I work for a residential college at a university, and College Ball season is upon us. I couldn’t give up the chance to make a dress to wear to my college’s ball, so with massive time constraints in mind I opted for Simplicity 4744 (c. 1963), which is quite a simple dress, but with enough interesting details to make it a little more special than ‘just a dress’. I love the tie detail at the back of view 1!
Since it was a simple pattern and I wanted to get the fit just right, I first made up a muslin of the bodice using an old bed sheet, and then decided to make a wearable muslin of the whole dress using some cheap fabric from my stash. Since the fabric was inexpensive (I think $2 a metre) and I had heaps of it, I wouldn’t have been devastated if it didn’t turn out right…and I really love the fabric I’m making the ‘real’ version from, and would be shattered if that didn’t go as planned. I finished up the trial run on Saturday morning and wore it out to dinner and drinks on Saturday night.
As it turned out, despite all the time I spent carefully fitting the muslin, the dress is quite big in the bodice…grrr…. Anyway, it’s nothing that can’t be
hidden fixed by wearing a belt with it. I prefer it with a belt anyway, as I took absolutely no care in matching the print. I’ll be taking in the bodice a little in the final version just through the side seams.
The print overwhelms one of the best details on this dress, which is the skirt pleats, but I’m so glad I practiced these before moving onto the good version. I got a headache trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. When I pinned them the first time, I had about 6 inches too much fabric. I’m glad I went to bed in disgust with myself, and when I came back the next day I realised I just hadn’t read the instructions properly, and 30 minutes later…voila! Perfect pleats!
I obviously omitted the back tie with this version, but the next version will definitely have it. The only other detail I omitted this time around was piping between the bodice and skirt. I will also be adding this to the next dress. I’ve never done any piping before, so that should be an interesting experience. One more new technique I’ll be utilising for the final version is lining the bodice. So far, I’ve been able to get away with not having to line any of my creations, but the facings on this dress were a nightmare for some reason…probably just because I was cranky, but it’s inspired me to give lining a shot. I found a great tutorial online from The Stitchy Witch, that I’m going to use for my first foray into lining.
The green fabric is a gabardine in a deep but vibrant green (the photo does the colour no justice) that I bought a little while ago, and the lining fabric is a lightweight cotton in a fabulous 60s print that matches the vintage of the pattern.
Stay tuned for the more fabulous green version!