TODAY’S POST FEATURES some of my most recent makes – two dresses made from Simplicity 8248, a re-issue of an original pattern from 1937. I also discuss re-purposing or re-fashioning garments.
There is nothing like an upcoming vintage event to put a spring in your step, or in my case – the necessary pressure on my sewing machine pedal! A few weeks ago, I was perusing my calendar and realised that I have a few vintage events coming up this summer. For various reasons, during the past 12 months I haven’t been getting out and about much, so a whole year has elapsed without a ‘full-on-get-dressed-to-the-nines’ event.
However, the Brooklands Museum Vintage Festival was coming up and I knew I wanted to attend donning my best attire. Looking through my collection of sewing patterns, I unearthed Simplicity 8248 (which I had forgotten I even owned.. although, I did once spend over an hour searching for a sewing pattern, only to realise I had actually sold it.. so my memory is pretty poor). From what I can recall, I bought Simplicity 8248 a few years ago as it was half-price, and I felt I couldn’t not buy it as it was such a bargain. The pattern has been sitting untouched for the past two or three years, waiting for me to unleash its potential.
I did a brief internet search for reviews, but none of them seemed to have made up the version with the ruffles/pleated ribbon trim. Which of course spurred me onto wanting to make that version, mostly out of curiosity. I decided to use a beautiful viscose linen, which I purchased from Sew Me Sunshine. By strange coincidence, I actually already had a sample of this fabric which I had purchased months previously from a different retailer.. but then I found this exact same fabric for a better price through Sew Me Sunshine. As I already had the sample, I knew I loved the colours and drape of the fabric, so of course my eager hands could barely click on ‘add to basket’ quick enough!
As there are lots of colours in the print of the fabric, I decided to pick out one of these for the trim. Of course I chose yellow, as we all know I am obsessed with yellow..
And here I have another little story for you. Around the same time as purchasing this fabric, I was browsing the Oxfam website, looking at their vintage clothing section. I found a mustard yellow skirt suit circa 1980’s, that with a bit of TLC I thought definitely had potential. So I purchased it, but when it arrived the skirt was ridiculously small, in that I couldn’t even get the darn thing on. My plans of altering the jacket to make the suit emulate a 1940’s look evaporated into thin air. But then I realised the yellow went spectacularly well with the fabric I had purchased for my Simplicity 8248 dress..
So I decided to make a few small alterations to the jacket to make it more my style, and I sacrificed the skirt entirely. Yes, I know some people will be horrified by this, and generally I am against cutting up clothing. But a 1980’s skirt that would never fit me? Honestly, I don’t have any regrets. So I took the skirt apart, pressed it, and used the fabric to make strips for the gathered ruffled trimming and belt.
A note here on the pattern. For view A (the ruffled/pleating trim version), I was expecting the pattern to explain or contain some notes on how to make the trim. But, the notes consist only of advising you to purchase pre-pleated ribbon and use that as the trim. Hardly helpful. So instead I decided to gather my strips of fabric to make a ruffled trimming. And on that note:
Generally, I found the pattern very straight-forward and easy to follow. Watch out for the ‘wearer’s ease’ as this can be a tad excessive. The finished garment measurements are printed onto the pattern pieces, so be sure to check these prior to cutting. According to the pattern, the back neck opening is supposed to taper into a V, but I stitched a very narrow rectangle then clipped into the corners to ensure a completely flat finish. The sleeves have pieces for sleeve head supports, which need to be gathered simultaneously with the sleeve pieces. I didn’t realise this initially, so my first version of the dress does not have any sleeve supports in it. But, learning from my mistake, my second version of the dress (the colour block one) does have sleeve supports. The length of the dress is fairly long, but I actually like that. For reference, I am 5ft6 and I used just under an inch as seam allowance on the hem. Otherwise, I don’t think there is anything else worth mentioning about the pattern. It came together well, the notches all match up, seams are trued, instructions are through and clear.
As you can see, I liked the pattern so much that I decided to make up another dress immediately! Whilst stitching the first dress, an idea came to me that the four panels of the bodice could provide the perfect base for a colour block design. So I got cracking on making up dress number 2 straight after finishing dress number 1. I did end up selling the colour block dress, as even though I loved it, I felt like that particular combination of colours was somehow ‘not me’.
Colour block lovers will be pleased to know I am actually working on dress number 3 – a colour block version in shades of navy and chartreuse.. which I will be listing to sell soon (most likely on my Instagram @jennyannotates).
So, I wore my floral print Simplicity 8248 to Brooklands Vintage Festival, and I got picked to be in the best dressed line-up! I didn’t win (the competition was off the scale, everyone looked a-ma-zing), but it was nice to be selected. Now onto planning my outfit for the next upcoming vintage event!
- Dresses, both made using Simplicity 8248
- Fabric (patterned version) Sew Me Sunshine (I believe that particular fabric is now sold out)
- Jacket, fabric for belt and ruffles – Oxfam
- Bangles & Earrings – Splendette
- Hat – The Heritage Milliner
- Necklace – Sofia’s Garden
- Shoes – c/o Hotter
- Bag – Vintage, purchased on Honeymoon
Until next time dears!