Monday, November 1, 2010

Simplicity 7345 from 1967- Mod Red and Black Colorblock Dress

Simplicity 7345 from 1967- View 2


I love knits because I love pinking-- such a nice, lazy way to finish seams

Well, I've been sewing but I haven't been posting much. It's been a pretty busy month, but I've managed to get in some sewing now and then. I've made three dresses this month that I haven't posted so I'll have more to come very soon.

But first, let's begin with Simplicity 7345 from 1967. And here's the rundown:

1.) PATTERN SIZING: This is the second pattern that I have done with the 34 bust. So many of my fitting issues were solved by going down a size. As Michael Scott would say, "That's what she said." But seriously, this one went pretty well.

2.) SHOULDER SEAMS/ARMPIT AREA: The biggest issue that I face with the 34 bust is armpits/shoulder seams. If I leave the shoulder seams as is, the seam still falls off my shoulders. It's not as pronounced as the 36 bust, but it still isn't what I want. I have fairly wide shoulders and if I don't adjust the shoulder seams, I end up changing my shape from hourglass to inverted triangle.

Mid-way through & footwear challenged

How do I fix the shoulder seams? Well, I must say, I'm definitely in the lazy sewer category, so I know all the meticulous seamstresses out there will cringe at this one. Do I adjust the fit by redrawing the pattern during the cutting phase as a careful sewer should do?

Uh...well...actually no. I lay out my garment, grab my ruler, and use my chalk to draw a line from the armpit up to the shoulder seam. Then, I grab my trusty scissors and cut, hoping that I don't get scissor-happy and ruin everything. But I do use my ruler and I do measure the shoulder seams on RTW dresses that fit well in the shoulders, so that I know how much to cut-off. So far, this has worked well (no Lorena Bobbitt moments here), but I have to be careful not to cut off too much in the lower part of the armscycle. Wow, I used a big sewing word...but I don't think I spelled it right. At least it's better than calling it what I used to call it-- i.e. "that armhole thingy."

By the way, it might be more disastrous if I tried redraw my pattern. I got a D once on an Industrial Tech project that involved drafting. I'm pretty sure I cried.

I'm not crying here-- I think that means success

Back/Side View

The other big problem: the armpits. The bottom of the armscycle is too low with the 34 bust. I read in one of my sewing books that the bottom of the armscycle is supposed to fall approximately 1/2 inch under the armpit when the pattern has set-in sleeves. I ended up adjusting that issue by bringing in the seam line at that area by a couple inches. There was plenty of give, so it was easy to just pull it in. (Must resist "that's what she said" jokes) This seemed to cause the armscycle to migrate northward, which fixed the problem. On some previous patterns, I always had excess fabric (sort of like a bat-wing style sleeve) at the armpit area. I prefer a more tailored fit in the armpit area, so I'm glad I'm learning to fix this problem. A few dresses later, I found myself getting better at adjusting this area.

3.) THREAD: So, I bought this new black thread, because I was running out the previous brand I had bought. It said it was "all-purpose sewing thread." Is it possible that this is a fallacy? For some reason, this thread and my fabric did not mix. The thread kept bunching up in my machine, which in turn seemed to get my fabric caught in the feed dogs. When I first bought the new thread, I noticed that it was thicker than my previous thread, but I thought maybe it was just a better quality. Now I'm thinking it was somehow too thick for the fabric, which I'll get to next.

The shitty thread in action

4.) FABRIC: This time around I used ponte roma polyester. I was getting sick of the ponte roma, but it turns out there are different types, because this PR poly felt very soft and didn't have the same roughness of the previous PR I used. So, the question is whether that thread and the soft PR were somehow incompatible?

5.) HEM: This hem turned out better than any previous hem. I turned the bias tape inside again (as was so helpfully recommended--thank you, thank you!). This time, the fabric had more weight, so the method worked better. I am so excited by this hem that I want to redo all my previous hems, and I'm actually excited to do it. I'm having a major dork-out moment ; - )

So, overall, success! I'm not necessarily "wowed" by this one either, but I do like it, and I am proud to say that with each dress, I'm working out the various fitting issues.

Happy sewing!

It looks like a mod take on the Star Trek the Next Generation uniform


  1. I like it - I am sorry I can't be helpful in the arm fitting issues, I tend to fix em much the same as you do - though I can check if my book has anything to say :)

  2. @Angelic Cow: Glad I'm not alone in that method. I just don't have the patience to redraw patterns and I figure, if it works, why not?

  3. Don't sweat the armhole fixups! My aunt is 94 and has made everything from wedding gowns to mens suits and she simply makes a tiny tuck to take in a shoulder line. It's worked for her for 80 years! And by the way I love all of your color block dresses. Have you ever seen the YSL mondrian dresses? Those would be fun to make. I think they are in a museum somewhere.

  4. @Maggie: Your aunt is awesome : - ) What a cool story. I've seen the Mondrian patterns and I've lusted over them. I haven't seen them come up online though and haven't found one in my antiquing. Maybe someday. I did just buy an awesome colorblock starburst pattern from Vogue. Really killer.

  5. I have the same problem!! I measure a size 36 bust but they are always too big. I got the book 'fit for real people' and learned that I need to buy size 34 bust patterns and do a full bust adjustment. I am also a lazy sewer like you but once you do this, you will never turn back. the fit is amazing! All you need to do is make a few slits in your pattern and add a bit of room. I'm sure you could find an online tutorial.... like this one....

    or this one...

    But thats just a couple, there are heaps more! Hope this is helpful :-)

  6. Is it possible that thread was topstitching put in the wrong place in the shop? It does look really thick!

  7. @Long & Winding Bobbin: I'm getting really good at fitting the armholes my super lazy way but thanks for the advice. If it stops working or I notice major fitting problems, I will check out FBA.

    @Jane: I don't think so, because I bought tons of spools from the same spot, but perhaps I didn't read the sign right.