Category: vintage patterns

McCalls 8775: Chambray Tent Dress



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I’ve been reading Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography for the last few days, and I’ve resolutely decided that the 60s need to come back. I’d settle for the latter half of the 60s, 1967 onward.

I also decided that I’ve missed vintage sewing, but I wanted to sew more things that I’d wear everyday and would fit into my lifestyle. I don’t have the lifestyle (as of yet!) to swan about in 1950s dresses, so I turned to the late 60s.

I don’t usually wear dresses with high necklines, but since it’s short I needed something to balance it out. I lowered the neckline by an inch and a half (more adjustments documented below), and it was still high enough to look like a high neckline (to me) and to still be comfortable.

I’ve already worn this dress to work a few times, and it’s very comfortable. It’s also short (for what I’m used to!), so I I have to be careful when going to the subway, walking about, sitting down. It’s comfortable, practical, can be dressed up or down, and looks different from what’s out there in ready to wear. Many more dresses like this to come, for certain.

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McCalls 8755, from 1967.

(I originally planned to sew this dress in a green floral but that proved to be disastrous. It was just too much fabric for such a simple dress.)

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Project Details:

Pattern: McCalls 8755.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14.

Description: Sleeveless, front yoked dress has high neckline and center back zipper.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Fabric: Chambray.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s comfortable, stylish, and looks somewhat unique.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Shortened skirt by eight inches, narrow back adjustment, used seam binding instead of facing, lowered the neckline by 1 1/2 inch, used an invisible zipper.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

Sewing Inspiration: What I Should Be Sewing

It’s been way too busy here with holiday parties, trying to work on my portfolio, trying to catch up with freelance and trying to have a social life that I haven’t been sewing. So here are the things that I should be working on:

Vogue 7538. This was the coat pattern that I should have been working on, but productive sewing has promptly trailed off after October or so.

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I really like peplum dresses and need to make a proper one.

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I’ve made at least two versions of this, one in pink and one in yellow, but find them both to be unwearable as they aren’t that flattering. The colors are also way too bright and make me feel really self-conscious. It’d be nice to make a wearable version.

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Another pattern with an interesting corset-type design that I have yet to sew.

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The color-blocking on this version looks a little extreme, but I think it might be interesting if done with tone on tone colors.

Pattern Acquisition: McCalls 7707

This is a departure from my usual style, but I really liked this simple dress from the 60s. The high waistline is an interesting detail and I especially like the scalloped collar. I hope to make it up in plain black with a contrasting white collar.

The Rose Print Blouse: Simplicity 1554

Still not sure how flattering rolls are with my thick hair, but this will have to do for now. I think I’ve finally gotten over my vintage fashion-rebellion and am going back to what I’ve been sewing before. I’m slowly getting over my fear of color as well, but so far have been sticking to dark background prints, red, and black.

I finally this blouse a week or so ago and only had a chance to write about it now. Shown here with Wearing History shorts, I think it’s very versatile and should hopefully work long past Summer and straight into Fall.

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Fabric: Rayon, $7/yd, 2 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 1554
Year: 1945
Notions: black plastic buttons, $1
Time to complete: one week, working on it mostly on evenings
First worn: Hasn’t been worn yet!
Wear again? Yes
Total price: $15

Pattern used:

Simplicity 1554. I made View C, with the peter pan collar.

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I’ve made this before, but only once in View C. It’s hard to see the collar there under all that hair, but it’s there! I used rose print rayon that felt very 40s to me. It was a dream to sew and has great drape.

This is one of my favorite patterns since it can look different with very few pieces and I’d like to make it View D, the only one I haven’t made yet.

Oh. I know I said “no more vintage patterns”, but I should probably be more careful of absolutes from now on. Vintage patterns are definitely back.

Pattern Acquisition: Butterick 9427

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From the Vintage Pattern Wiki: Butterick 9427; ca. 1960; Misses’ Quick ‘N Easy Dress. Soft dress with bias cut bodice and skirt, shaped cowl collar continuing into a shoulder bow, self-belt. (A) Short sleeves cut in one with bodice. (B) Sleeveless.

I really like the sleek lines on this pattern, however I don’t know how I feel about the gathered (undefined?) skirt. I’ll have to take a closer look at the pattern, but I will probably change those to darts.

What I’m Working on This Week: Simplicity 1554

I started on Simplicity 1554 this week. I’ve made this three times before, but it’s really only been wearable the past two versions. I still haven’t made all the views, but it’s so versatile that I really plan to before the year is out.

I know I said no granny floral print, but I couldn’t resist this rayon fabric I found over the weekend. Since it’s black, red, and the floral print isn’t too small, I hope it doesn’t come off as super granny.

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In the meanwhile, I’ve been watching a lot of old movies. Why did I only discover Elizabeth Taylor now? She’s awesome, and of course my favorite vintage style role models (other than Marilyn) are all brunettes.

Pattern Acquisition: Advance 8309

We only have a month left to summer, but I don’t care, that’s what cardigans are for. I recently bought this halter top pattern, which I’ll probably turn into dresses.

Pattern Acquisition: McCall’s 4822

McCall’s 4822.

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I’ve been stalking this pattern for a few months now on Etsy, and always hesitating when I press the “buy now” button since I’ve been trying to keep within my monthly sewing budget. However when I saw it somewhere else for a more reasonable price, I finally gave in.

I really like this pattern since can be the foundation for many SWAPs yet to come, and I’ve been really into sewing separates lately. Since I won my three-month skirmish with Clover, I’m no longer afraid of sewing pants. I find that they get worn more often and are more versatile wardrobe-wise. Paired with a self-drafted gathered or circle skirt, this pattern can even be a an appropriate 50s-era dress, or a blouse and skirt faux dress combination.

I’ve been trying to re-use most of my sewing patterns. This is partly so I can focus on getting the fit properly the first time and then get maximum use of it the next x amount of times I decide to make it again and again. I also like the challenge of coming up with something unique looking based on one pattern. It’s impressive to see how much variation can come out of different collars, cuffs, buttons or even colors and weights of fabrics.

This brings to mind my next question: when you start delving into pattern drafting, how many patterns do you really need? Is making the same pattern over and over again (with minor variations) cheating?

Work in Progress: Simplicity 1554

I’ll be taking a break from the next few Sew Weekly projects so I can finally post some work in progress shots.

This week I’m working on Simplicity 1554 again.

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Check out the painter’s tape and all the adjustments.

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Look how cute those paws are.

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Esteemed Sewing Assistant, assisting.

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Swiss dot lined with cotton batiste.

Recent Acquisition: Simplicity 4514, circa 1940s

I promised myself no more patterns since my box that holds patterns can’t close anymore and I’ve been getting more into drafting my own patterns, but I was really intrigued by Simplicity 4514. The corset-inspired bodice is interesting, and I haven’t seen this detail yet in many of the 40s patterns that I have.


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