I threw myself in at the deep end a little. Thinking along the lines of “if you don’t try something that looks hard soon you never will” I settled on Simplicty 60s pattern No. 4675 in View 1. I chose a burgundy cotton, which again came from my stash (what will I do when I run out of stash material?!).
There are a couple of things that I was a little concerned about and they did indeed prove to be tricky.
The facing on the neck I managed to (just about) get right, it has a tiny gather in it but as I have decided I’ll be making this dress again at some point I’m using this as a test dress, it’s only meant for work as it so so I’m sure I can get away with it being a little scrappy in places.
The sleeves are more than a little puffy for ones which are meant to be set in, but in all honestly I lost the will to live after trying again and again to get them perfect. Advice needed: can someone please explain to me how I am meant to get them without any gathering? I have read a fair few tutorials, looked at videos and I still can;t get it right. Is it just a case of practice makes perfect or am I missing some vital step here? Any advice would be appreciated.
The zip closure at the top isn’t perfect but it’s the first time I’ve done a zip like this, which is overlapped on one side. I think I maybe just didn’t pin it where I meant to when sewing it in, but again this is something I can improve on for next time. I did find it incredibly fiddly though, I think I just get too excited about wanting to finish something and it all goes to pot.
The part which I thought would be the most tricky, namely the ruffle, turned out to the the easiest out of all of it. Which was a nice surprise! I am finding the simplest looking parts to be the most time consuming. Lesson learnt.
Hopefully the next time I make this dress I’ll be able to correct past mistakes, it’s certainly been a learning curve but overall I’m very happy with it and even happier that I’ve lost the weight to actually fit in it!
sleeve failure…but the pretty vintage brooch makes up for it right?
So, honest opinions, what do you think? Any advice, sleeve or otherwise, would be greatly appreciated!
47 thoughts on “Simplicity 4675: All Sewn Up”
This looks great, I love the frill down the front. I find sleeves can pucker when I haven’t got my seam allowance quite right all the way round. I think the sleeves look fine with a slight gather though.
Thanks Lucy 🙂
I like this dress a lot – I think you did a really nice job!
I have not yet worked with set-in sleeves, but I think you’re experiencing a common problem. Casey, of Casey’s Elegant Musings, has a couple posts about modifying sleeve patterns:
Thank you so much, I’ll definitely check those links out and pin them for future use 🙂
Wow, gorgeous! I personally think the fit, the ruffle and the brooch far outweigh any pesky gathers in the sleeves! Sleeves do get easier with practice, but I think everyone has those days where a sleeve just won’t go in right (or one is perfect and the other one’s a nightmare!)
I’ve used this excellent tutorial in the past to take a bit of ease out of sleeves before the cutting out stage:
Vintage patterns in particular seem to have a lot of unecessary ease built in. Good luck, you look fab in it! x
oh, thanks Jane, I’ll bookmark that link and use their guidance next time, I wont be beaten, thanks for your lovely comments 🙂
It is stunning! The fit is spot on, the bodice fits you like a glove. The flounces are so flirty and this brooch is absolutely darling! Moreover, my favorite color!! Almost nobody will see the flaws you see.
thank you so much, that is encouraging, I don;t think anyone would notice unless they were up way too close 😉
Super cute, and really well done! Sleeves are never easy, just read up on them and practice.
Thanks Sandra 🙂
The dress is gorgeous! That ruffle is to die for. When I get tired after trying to get something right, I usually make a huge mess of it ,and then end up hating it. I see no problem with your sleeves. Work it girl!
You look fab in it but I would say the shoulder is a little wide for you .you may need to go down a size and do a bust adjustment ..the sleeve head should be no more than 2.5 cms bigger between the balance marks also if you tried a few times to put them in you probernly stretched them as they are cut on the bias of the fabric so stay stitching m ay have helped. I always tack the sewing line in on both it helps feel when pinning in placethen then I sew the underarm in between balance marks as there is no ease allowed there .i then hold the sleeve and armholes in a curve over my fingerwith the ease on the top ie armhole on my hand sleeve ontop pin alternatively until all the fullness is gone stitch with a big stitch and take pins out .check and adjust .restitch if ok .hope this helps .:) come and find me if you need any more help .
Thanks for the top tips, I’ll certainly try this the next time round 🙂
Hey there, I think you’ve done a great job, such a stunning dress!
I too have trouble with set in sleeves, and from time to time (it seems to vary with the fabric I use) I just make a couple of pleats over the top of the sleeve, I think it can look just as nice, without the unpicking that sometimes happens! I found it makes for a neater finish than struggling to insert sleeve perfectly.
Here’s a blouse I added pleats to,
But anyway, I love your work, thanks for sharing !
Ah, great idea and definitely a good option for me at the moment, thank you so much for sharing, and for the lovely comment 🙂
It’s fabulous, gorgeous colour, great fit and imperfections, no one is going to notice anything except an amazing silhouette, brooch & ruffle – lovely!!
Thank you 🙂
I found a tip in one of my 1950’s patterns on setting in sleeves and have used it on anything similar since! What I do is baste from the “v” end to the “VV” ends on the top of the raw edge (if that makes sense, it’s where you’d attach the sleeve to the garment, there’s always a “v” and a “VV” to help you orient which direction the sleeve goes in) and pull on the threads to gather. What it does is pucker the fabric, so you can gradually ease it in as you set in the sleeves. Seriously, works every time and since I discovered that method I’ve had no problems!
