Simplicity 2602: three fabrics, three methods, three looks

This is Simplicity 2602, JR. MISSES AND MISSES DRESS AND OVERSKIRT IN TWO LENGTHS,  published in 1958. 

The most interesting thing about this pattern, aside from the model’s Medusa eyes, is that what you see on the cover is not what you’re gonna get, unless you happen to be wearing some kind of waist cincher and girdle combo a la 1958. 

The shape illustrated is pretty sharply nipped in at the waist, however the dress pattern itself is shaped by double sided darts, four in back and four in front. Darts like that don’t nip, they skim and curve gently. 

So, if you’re already shaped like the cover model, via fifties-era underpinings or natural talent, the dress will follow along. But if you’re just a regular ol’ modern girl, you get this:

Good, but not exactly as advertised!

So anyway, I thought that was neat. Underwear matters.

So the dress, it actually is simple to make, like the envelope says. I made it three times. Here’s the back view:

Let’s call them Blue, Green, and Yellow. 

Blue was the first one I made, and follows the original design and construction method the most closely: It is unlined, finished at the neckline with a facing, at the sleeve hem with seambinding, and has a vintage metal zipper in the side seam. It’s made of wool crepe, which was actually on the list of suggested fabrics. The wool shapes really beautifully, and I think this one is most in keeping with the technical drawings on the back of the envelope, if not the actual cover art. It is also my favorite.  

It differs from the original in that both the sleeves and hem are shorter than they are supposed to be. There’s supposed to be a whole ‘nother six inches or so of skirt length, including a kick pleat at center back. Just didn’t have enough fabric for that though, secondhand fabric lols. I also left out the waist stay that was called for, because I figured it would create a waist lump in this soft wool, and I only gave it two darts in the front instead of four it wants, to give a little more room in the waist. Did that on all three versions actually. 

Green was the most exciting to make, because it looks like the illustration. It’s made of dupioni  silk and flatlined with black cotton broadcloth, because dupioni is crummy on its own, despite being drop dead gorgeous. Crummy in that it is thin and papery and inconsistent. Gorgeous in that it’s colors are so deep and vibrant. The broadcloth beefs it up a lot. Dupioni is relatively inexpensive to buy though. So that’s fun. I actually did buy this particular silk dupioni, but it was fourteen years ago, to make scarves for my bridesmaids. 

Shantung is one of the suggested fabric, and I figure dupioni is like Shantung Lite, so this version is pretty well in keeping with the cover illustration. And, this version is the hands down favorite with the Instagram set. 

I included the waist stay on Green, but as you can see it’s not enough on its own to create the waist shape in the illustration. 

Green has slightly longer sleeves than Blue, and a much shorter skirt due to continued second hand fabric lols. I also added maybe four inches width to the skirt, as the pattern is pretty narrow in the hip department and this fabric has absolutely no give. You can see it has more of a bell shape than the others through the hip, which is kind of nice, and definitely helpful in sitting down, but is a change from the original design. 

Pardon my crooked stocking seams. I am not a professional pin-up. 

Yellow was the easiest to make. It has a satin lining dropped in, clean finished at the neck and sleeves, hemmed separately and swing tacked together. This one is the biggest departure in body shape, in that it is loose and swingy, with only two darts in the back as opposed to the four the others have, and it’s very short because as per usual, that’s all the sari fabric I had. However the sleeves are the correct length, as the original pattern intended. So that’s a funny progression: at the hems got shorter, the sleeves got longer when I made these. 

I really love this one. It’s a party. 

So that’s that: three versions, three different fabrics, three construction methods. 

*edited for judging* I forgot to say, this pattern is a Sew It for sure. If you come across this pattern out in the world, snap it right up, it’s a good one.

In other news, I  opened an Etsy store, name of Lazy Liza, link Here

Figured, I make a lot of stuff, sometimes stuff I don’t need, wouldn’t it be fun to make stuff I don’t need on purpose and send them along to other people. I know you guys here aren’t the market for this stuff, since you could make it all yourselves, but I am listing some of my patterns there too…..


Simplicity 1783: crazy on the inside

The pattern: Simplicity 1783, GIRLS’ SET OF SKIRTS, copyright 1956 Simplicity Pattern. Co. 

I think this pattern art is really interesting, in that it’s expressing two powerful messages. 

Message One: being a girl is a fun and super active time full of fresh air and outdoor play. The littlest girl, View 2, is putting on roller skates. Slightly older View 4 is playing with a spool on a string. View 1, oldest of the younger girls, has got her bike. 

I think these are really interesting choices, because all that’s being advertised here is a skirt, right? The artist could’ve gone for still, solitary  playtimes, like book reading, bird watching, painting. Hell, just standing still doing nothing. Being seen but not heard. But instead the artist chose activities for these girls that imply a shouty time running around, with friends. Way to empower girlhood, 1956.

