Simplicity 1284 review


For a long time, I didn’t think very highly of 60s fashion. Maybe it’s because our idea of the 60s is mainly focused on the hippie movement, which has never much appealed to me because I prefer clothes that are neat and well-fitting, but somewhere down the line I finally realized that the hippies were, well, counterculture. Once I realized that the mainstream 60s fashions were something else entirely, I was hooked!

Here is Simplicity 1284, my first journey into what is solidly 60s (as opposed to transitional 60s, which you can find in my review of Butterick 6318). This style is definitely a departure from what I usually wear, which involves full skirts and fitted waistlines, but I just love it anyway! My grandmother, who was in her early-mid twenties when this style was current (i.e. she was exactly the age I am now) was intrigued by the idea that I was copying a style she clearly remembered wearing when she was young, so that was fun as well.

20170528_170445.jpgBoth pieces are made of the same fabric, a 53% linen and 47% rayon blend from Joann Fabrics, in contrasting colors. The dress (view A) went together without a hitch, even considering that this was the first time I ever installed an invisible zipper! The vest (view D) was a little bit harder. For one thing, cutting interfacing for such a long length was a pain, though I successfully got each part cut as one piece in the end. Also, once the facing was in, it still flipped out too easily, so I tacked it in at 5-inch intervals while careful to make sure the stitching didn’t show through on the outside.

I also had a hard time with the shoulder-to-bust darts on the vest, but they turned out right eventually. The real trick with them was not in the sewing, but in the ironing—they need to be ironed on a curve.

One other thing that I did was grade the pattern out in the skirt. Unfortunately my size on the upper half (12) and my size on the lower half (16) don’t come in the same envelope. To solve this, I used size 12 as my base pattern, and graded from 12 at the bust to 14 at the waist, then found the horizontal that equated to hip level and graded out an extra half inch, since the envelope showed size 16 as having 2 inches more ease at the hip than did size 14.

Two things I would have done differently: First, I wish I had made the skirt just a little bit longer, since I prefer my knees covered. Also, the neckline has a tendency to pull upwards and choke when I sit down, so I would probably lower it about an inch. It’s nothing that will keep me from wearing the dress as it is, but it would have been nice to not worry about where my hem and neckline are going to slide to whenever I sit down or stand up.

All told, I am very happy with this project. The two parts look great together or apart, and I’ve even worn the vest over a white blouse and jeans. It also helps that I made them from solid colors so they are easier to mix and match! I’m usually tempted to make everything in bold prints, but we need something more plain now and then so things don’t get too crazy.

Additional photos:

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Butterick 6318 review

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I recently finished a long-awaited project using this beautiful Spanish printed cotton I’d been holding onto for a year. I’ve been to Spain a few times, by virtue of my parents currently living only a short flight away, and one of my favorite discoveries in Madrid is that there is still a general enthusiasm for the homemade that I don’t often see in the other places I’ve been.

But this is a review of a pattern, not a country, so with a quick shout-out to the helpful worker at Almacén de Pontejos who took the time to find the perfect thread and notions for me, let’s get started!fabric.png

The fabric is a very pretty 3-color print on a plain cotton weave, and from the moment I saw it I knew I wanted a full-skirted dress out of it. It came in the 60-inch width and I bought 3 meters of it, though I didn’t know exactly which pattern I would use with it (or if I would create my own). When I finally got around to planning the dress, I considered McCall’s 7086 (view A) until I realized that I was 60 centimeters short, and even if I did the narrow-skirted version I would have 80 centimeters go to waste, plus a narrow-skirted dress in a fabric that I wanted to make a full skirt with.

Instead, I decided on Butterick 6318, which was exactly the silhouette I wanted and with just the right amount of fabric. The top of the dress is especially easy, with a simple neckline and dolman sleeves, which don’t include a shoulder seam, so I was able to finish most of the cutting and assembly in one afternoon, including extra time spent to match the fabric along the seams.

The zipper took me more time than I wanted it to, mostly because I was trying to make it perfect, but I’m happy with the result. It’s no different from other back zippers I’ve done in the past.

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dress back (with basting, but before the zipper was installed); I made sure the print matched along the Y-axis, since there is a visible “stripe” produced by the yellow leaves.

I made one change while making it, which was to make the dress sash double-layered, since my fabric doesn’t look as nice on the wrong side. This has the added advantage of letting me choose to tie it either back-to-front or front-to-back!

The other change I plan to make is the addition of pockets, which I always include in wide skirts. The reason why I didn’t already include pockets is that the side seams are actually side-front seams, and I didn’t want to be kicking my phone and wallet any time I walked. However, now that it’s all put together, I think I can open up part of the side seam and install regular pockets after all, because the seams turned out to be a little bit closer to the side than I expected them to be. Anyone else who makes the pattern might want to figure out where the side seams end up falling when they wear it if they are going to do the same.

All in all, I’m really pleased with this pattern, and I feel like it did justice to my Spanish cotton. It’s a bit less fitted than most similar dresses I’ve worn before, seeing as it makes use of dolman sleeves, which makes sense with it fitting into a sort of transitional period between the fit-and-flare dresses of the 1950s and looser mod styles of the 1960s. (The website listing states that the pattern is from 1961.) I also liked that since it wasn’t very fitted, I only needed to worry about my waist measurement, since I never fit perfectly into dress sizes. Usually for me, if it fits in the waist, it’s too loose in the bust and too tight in the hips, unless I take extra time to grade the pattern for my measurements. But since this pattern made a dress which is only supposed to fit tightly in the waist, and was loose elsewhere, I didn’t have to worry about any of that! It was an easy, quick sewing project, and I love the finished result.