Lovely dress though, I think it still looks great!
Thanks Ruby, that’s what I did but I just couldn’t get it right…maybe I just need to be more patient next time! 🙂
I love vintage and this dress looks great! Perhaps you see the imperfections but I sure don’t. I recently received a vintage McCall pattern, #7521, it has the same clean lines as your dress and I can only hope it turns out as well as yours did.
Thank you so much, looking forward to seeing your dress 🙂
Hi there:) first of all I love you fabric and pattern choice! It one of my favorite colors lately. I think the dress looks great, and the tiny details are more noticeable to you, that’s one of the problems with sewing for your self – we never pick as much the ready to wear we buy.
Now to the questions- you have to check the sleeve pattern before you cut it out. It will go in smooth if the sleeve cap is bigger 1-1.5″ than the armhole. Anything else will eventually create gathers (which are cute and quite fashionable too:)) But you should also check your measurement so you won’t make the sleeve too small for your arm.
My favorite technique for gathering besides the 3 rows of basting is using a strip of bias 2″ wide. Look for Gertie’s video on YouTube , it works like a charm.
It’s also very important to stabilize the neck line after you cut, the bias tends to stretch and make problems with the facing later. And one other thing – the lapped zipper has to have a normal length facing on the left.
I also have a question to you- you say you used cotton, is that cotton poplin? Has a little stretch? And have you underline or line it with anything? It looks not wrinkly at all, which is great!:)
My friend just bought me Gertie’s book and I notice something in there about set in sleeves, will definitely look into it and look at her vid, thanks for the advice 🙂
It has no stretch, maybe that’s where I went wrong…something to think about next time and I haven’t lined it, that’s a whole other thing to figure out and master!
What a stunning dress – great job!
You look fab in it, congrats on seeing it through to the end!
Thank you, and really like your blog, nice to meet a fellow mancunian! 🙂
You should be really pleased with your dress. What a fit and definitely a success. Love the brooch.
Thank you! 🙂
About setting sleeves: a lot of it is, unfortunately, down to “practice makes perfect” but what you probably didn’t realize is how much difference the choice of fabric can make. Cotton fabrics tend to be fairly tightly woven. In wool or linen, easing the sleeves in would have been much easier.
That’s a really good point and something I hadn’t actually thought about!Thanks 🙂
This is lovely, great choice of colour. I always treat the first time I use a pattern as a learning curve.
I think the sleeves look really cute, so don’t worry too much. Xxx
Thank you, I am pleased over all and I will master it, you’re right though first time is always a practice, I’ll give myself a break 😉
One thing I find helps when putting two differently shaped pieces together is to remember that you’re matching the seamlines and not the edges (you probably know this). Also, you do know about doing a line of machine running stitch either side of the seamline and then pulling the threads up? (Just checking). I tend to do this in sections, between each set of markings that are meant to match.
Very occasionally, I’ve found that I just couldn’t fit all the ease in between the correct markings, and carried it over into the underarm area. This is a bodge, but on the other hand I have podgy underarms so the result fits quite well.
Yeah, have done the pulling the threads things, I might try the underarm thing if I get all frustrated again, thank you!
And I forgot to say, it looks fabulous and no-one will notice the sleeves!
Your dress is absolutely stunning! I see what you mean about the sleeves, although I agree with your other readers that no one would notice if you didn’t point it out. I also think you might get a look you like better if you experiment with the sleeve allowance. A trick my Nana taught me was to make THREE rows of gathering, the middle one right on the seam line, one just above and one just below. You will eventually pick out all of the one below. This method helps you get very small, even gathers that lie nicely and don’t look puffy. However, you are bombshell in that dress and the visual focal points are the ruffle and the neckline, not the sleeve. Well done! By the way, the apron dress you inspired me to make came out really cute, perfect for summer days around the house. Thank you.
Ah, Deborah that’s so lovely…I only did two rows of stitching so maybe trying with three would be better…something to try the next time round, thanks for the tip and the lovely comments 🙂
That dress is a stunner. I love everything about it (especially the ruffle) and you styled it beautifully. I agree with the other posters: the gathers in the sleeve are not as noticeable as you probably think they are. Whenever things don’t turn out the way I want, as long as I can live with it, I just consider it a “unique design detail” and move on. Next time, I’m going to use Casey’s tutorial for set in sleeves.
Thanks lovely, I think I’m my own worst critic, I like to get things perfect every time but like you say I should just chalk it up to experience and enjoy my fab dress! 🙂
Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice since I haven’t done sleeves yet (scared), but I agree with everybody else in saying it looks great and nobody will know it’s flawed except for you.
Thank you, let me know how you get on with sleeves…I feel like I should make everything with sleeves now just to get it right!
I know that feeling! As soon as I figured out how to gather, I decided to do it several more times just to solidify it.
Well written, impressively executed and beautifully modeled. Well done 🙂
Oh, I love your gathered sleeves! I just know, when sewing sleeves on, pin, pin, pin! Other than that, I’m sure no sleeve expert… and your dress is lovely =D
Thank you, and I did, over and over and then gave up! 😉