Welcome to my sew along for Simplicity pattern #1061
NOTE: This pattern has been discontinued and removed from the catalog, but the pattern remains readily available through independent resellers. If you cannot find the size you are looking for, send me a message through the contact page, as I still have a number of patterns in this style.
If this is your first go around with me, please let me introduce myself! I am the owner, designer, and pattern maker at Sew Chic Patterns, where we make “Modern Patterns with Vintage Style.” I am very excited to also be designing exclusive styles for Simplicity.
This is a fair to easy pattern to make, and Simplicity’s instructions are fabulous, but I will be assembling mine in a slightly different order… and there are some fiddly parts that, if you are a perfectionist like I am, you’ll enjoy getting my take on it to help you slide right through! This sew along will also include a little bit of video (tho not today!) to help me teach specific segments. So hooray for video!
Before we begin, you’ll need to buy you pattern and gather supplies. Besides your basic sewing supplies, here is a list of other supplies that I find useful and will be using:
- pattern paper
- tape (magic tape is transparent and can also be written on)
- Dritz Superboard cardboard cutting mat (can be pinned into)
- Hemmer (or yard stick) – not shown
- Chakoner chalk
- plastic see thru gridded ruler
- Seam gauge
- Double stick removable tape
- Tracing wheel
- Dressmakers Carbon
- Reader’s Digest Complete guide to sewing (1970’s version only!)
Everyone has their preferred method of marking, and mine is the “wax” type dressmakers carbon. It makes a better line I can see, it doesn’t rub off all over your fabric, and the line doesn’t disappear before I need it. It’s difficult to find. I buy mine in vintage shops and at Richard the Thread online store. (The wax type is pictured on the left and the dusty modern style is on the right.) Do place a little mark of the wax type on your selvage edge of your fabric before you pre-wash your materials to make sure it will remove sufficiently.
The RD book is the best sewing reference book I know of. In my opinion, it’s the only sewing book you’ll ever need- but do buy the 1974/1976 version. It covers just about everything to do with garment sewing and any technique you will want to know is in there with great step by step instruction and illustrations. This book is always available on Amazon for just a few dollars.
The back of your pattern lists the suggested fabric weaves and fibers. These are the safest choices. Going outside of this list does not necessarily mean your project is doomed, but know that you may have challenges. One word of caution about fabrics: Stay away from knits. This pattern is not designed or sized for knits. Just remember that if you use a soft fabrics the garment will have a soft close-to-the-body hang, and firm fabrics will provide more structure to the garment. Check the “Notions” section on the pattern for more supply requirements.
I will be making my dress from a floral and solid red linen. It will give my skirt some really nice body and I think the print to solid ratio will be nice for this dress. Because it’s also a natural fiber, I’ve chosen a bemberg rayon lining that feels oh-so-silky.
Do pre-wash your fabrics and lining, if that’s how you’ll be cleaning after your dress is made. It’s the only way to pre-shrink the fibers make sure your fabrics will wash and dry well together. I have washed mine, and discovered that the red for my contrast is not color fast. Though they are both washable, that red would run on my dress fabric and completely ruin my finished dress! You can be sure I will be dry cleaning my outfit!
I’ll also be using a medium weight non-woven pellon sew in interfacing, not the fusible type the envelope recommends. Fusible and non-fusible interfacings can generally be used interchangeably, but do consider which type might be most suitable for your project. Weight of interfacing is also dependent upon your fabric type. Light weight fabrics would need light weight interfacing. Buy the amounts that coordinate with your fabric width and pattern size.
Measuring for Size
This pattern comes in two size categories: D5 and P5. Not too many of us fit one size only, so multi-sizing is really handy. Simplicity patterns are made for a “B” cup. When we say that, we actually mean that the person this pattern is made for has a bust that is 2” more than the chest measurement- and this may or may not match the bra you are wearing, so go ahead and measure anyway.
To choose a size, find out the numerical difference between your chest and bust measurement. I’ve padded out my mannequin so that I can also use her as an example while teaching the full bust adjustment.
All horizontal measured parallel to the floor. Using two yard sticks taped together, measure from the floor to your bust point and place a pin. Measure the back from the floor up to that same point and place a pin horizontally. I’ve placed a cross pin so my measuring tape can slip in there and keep my measuring tape parallel to the floor.
Write your measurements as you go!
Step 1: measure the chest
Measure above the bust for a chest measurement.
Step 2: measure the bust
With the tape in the same location at the back, measure across the bust point.
Step 3: measure the waist
3.The waist is located between the hip bone and the rib cage. Wearing a thin belt can help. Measure above or below, not over the belt.
Step 4: measure the hip
4. This dress won’t need a hip measurement, but we’ll take it anyway. Measure the hip across the widest, most protruding span of the buttocks.
Step 5: measure the back-waist
I’ve put a necklace on my mannequin to locate the base of the neck and you can do the same if you have a hard time finding that one special bone. Measure your torso length from the base of the neck to the waist. This is your back waist length.
Now check your measurement against the pattern size chart. The chest measurement for this pattern is 2” less than the bust chart measurement. I’ve added this pattern measurement to my chart in red pictured below.
Compare your CHEST and BUST measurements. IF BUST IS:
- 1” MORE, CHOOSE SIZE BASED ON CHEST MEASUREMENT. Your pattern will require a SMALL bust adjustment
- 2” MORE, CHOOSE SIZE BASED ON YOUR BUST MEASUREMENT. No adjustment is needed
- 3” OR MORE, CHOOSE SIZE BASED ON CHEST MEASUREMENT. Pattern will require a FULL bust adjustment.
Circle your size based on your bust or chest measurement as recommended on the above chart. Circle your waist, hip, and backwaist too. Buy the size category that most closely spans your group of measurements.
If your measurement runs between both categories, buy your pattern based on your bust/chest. A good fit in the chest is the most important, and adjusting the waist and hip is easy.
ONE WORD OF CAUTION
This pattern should be TRUE TO SIZE. If you make a size smaller “because that’s what I usually make” it might be too small. However there are several factors that have an effect on size- fabric, accurate sewing, grade (sizing) rules and so forth can make a difference in the fit. This pattern was designed to have a fitted look, such as you would get with my Sew Chic brand, but remember that this pattern was made to Simplicity rules. Go ahead and print my photo chart above for next week. We will be using the chest and the finished waist measurements for our pattern work next week.
Buy your pattern at any of your usual Simplicity retailers and get your other supplies together. Next week we will go over prepping your pattern to cut. I will cover the full and small bust change, along with length and width transitions and alterations for sleeve length.