But then Message Two: The oldest girl, View 3, does not have a toy and is not playing. She’s standing, elegantly, in white gloves. Her posture is closed. Her skirt is slim. She’s wearing stockings, not socks. She looks poised and happy, but she’s definitely crossed over into another realm. A less shouty running-around realm. 

I also think it’s interesting that her face is the only one we see. The little girls are kind of nebulous but the oldest girl is coming more fully into view. 

Just for fun, I looked up what $0.35, the original price of this pattern in 1956, would be now, and the online inflation calculator says it would be $3.09. That’s totally reasonable. I’d just about pay that. 

I made View 1, for those excellent big pockets. Think of all the frogs and leaves and pieces of string a girl could keep in those pockets! 

They’re less gigantic and bucket-like in real life, I think because the tiny waist on the illustration is throwing off the visual proportions a little. 

The fabric: The fabric was the entire reason for this project. It was a table runner, which was one of a dozen or so that I made for friends’ wedding. The bride encouraged me to take one home at the end of the night, so I did, probably wrapped around me scarf-like for warmth. Recently I cut up the table runner to make this quilt, and then decided there would pretty much be nothing awesomer in the world than making something for my friends’ kids out of the table runner from their wedding. 

It even has red wine stains. From their wedding! Which I mostly cut around, but there’s one faint one in there still. Which I think is great. Kids get to wear a skirt made from fabric that partied with their parents the day they were married. 

My pattern is a size 8, which I think corresponds to age, but I’m guessing age eight in 1956 was different than age eight, now, so I made it as is and sent it off with hopes that it’ll fit one or the other daughter now, or maybe both later, who knows. 

But here’s the Crazy On The Inside part: 

Because it was a narrow runner to begin with, and then most of it was used up for a quilt, and then there were the wine stains to cut around, this thing is totally pieced. 

Above is the inside of the front, below is the inside of the back. I love using every little bit like this. 

Sew It or Throw It: 

Sew It. Think of all the frogs and leaves and pieces of string! 

Vogue Patterns 8009: an easy to make overblouse

The pattern is Vogue 8009, an “Easy-To-Make” overblouse, from 1954. 

This actually was easy to make, despite….

See what’s going on there? The pattern is unprinted. 

Each pattern piece is precut, but the only information on any given piece is one word of perforated text announcing its name, some notches, and round or square holes marking areas of interest, like oh say bust darts I didn’t even know about.

Why didn’t I know about the darts? Why didn’t I just check the instruction page? Because the instruction sheet is missing from my copy. Hahahahhahaha. So it was a double whammy of using an unprinted pattern for the first time ever, and having no instructions. But this overblouse thing is a simple shape, and it’s not like there are multiple sizes or style options to confuse things, so it was all fine. 

This annoyed me though: 

The front neckline, clearly marked FRONT, has double notches. A double notch is how we show the back of something. Don’t do that to me, Vogue. 

Those holes at the bottom left of the photo are representing the bust dart, and the square hole is the sleeve attachment. What, how did I miss that dart, that’s not confusing at all. 

I used this great but weird felt stuff to make the overblouse. 

I’ve had this stuff since 2002 or so, original plan was to make a corset/bodice type thing, because the stitching for the bone channels would sink into the felt and look all structural and interesting, plus it would be fuzzy and soft, but still be a corset, and that would be neat, but after having no interest in actually wearing such a thing anytime in the past fifteen years, I’m fine with this ridiculous sweater thing instead. 

That’s how it’s referred to around the house. “Your ridiculous sweater thing.” 

It’s super warm, fuzzy, cozy, and it really is ridiculous. It sticks out like a bell. It’s too bulky to fit under any of my coats. I’m interested to see if it’ll survive the washing machine. 

Sew It or Throw It:

Sew It! I love this crazy thing! 

McCall’s 9400: sundress fundress in gingham and blue clover

The Pattern:
McCall’s 9400 Misses’ Dress, copyright 1953 by McCall Corporation
Notice something interesting about this pattern: it is “the first printed pattern.”

this beautiful illustration is beautiful

I’ve had this one for a while but never looked inside to see what it means by first printed pattern.
Turns out, like it says on the envelope, each pattern piece is printed. But in addition to being printed, each individual pattern piece was cut out by the factory. There’s a big margin of paper, outside the cut line, curving along the edges of each separate piece. All pieces were then stacked together, factory-folded, and enveloped. 
Nowadays, for comparison, all pattern pieces are printed side-by-side on a giant rectangle sheet of paper to be cut as needed. 
The even earlier, stuff-of-nightmares method gives you the pattern pieces cut out and notched by the factory, but with no lines or words. Printing the lines and identifiers on each pattern is a definite improvement. Yay McCall’s, thanks for being the first and leading the pack on that one.

