Oriental simplicity

This is my first ever real proper vintage pattern! Yep, that is true.

IMG_9307bBut where does the oriental come into it? Erm, I bought the fabric in Shanghai! 🙂 My stepdaughter lives in Shanghai and when we went to visit last August, I emailed the lovely Veronica Darling for tips on where to visit. She suggested Dongmen Lu for fabric shopping and the haberdashery market at Renmin Lu (which stepdaughter uses for work – she’s a knitwear designer for an international fashion brand). So the two of us spent a great couple of hours or so, getting lost in the market, looking and touching fabric. I bought three pieces in the end and this sateen felt beautiful. Not amazingly cheap, but approx NZ $8 per metre! (When I get around to it, I’ll put a post up!)

57A7014F-AC65-4CB8-8974-1C80935802D8So to the pattern… This needed grading, not a great deal, the size I had was a vintage size 16, bust 36. Let’s face it though, this pattern wasn’t the most difficult to grade up. Even so, I still made up a muslin to check.

IMG_6192It’s a simple pattern with double darts on the front and back, an also a couple of bust darts. It has a square neckline and the back is a deep square with a band across to keep the shoulders in place. The pattern has this finished with a bow, which I didn’t use. From my muslin, I decided that the front darts needed lowering and also shifting across slightly. The front neck was also too high for me. My head sits forward, so I often find that high front necklines are quite high on me. I also needed to adjust the fit slightly.

IMG_5225Since this was a vintage pattern, I actually traced my own new pattern pieces. Those who know me, will know this is not like me at all! I left the band right until the last minute to make sure I had the right size. It was difficult to place this and I think I might have placed it just a wee bit too high, however, I still love the dress.

IMG_9320bI decided to go for the tea length. The original pattern is tea length and it suits the pattern. I realised after sewing the whole thing together that I didn’t add anything to the bottom of the centre back seam so I could create a back vent. Consequently it’s actually sewn right to the hem. I am thinking that I might change this into a split. I don’t really like splits, but it’s too late for a vent now, unless I’m very good at pattern matching!

IMG_9309bThe armholes and neckline have separate facing. This makes it quite bulky around the top of the shoulders. I think I would be better if the facing was cut all in one piece and attached before the back and side seams are sewn up.


Unfortunately I think I also managed to stretch the fabric while attaching the facing, it gaped really badly. After a conflab with a some of the girls, they suggested I add tape to the neckline. It’s better than it was. Not perfect, but better.

IMG_9317bThe deets
Fabric:  Navy blue floral cotton sateen from Shiliupu Fabric Mall on Dongmen Lu, Shanghai, purchased August 2015.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing, an invisible zip and some tape to stabilise the neckline.
Pattern:  Vintage Simplicity 3779.
Changes made:  None, except basic fitting changes
Another one/recommendations:  I love this pattern. It’s a great simple elegant dress. It’s easy to make up and I love wearing it. I would certainly recommend that the facing is made from a single piece. I think if I make this again (which I’m sorely tempted to do) I’ll certainly make it up in one piece. I will also make sure I add to the bottom of the centre back so that I can make a vent up. I’m certainly happy with it.

IMG_9324bFirst worn:  At an awards dinner for work, in Orlando, Florida (it’s a tough job I have!) However, I finally managed to get photos about two weeks later at Miami Beach on the board walk about the back of the hotel 🙂 Apologies for any graininess of the photos, Mr N either zooms too close or too far away!



One thought on “Oriental simplicity

  1. Great pattern, gorgeous fabric = perfect dress, Nikki!
    Gesh, what a batch of trip locations! Anywhere further north in the US on your itin? Let us know!
    Seriously, this is a great pattern & fabric choice and you look so good ~ congratulations!

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