shoulders is because this pattern is actually too big for you in the bodice. What you need to do is use a smaller size and then do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). As patterns go larger in size, they get wider across, and the end result is your shoulder seams (where the sleeve inserts) fall off your shoulders.

  5. littlenashua is right. You need to measure your above bust and below bust size and use this as a guide to what size to cut, then use a full bust adjustment. Your shoulders are pulling at the top of the sleeves and this is exacerbating the collar problem.
    Here's some advice on measuring the bust lines.

    And here's a tutorial on doing a full bust adjustment

    Good luck, hope that helps.

  6. You made me laugh out loud several times with this post. That being said, the dress looks pretty good. I love the style. I hope you can work out the kinks (I have no genius ideas for you, so I'm pretty much useless) and make this work. The idea of this dress is fantastic.

  7. @kathchown: I'll have to try that out in the future. Thanks for the tips and links! At the moment, I'm hoping my problems stem from the fact that the pattern size is too big which is causing a too large neckhole.

    @Heather: Yep, def.-- it was less military and more flowy. I know EXACTLY what you mean in regard to the bias tape method. I actually did that with one of my later dresses after seeing this tip that you wrote. I don't know why I didn't think of that. Thanks for the tip!

    @The undomesticated scientist: Awww...thanks!

    @littlenashua: I later found out that you're right-- the pattern size is too big in the bodice. In fact, I discovered that it's too big everywhere (more on that in a later post). So, I actually ended up not even having to do a bust adjustment because the 34 bust ended up being correct for my body (even in the bust, which I thought it would be too small for).

    @jadestar003: Luckily I found out I was using the wrong pattern size so I won't have to do any bust adjustments with my new 34 bust size (I've been using a 36). What a relief! Thanks for the advice ; - )

    @Gordita: I'm glad to have made you laugh! I need to laugh more myself but sometimes I take things too seriously and get too frustrated. Thank you for the compliment too ; - )

  8. I think if you transfer 1/3 of each back dart to the CB you will get rid of that (for want of a better word) unsmooth fit. I did it to my block pattern and it looks much better, even in looser-fitting shift dresses.

  9. I love the pictures of you wearing nylons. Can you take a picture of your feet?