Simplicity 9905: funnel vision

This is Simplicity 9905, published in 1981. It’s a pull-over dress (meaning no zipper) with buttons at the front, funnel neckline, an elastic waist, and the option of kimono sleeves (which they refer to as “cap”) or no sleeves (which they refer to as “cut in arm holes”). 

I love seeing notes on patterns, this one has a note reading “red plaid cotton”, which, sure, that could be nice. I prefer orange and pink myself. 

The fabric is a pink and orange printed cotton with a sort of watercolor-ish, brushstroke-ish, large-scale grid detail in grey. I found it at a yard sale, I love it, it was made by a company called Soptra Fabric. In the photos above you can see how I had barely enough fabric to cut this thing, and ended up cutting the skirt on the cross grain with the name stamp hiding behind the hemlace. 

I looked up Soptra Fabrics Corp. online, and learned that they were in business from 1941 to 1993. So…this fabric could be from the 80’s? 

Shadowy picture. I tend to chase the shade around the backyard for my photos, mostly missed here.

This is a good little dress.

There’s a leaf on my knee

This dress is kind of hilarious to me, though, because I think my version looks even more 80’s than the original. Like I’ve somehow out-eightiesed the eighties. I think it’s the pink. And the brush strokes. I feel like the eighties had a lot of painterly textiles. Is that true or just my eighties fantasy? 

But yeah, I feel like all the things I’ve made from vintage patterns become modern looking, just by way of being on a modern person in a modern world with modern shoes and stuff, but this guy kinda screams eighties to me. But in a way I can handle. 

Check that out, you can’t even tell the top is cut correctly and the skirt is cut on the cross. 

This is short though, and with a skirt this short I’ll be wearing tights, and with tights it’s nice to have a slip, so instead of a separate slip I made a skirt lining with two different —but totally color matched— pieces of lavender silk I just happened to have in the ol’ scrap bag. 

Isn’t that funny? The back half is a shiny silk charmeuse, the front half is a two-ply matte silk, but they are the same color! 

Oh scrap bag, you just give and you give. Thanks again, old friend.  

Above is the dress out in the wild. My sister took this photo by the chalk wall at our local coffee place. Boy wearing shorts I made for him (post here) and art directing spigot I’m drawing for him. 

This dress took eight hours, which was a bummer because I was hoping for a quick project, but then I have to remind myself that that eight hours includes cutting the fabric and choosing buttons that I ended up not using, and piecing together a lining, so, fine. Eight hours is fine. 

Oh, and I found another real life version of this dress online. I like to do a quick google when I finish a project, to see if any other Contemporary Ladies have tried whatever vintage pattern I’ve just made, and this time I found This! on Bread&Roses Vintage. I like the piping she added to her version, and it’s neat to see it with buttons, since I skipped them on mine. 

Sew It or Throw It: 

Sew it. Although not repeatedly. I like this dress but I’m pretty sure it’s not my new uniform. Next time I would want to make a facing for the sleeves instead of following the instructions and hemming. This is a big, open sleeve, and the backside of the printed cotton shows, which is not my fave. But totally livable for this go ’round. 

One amazing thing about this pattern: the pockets! Are deep enough for an entire human hand to fit inside!!!!!! Why is this so rare in the pattern world?!!!!!! 


21 thoughts on “Simplicity 9905: funnel vision

  1. I love this and would make one similar to it! Very nice. I think in order to look truly 80s you have to have big, spray-sticky hair and your garment has to have shoulder pads. I was watching When Harry Met Sally the other weekend on the plane and was thinking that those very loose, gathered-waist trousers and big-shouldered jackets, combined with the big hair looked really 80s. On the other hand, I’ve been wondering lately if we are due for an 80s revival, since the 70s revival has been going on for at least a few years in fashion. My partner in fact rolls his eyes whenever he sees the big designer windows “This is all 1970s! Doesn’t anyone have any new ideas? They just recycle everything.” This made me wonder if I have seen anything truly new in fashion recently.

    In any case, I love your dress, the fabric, styling and your boy’s shorts are sweet.


    1. You’re right, everything needs to be bigger to really harken the 80’s. Hair, makeup, shoulders. Belt and shoes too.
      I’ve seen some 80’s and 90’s looks around town here in Los Angeles, even the dreaded paper bag waist. Looked kinda cute too, despite my best efforts to disapprove. I guess that’s why wearing things made from vintage patterns never feels costumey to me, fashion is making plenty of references to the past on its own, with or without my participation.


  2. 1. Your hair = awesome
    2. 80s totally painterly. My fav dress was a drop waist, large patch pocketed deal that my mum made for me with *very expensive* fabric my gran bought us with an abstract paint brush and pencil scribble design in pastel colours on an odd white background. Pretty sure I wore it with a lemon yellow skinny belt
    3. This dress is awesome and love the “in the wild” shot.
    Nice work.


    1. Ah, yes, pencil scribble! Now you’re reminding me of all those variations: chalk marks, paint splatter, crayon dashes, oil paint dabs…
      Thanks for the hair complement, I keep feeling like it’s at an odd length right now. Last spring’s bangs growing out to meet recent length cut. I feel like it all needs to be either two inches longer or pixie short, so thanks for telling me it looks good as is!
      Lemon yellow skinny belt. Delightful. I love that your dress involved a very expensive fabric, that must’ve felt really special to wear.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks great-the colours are VERY 80s. I remember wearing pink and orange eyeshadow…yes, at the same time. And I had HUGE hair. And it was …wait for it…a mullet. A crimped mullet. Jeez.


  4. I wondered if the fabric was from the 1960s. But I know it is easier to date when you can hold the stuff. I like the general look of your version, but I thought it was a “play suit”, ie a jump suit with short legs. It’s fun, and thanks for including the Bread and Roses version too.


    1. It could be from the 60’s, definitely possible, its got the look. It’s in such good shape though, it’s amazing to think the fabric might be around half a century old. Could be though, fabric lasts.
      It does look like a play suit! I totally agree, I thought that too, looking at the pictures. I think its the length, a longer skirt might loose that look.
      It definitely does have a mechanic’s coverall look to it, though, with the elastic waist and the kimono sleeves and the overlapping front. One could do a really nice Chic Utilitarian Coverall version in some kind of beautiful denim.


  5. Such a cool dress. 80s in the best way possible. So good that now I’m thinking about looking for this pattern.
    Okay, for now I’ll just sit here wowed — among other things by your patience with piecing fabric. I need to work on that.


    1. I love turning small useless scraps into something useful! It’s the best feeling. The lining here has three seams on the front and two on the back. I did the pieces by overlocking the fabric together (and aligning the grain) at 3/8ths inch seams to create the width of fabric I needed (basically creating yardage from the scraps) and then laying on the pattern and cutting just like normal. Less tedious and fidly that way.
      I hope you find the pattern, it’s a nice one. Looked like there were a few on etsy/eBay/the usual suspects while I was searching for other made&blogged versions, and luckily the eighties aren’t a highly-prized decade for pattern collectors. Yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      Low angle shots are the best, aren’t they. Good for lengthening, and if they add attitude, bonus.
      Tripods are the best. Camera timers are the best.
      Good old tripod saves me the awkwardness of anyone seeing those twenty bad pictures that lead to the one good picture.
      Also avoids that special kind of foreshortening that happens when tall husbands are asked to be photographer for their shorter wives. My first few rounds of photographs back when I started sewitorthrowit were done with my phone stuffed in a cup on a painters stool. Anything to avoid the awkwardness and the foreshortening!
      Glad you like the dress!

      Liked by 1 person

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