Monday, January 31, 2011

Simplicity 6861 from 1966: Sea Green Crepe Dress

I've fallen behind, yep again, on my posts. It's not all bad, though. I've fallen behind partially, because I'm now completing projects faster and more efficiently. I'm happy to report that most of my latest projects have been successful, which is a good thing, because my scalp was starting to hurt from all that hair pulling. The project I'm about to present was completed about 2 months ago.

Presenting Simplicity 6861 from 1966....


1.) STYLE: This was one of the patterns I picked out from the "Mad Men" style. Although the date is a little later than the series, view 1 evokes the "Mad Men" era more so than it does the mod/psychedelic styling of the latter half of the sixties. In the previous "Great Wiggle Dress Disaster" post, I mused as to whether this style is right for me. The answer is "yes" and "no." I think the mod/60's style better fits my personality and ascetic. But, I'm not quite ready to discount the early 60's. I especially appreciate the silhouette fashion from that era creates. I added my knee high boots to the dress, though, to give a slightly more modern edge. I'm not sure if they work or not, but I don't think I can necessarily pull off a "literal" mad men/pin-up look.

2.) FABRIC: I'm not a big fan of polyester crepe. That's a major lesson learned from the project. While it doesn't necessarily show on the finished product, I didn't like the way the crepe tended to ripple due to its weight. Why did I pick this fabric to begin with? Well, I previously mentioned that Joann's lousy selection has been contributing to my poor fabric choices. I see a color I love and then I buy the fabric, even though I'm not a big fan of the "type" of fabric. This happens even when the fabric is not appropriate for the project. It's like I have "fabric goggles" on. I think the fabric is a Johnny Depp when in reality it's just a Rush Limbaugh. So, why did I let the fabric goggles distort my judgment again? Well, I had already purchased the polyester crepe for this project BEFORE I made the realization about Joann's. So, I figured what the hell. I had never sewn polyester crepe, so who was I to judge it before trying it?

3.) TO SLEEVE OR NOT TO SLEEVE?: After I'd gone through the horror of making my first-ever sleeves of this type, my husband asked this terrifying question: "Are you sure this dress wouldn't look better sleeveless?" I furrowed my brow, I gasped, and I almost cried (well, not really).

To test his guess, I pinned the finished sleeve to the armhole and then looked at myself as sort of half-man, half woman (or rather half sleeve, half no sleeve). So, after I'd toiled at learning how to do gathering for the first time, it was decided: the thing DID look better without sleeves. I hated to admit it, but it was true. Oh well, at least I now know gathering is not that hard.

The half sleeve, half no sleeve look

4.) COLLAR: The pattern collars are always too big for me. I think I cut off a little too much when I made my adjustment, though. Oh well, I don't think result is too noticeable.

5.) STAY STITCHING: Did I mention I quit stay-stitching about 3 projects ago? I haven't noticed any problems with my sewing as a result, and it was becoming such a tedious bother. I enjoy sewing so much more now that I'm not stay stitching. Okay, be honest-- do you think I'm being bad here?

6.) IRONING: Still hate it.

7.) ACCESSORIES: Without a belt, the dress looks awful. I suppose the belt is integral given that the pattern maker shows the dress belted on the pattern envelope.

Without the belt, I think it looks vaguely like a fancy trash bag, if there is such a thing...

So, that's about it for this one. Don't "love" it, but I certainly don't hate it. That's good, right?

Happy sewing!


  1. I think I stay-stitched once. That was enough for me. The heavens have yet to strike me down because of it. And while I've had more than a few sewing failures, I would not attribute a one of them to lack of stay-stitching.

  2. @Amanda: I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone. I thought I was bending the rules and that the sewing gods would eventually make me pay. Since you haven't had problems either, it looks like I'll remain a "sinner" on this one!

  3. What a great pattern, and your fabric choice looks good from here. I think I often have "fabric goggles", too. Especially for how bad a sewer I still am.

    Do you have any photos closer up of the finished neckline? Or perhaps with your lovely hair swept back a little? I'd love to see the neckline - it's the most interesting part of this pattern, I think. Thanks!