The 4-birds-with-one-stone plaid shorts!

plaid shorts simplicity 2659A little bit of sunshine was all it took to inspire these shorts. Don’t panic! I’m not about to get those pasty pins out just yet! I much prefer to wear shorts as spring attire with a pair of 60 dernier tights and the trusty Docs! That photo will have to wait until I can grab Mr Ooobop! to work his photographic magic. In the meantime, I’m afraid we’ll have to make do with my boring pics.

The 4-birds-ness came about as follows:

  1. After my recent pleasure working with and deciding to invest in better fabric (re the audition dress) I also made a conscious decision to wade into ‘stash mountain’ for practice projects and toiles rather than buy any more substandard material. This plaid/tartan fabric was quite a large piece left over from my vintage plaid dress. Its totally synthetic, I’m sure, but it was a good weight for these shorts and so minor stash bust #1 achieved!
  2. I’ve been hearing the words ‘lapped zipper’ on other peoples blogs and in sewing mags quite a lot recently. And I figured it should be something I should know how to do by now. Since getting the hang of the ‘invisible one’ (after some practice, mind) I have kind of forgotten that there is any other way of inserting a zip. Of course I headed straight to YouTube as my first love of demos. I am far more receptive to watching someone demonstrate it for real! Turns out that this was the perfect kind of zipper for these shorts. I think I did it properly. Well, the zip goes up and down and the lapped bit covers the teeth so that’ll do me and will also tick the box of having mastered a new (for me) zip technique.
    plaid shorts side zip
  3. Plaid matching has always been a bit flooky for me, I have to say, and using this fabric on a small, uncomplicated project gave me the chance to practice matching up those seams. Both left and right side seams are as near as dammit and at least across the front and the butt the horizontal stripes line up. Shame I couldn’t do the maths on the side seam of the cuff. I have to say though, having the checks line up across the zipper had me doing a little dance round the ironing board!
    plaid shorts side
  4. And finally the fourth birdie was the mere fact that I have never made a pair of shorts before. This pattern is Simplicity 2659 and I’m pretty sure it came free with an issue of Sew magazine. I’m not sure I would ever make the dress. I can make my belly stick out without any extra help thank you very much, but the top could be cute and I’m sure the bolero would work with a classic dress! Anyhows, one baby step closer to making a pair of trousers but its defo a baby step I am very likely to repeat with some different fabric.
    simplicity 2659 pattern

The cuffs of these shorts are my favourite addition. I love that they are separate and cut on the bias. I wasn’t expecting that as the turn ups on the sleeves I did for my wing collar blouse were technically a very deep hem, turned back on itself. The bias of any sort of checked/plaid/tartan fabric is fabulous against a straight grain of its own kind and I think it really looks neat. Finishes off the hem inside perfectly too.

plaid shorts cuff

I would say that I lost big points on the waist finishing. I have never finished a waist without facing or waistband before and this pattern called for the use of twill tape at the inner waist edge. Very simple to understand and to achieve but I really must remember to stitch from the top when I’m doing things like this. That way I will get a much neater and straighter line. It won’t get noticed, I know, as my children will be horrified if I start tucking my tops into shorts but I know I could have done better. I just find it very amusing, and everso slightly annoying, that a little bit of topstitching is my main cause for concern on this tiny project!

plaid shorts waist

I highly recommend this shorts pattern for anyone wanting a little project to run up in an evening. I’m sure they would look great (on someone else) in a more summery linen or gingham… ooo gingham… imagine the cuffs!

Vintage Simplicity 3320 in plaid

simplicity 3320 in plaid

Vintage Simplicity 3320 outside the Lansdowne Place Hotel, Brighton

Well here is the long awaited vintage Simplicity 3320 in plaid! First worn today on the last day of a lovely few days spent with Mr Ooobop! in Brighton.

It’s taken a good few weeks to get this one together. Not because it was complicated but moreso because of all the finishing. The pattern didn’t call for a lining and to be honest I could probably have got clean away without one. But I wanted the dress to ‘slip’ on and not be a sweaty wrestling routine every time I put it on or took it off.

lining slip stitched to zip

Lining slip stitched to zip

So I lined the bodice and the skirt but not the sleeves. I’m not sure lined sleeves are conducive to sweet smelling ‘pits’! The edges of the facings and the vestee are bound with red bias trim as are the hems of the sleeves.

finishing on sleeve

Finishing on sleeve

By the time I got to the hem, I was all bias-trimmed-out and so I just overlocked and hand sewed an invisible hem.

I don’t know what I was thinking of when I opted for plaid… apart from perhaps a huge amount of inspiration from the lovely Vivienne Westwood herself! Matching plaid calls for a lot more patience and skill than I thought. I will have to research this further. But I did manage to vaguely match the side seams at least!

