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.
Both 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.