Monday, September 6, 2010

Simplicity 8437 (1969)- Red Mod Dress with Contrasting Tabs

Okay, is it just me or is "Jiffy" a bit of an exaggeration?

I got a new iron but still haven't been able to get my pattern pieces very smooth...

I sew sew sew

Midway through

Here's the dress that I completed after the black and white dress. It's Simplicity 8437 from 1969. I decided to go with the look shown on the front of the pattern (i.e. the red dress with the white contrasting tabs). My only changes were going to be shortening the dress and omitting the pockets. I used my favorite fabric (thus far), which was ponte roma polyester.

This dress was mostly a breeze. I spent very little time with my bud Mr. Seam Ripper. Even tailoring it wasn't so difficult. I machine basted it once, too loose. I pulled out the stitches. Rebasted it. And voila! I feel this dress has a nice drape, while at the same time skimming the waist. I didn't over-tailor it, like I did with the last one. Yippee! ; - )

I did struggle a tad with the sleeves. When I initially sewed them, I discovered that they were significantly too large around my arms. I had to pull out the stitching and bring them in about 1 inch. That did the trick, and I was pleased with the fit.

Hemming was also a lot easier, because I used the bias tape method of encasing the hem. I used angry chicken's great video tutorial to guide me: ( I want to thank Fairevergreen for recommending that method. I think my hem turned out much smoother. I'd also like to try the rolled hem method that a few of you recommended. I just haven't had time to research which type of rolled hem foot to get. I'll have to order one online, as local fabric stores didn't carry the appropriate one.

I think my husband was trying to capture the invisible zipper

Of course, I did have one major snafu. What kind of project would this be without one? Well, it probably wouldn't be one of my projects!

Now, remember that I said that I was omitting the pockets originally. Well, that didn't work out so well. I took one look at the dress and thought, "Okay, this is alright, but something's off." I asked my husband his opinion, and we both concluded that the dress just looked like one big sea of red without the pockets there to break it up. So, even though I had a meeting with my local Congressman the next morning (I'm a volunteer for a non-profit called RESULTS), I decided at 10pm the night before to throw the pockets together.

What crime was I guilty of? The crime of sewing while exhausted. I had spent hours and hours sewing that day, and I was t-i-r-e-d. Now, I've committed the crime of sewing while exhausted before, but this was especially exacerbating, since I had to get up in the morning (I work at home and usually roll out of bed whenever I feel like it).

Okay, so the pockets aren't terrible, but I'll admit that they would have turned out a little neater if I had taken more time and if my eyes weren't so crusty and all. One pocket is a little larger than the other, and the distance each is from the center seam isn't quite the same. There's also a little pulling at the area where I sewed on the pockets. I could have re-done them, but I'll admit, I was too lazy and exhausted for any re-dos.

Also, I struggle whenever a pattern asks me to sew the raw edge of a curved seam 1/4 inch (or what have you). I struggle with curves as it is. It doesn't help to add a very small edge to the equation. Anyone know of a foot that would help with this? Perhaps a rolled hem foot?

Overall, I like the result. I think it's a cross between 60's stewardess and Star Trek crew member. Both are fun retro looks in my book! When I wore this at Dragon Con, someone did ask if it was a Star Trek costume. I thought about being a Star Trek crew member for Halloween, but I have my heart set on Barbarella.

Happy sewing adventures!


  1. It looks awesome Astrid! Monique xx

  2. You have the best taste in patterns ever!
    I love the dress. It could work with, instead of pockets, side tabs like on this dress ( ) which would break up the colour a bit.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I love your blog! I'm plucking up the courage to buy a sewing machine and start making some clothes from vintage patterns and you have definitely inspired me. :)

    I also have to say that some of your posts had me crying with laughter - in a good way - when I was a kid growing up in the 70s, I'd make doll's clothes and the joke in our family was to never ask me what it was when I started, as it always ended up being something completely different by the time I'd finished. My mum still refers to this as "The Barbie Poncho/Rug Incident". (Knitting was the same - I had so many scarves that started out as sweaters, but that's another story...) So I understand your frustration and thoroughly applaud your perserverance. For the record, your dresses all look fantastic.

    Looking forward to many more blog posts! :)

  5. So adorable! I love that vintage fashion is alive and well. I tend to prefer the 1940's and earlier for my inspiration but, perhaps I need to revisit the 1960's....Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. @Monique: Thanks!

    @Amy: Thanks for the compliment and for the link. I LOVE the idea you gave about the side tabs. I will def. keep that in mind for future projects.

    @Georgina Ragazza: Thank you for the compliment- I'm glad you like it ; - ) And I'm glad to have made you laugh too. That's awesome ; - ) You should definitely play around with the vintage patterns. It does take a lot of perseverance, but before getting into sewing, I was a notorious quitter. I actually stuck to this and I'm glad I did. Thanks for sharing your story too! Very funny!

    @Deborah: Thanks so much!

  7. I bet your feet like great in hosiery. How long can you hold your breath?