Vaguely matching plaid on side seams

Vaguely matching plaid on side seams!

This dress isn’t perfect by any means but I really loved the process of making it up. One hallelujah moment for me was managing to fit the invisible zip with the seam lining up where the bodice meets the skirt. I always struggle with this on every garment I’ve made and its always been slightly misaligned but this time, once I had sewed the left side of the zip tape, I marked where the seam should line up and when I came to sew the other side of the zip tape it was pretty much spot on. This is probably old news to most of you and clearly I’m a bit slow on the uptake! But I’m so chuffed it worked!

Yellow chalk marks the seam position

Yellow chalk marks the seam position

Et voilà, totally lined up

Et voilà, totally lined up!

I mentioned before about how I was impressed by the shoulder darts on the toile and I still maintain this is a great feature for me. I don’t think I have ever had a dress that fits me so well across the back and shoulders.

Fits nicely on the back and shoulders

Fits nicely on the back and shoulders

Now the collar is an interesting one. The pattern describes it as a detachable one. Mmmm. In the loosest sense I suppose. I used navy cotton velvet and again bound along the inside edge with bias trim, (I used some green satin bias) and then hand stitched to the inside of the v-neck, sandwiched between the vestee and the bodice. I suppose I could unpick it very easily if I wanted to detach it but a bit over and above the call of duty if you ask me!

Vintage simplicity with not so detachable collar!

Vintage simplicity with not so detachable collar!

Well, all in all this was a fantastic dress to work on. It wont be the last time I use this pattern, though I might opt for a block colour next time!

The picture below was shot by Mr Ooobop! and I think its fab. You can just about make out the old burnt out Palace Pier on the horizon!

Brighton sunset shot by the talented Mr Ooobop!

Brighton sunset shot by the talented Mr Ooobop!

Vintage Simplicity 3320: the toile

simplicity_3320

Simplicity 3320: 1950s dress with 2 skirt variations and detachable collar

I’m not entirely sure what era this dress pattern is, as its listed as 1950s on some sites and 1960s on others. What do you reckon? Not that it really matters. I think its a lovely one in any case and I’ve gone for version 2, Mad Men stylee!

I’m glad I decided to make a toile for this as I really wanted to check out all of the stages properly and for the work involved I want it to work! Everything is going smoothly so far, touch wood. It goes without saying that I’ve had to adjust the waist measurement somewhat . . . oh to have the waist of a small child!

bodice without vestee

bodice without vestee

I didn’t understand the logic behind the construction of the bodice at first. ie: really low v-neck and separate vestee, until I realised the collar was detachable and needs to sit inside, all the way down the neck/front edge. The neckline is faced and the vestee piece is attached to the inside facings with edges bound together.

bodice facings

bodice facings

vestee attached to facings

vestee attached to facings

Of course, the insides will be so much neater when all the edges are bias bound.

I love the shoulder darts on the bodice. Not something that I’ve not come across before on modern pattern pieces, and it’s looking to be a good fit across my back for a change!

shoulder darts

shoulder darts

There are double darts on the skirt back. Not sure why exactly, maybe its just another vintage touch but I think it looks quite classy all the same.

skirt back darts

skirt back darts

The double soft pleats on the skirt front worried me at first. I thought I was going to have to exchange them for darts but decided to leave well alone and retain authenticity as the skirt seems to hang quite nicely and doesn’t poof out at the belly which is always a concern! Apart from that, I have never constructed my own darts before!

full dress toile

full dress toile

Ooops… should have pressed the skirt . . . bit slapdash!

I like the side zipper. I think this is common to vintage dresses. It ultimately means I stand less of a chance of pulling a muscle when I zip up but better still it means the back bodice and back skirt are cut as 1 piece each, quite lucky as I am going to be using plaid. I think that matching up the sides is going to be taxing enough for me!

And as per usual I’ve shortened the length of the skirt, using the proper adjustment line, only this time by an impressive 5 inches . . . and it still retains a vintage length! The vent seems a bit excessive, with an inner pleat that extends to the waist of the skirt, but hey, I wouldn’t have a better solution!

skirt vent

skirt vent

I haven’t totally decided on the fabric for the collar. I bought some navy cotton velvet in anticipation but Mr Ooobop! thinks red. Annoyingly he is right most of the time so I might have to make both.

plaid and velvet

plaid and velvet

Not sure how long it will take me to publish the finished article. It’s not complicated at all, save lots of bias finishing on the inside, just depends on my workload which appears to be growing. Typical when I want to get stuck in to something. Still, not complaining 😉