The Fabric:
Blue and white gingham and a blue clover print. 

The gingham was leftover from a movie that had a scene with a kids’ production of The Wizard Of Oz. Terrible fabric. Terrible beautiful fabric that I love. Polyester. Totally warped off grain. I love it though, it’s blue gingham, it’s classic. I forced it to mirror at the shoulder seams where it’s most visible, but the side seams don’t match and the bodice center back is off grain. It was just so warped that I figured better to let it be, especially since this is not a movie and real life is more forgiving than the movies, as far as pattern matching is concerned. 
The blue clover print was a set of sheets, never used, still sealed in the original plastic, that I bought at a yard sale. You can see the label above, rayon/poly blend, quick Google tells me this bedding is from the 1970’s. 
The lady selling them said she had bought this set plus an extra set of sheets and some blue taffeta, to make herself a kick ass set of matching bedding and curtains, but never got around to actually doing it. 
I’m sure I have no idea what that feels like. 
I wish I’d asked her why she chose blue instead of the normal clover color. You know, green. But I’m glad she chose blue. For me to have. And give to my sister. And here she is!

The Dress:

girl stop. just stop it right there with your cuteness.

This pattern is 63 years old. This is the oldest pattern I’ve ever worked from, and it was unused by the original owner.
As per usual, the tissue patterns themselves are fine, it’s the heavier instruction paper and the envelope that’s gone all fragile with age. 
I don’t know why the original owner never used this pattern, but part of the reason that I never have is that old patterns like this are kinda daunting. 

Ways old patterns are daunting:

  • They look impossibly tiny. This one is a pattern size 12, which is built for a woman sized 30/25/33. The illustrated ladies on the envelope have waists that are narrower than their faces. That does not encourage me to proceed. 
  • They are designed to be worn with structural undergarments. The cover art ladies are nipped in at the waist, either by the waistband of a girdle or the waistband of a longline bra, or a waist cincher or the waistband of a petticoat, or some combo of the above. Also by the magic of illustration. So these 50’s patterns are proportioned for a manufactured body shape. 
  • They are made for a different lifestyle. For example, my sister drives a car every day and uses a laptop every day. There’s a lot of leaning forward in modern life. Close fitting kimono-sleeve style bodices don’t allow for much leaning forward, tight waist bands aren’t comfortable for sitting at a desk, and if you can’t raise your arms above your head, how’re you gonna take a good selfie? 

All of the above make it hard to even picture in ones mind how a dress will look on a modern body and life. And if you can’t quite picture how it’s going to look, you’re never going to risk 20 hours of work finding out. Except I totally did. 

Twenty hours. I really wanted to know how it would look on a real person. And now I know the answer: Cute! 

Some pattern stuff:
Check out below, this is the very first instruction on the instruction sheet. It starts with the waist. At first I was like, “Dude but I haven’t sewn the bodice or skirt yet. How can I put together the waist.” And then realized the pattern means waist as in shirtwaist, which is some olllllllld timey terminology. 
Speaking of Ye olden terminology, there’s a piece labeled bosom. Bosom! Hahahaha!
Also see how the instructions want me to like topstitch the seam allowance and the lay the bosom piece behind it and stitch through? I totally just seamed and then top-stitched instead. 
Another thing that is interesting about this old pattern is that there are no style options. Not even a sleeve length option. I expected that ruched bosom piece to be applied on top of the bodice, so one would have the option of leaving it off and having a plain front. I think that’s how this pattern would be if it was printed now. Options. But nope, that bosom piece is seamed in. The only way to play with style here is in your fabric choices. 
Which makes me super surprised that the cover art doesn’t show any view with the front of the skirt in a contrast fabric, like my version. The skirt front is a separate piece, and those gorgeous center front pleats on bias create a really great overskirt/underskirt look, which plays into the underblouse/overblouse semi-folklore peasant fairytale fantasy vibe that could be achieved with this one. I bet people made that design leap at home and totally went with a contrast underskirt effect. I bet I’m not the only one. 

Changes from the original:
See below.

The biggest change I made was in cutting the bodice on the bias, to create more give across the back. I also made the sleeves shorter, especially under the arm, and dropped and opened the armsceye a little. I had made gussets but changed my mind on that and decided the less going on in the armsceye, the better. I also made the side zipper a few inches longer than it calls for, because I’m guessing my sister doesn’t have a lot of side zippers in her life and I wanted it to not annoy or terrify her. 

The gingham bias binding falls into nice triangles along the neckline. 

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew it. 
It’s a nice surprise to see how light and summery this dress is in this fabric. 
This is a design where fabric choice has all the power. Like if it was all in chiffon, totally different feeling. All in velvet, totally different. Or if the skirt and bosom piece were white, with the bodice in some heavily floral-embroidered Grimm’s Fairytail type stuff. Lot of room to play here.