Vintage Simplicity 3315: Modern Stash-busting Meets Mid-Century Slenderette

I knew the Stashbusting sew-along theme for January had been focused on sewing up itty-bitty pieces, but I also knew that if 2013 was going to be the year of the stash-bust, it meant doing something with a very special piece of fabric right out of the gate. You know the kind of fabric I mean, the kind where it started out just like any other acquisition, but something about it made me decide that the originally planned project, a maternity dress when I was pregnant with Romeo, wasn’t a good enough use for this fabric. The longer it stayed in my stash, the more I thought it was too good for any of the ideas I came up with for using it. I needed to make it up and get it out of the stash, if only to show myself I really was committed to working through the rest of what I have. I finished this one a few days ago, so it was a January project.

It’s a linen or maybe a linen/cotton or linen/rayon blend in a very bland oatmeal kind of color. I’m fairly certain I bought it either at Joann’s or Hancock in 2004. I’m also fairly certain I don’t often see fabric like this at either of those stores anymore. The all-over embroidery on this piece is quite 3-dimensional. My sewing machine wasn’t fond of it. My serger hated it. Even hand-sewing for the hems was not a particularly easy task in the thickly embroidered areas.

 
   You can almost see how raised the texture is.

It was worth it for sure. I love the vintage-y, girly look of the floral, but between the linen fiber and the background color, it seems extra elegant. It makes me want a pair of ecru-colored vintage gloves to go with the mid-century pattern I used. It also pairs quite nicely with this particular mid-century (I think) necklace, an Etsy find courtesy of my lovely husband who has a surprisingly discriminating eye for that sort of thing.

The pattern is Simplicity 3315, a vintage half-size pattern from the Simplicity Slenderette line. There’s no copyright date anywhere I can find on the pattern, and via internet search, there seems to be a 50/50 split between dating it late 1950’s vs. early 1960’s. My first reaction on seeing the pattern was that it looked 1960’s to me, especially the hair/hats, but I could be completely wrong.


(source: Google Images)

I think my experiment in using half-size vintage patterns is working for me. While there is still room for improvement (and possibly a girdle for an authentic mid-century cinch), these half-size patterns are a great starting point for me. For this one I added some room in the sleeve and a little in the waist (because I don’t have a corset that would work for this dress). I took 2 inches off the bottom of the skirt before I gave it a 3 1/2-inch hem. The extra-wide hem was allowed in the pattern, but I wonder how long Simplicity had meant for this dress to be, considering that it was supposedly designed for short women (of which I am one).

The skirt is not nearly as full as the pattern illustration would suggest. Even if I added a crinoline, it wouldn’t be very full. I guess a slimmer skirt should be expected from a pattern line that was supposed to give one an overall slimmer silhouette. 

It has a lapped zipper at the side. There is no center back seam on the bodice, so I didn’t have to try to match the pattern of the fabric embroidery. 

It has the pattern pieces for a matching belt, but with the matching bow on the bodice, I was in fear of becoming too matchy-matchy. I’m debating over making up the coat included in the pattern too someday. It could be a fun look. If I ever do make up the coat, I will definitely have to get some vintage gloves.
It’s an incredibly comfortable dress to wear. I do wonder if I shouldn’t have underlined the bodice with some sort of more stiff cotton fabric since the linen is so drapey. The bodice is a bit blousier than I had envisioned, in part because of the drape of the fabric. I’m also wondering whether I should be re-drawing darts on bodices to take up some additional space in the rib-cage area. I just don’t exactly know what that would do at the bust point. Some further experimenting along those lines is likely to come in future.
Stash-busting total for this year: 2 of 25*.

*Counting Guinevere’s Jungle January skirt as 1. I technically used 2 stash pieces for it, but I also made it up right before the Stashbusting sew-along actually started. I’m giving myself half-credit for it because it was a 2013 project.

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