Simplicity 4980: All Sewn Up

To kick back into sewing after a little absence I decided as I had a week off that I’d try something a little more testing than usual and went for this lovely pattern with a hidden collar and a soft pleat. I had some blue cotton in my stash so cracked on with cutting the pattern pieces out that weren’t already cut and pining them out.

Simplicity 4980

It wasn’t until everything was cut out that I suddenly realised that some pieces were missing; the collar interfacing pieces. I was very grateful that this was all as they’re pretty easy to knock up, so I cut out the extra bits and ensured they were the correct size.

Simplicity 4980

It took me three days to finish the dress. I have no idea why I chose something difficult, I have only made a collar on a dress once before and it was wonky and no where near and confusing as this one. My dyslexic/dyspraxic brain and vintage pattern instructions do not mix and I spent a night sewing things the wrong way round and mulling over instructions before putting them to one side only to have a full on EUREKA moment at half 11 at night when it finally clicked in my somewhat befuddled brain. And thus the next day the collar was finished!

it's not perfect but it's as good as it's going to get and i'm actually quite happy....why did I decide to do a dress with a collar.... #sewing

Then followed the sleeves (easy peasy – although my life would be drastically improved by the purchase of a sleeve roll….a rolled up towel isn’t quite cutting the mustard).

And then came the soft pleated skirt. Again, after only doing two pleats on any dress before this was trial and error and basting and re-basting (me and my seam ripper are now very firm friends). Thankfully when I attached it to the bodice it was perfect and I wasn’t again pulling my hair out.

There is a side zip closing, which is new on me too but which I managed to get right the second time round when I had to alter it because the first time I had somehow managed to make the bodice wonky and it didn’t meet where it should have done (ah, hello seam ripper me old chum!).

When I did finish and hem it up I was very proud of what I’d achieved, this has by far been the most technically challenging dress I’ve made and it was  perfect for the vow renewal that we attended on Sunday.

I added a vintage brooch and my Great Nana Wilde’s 60s paste bracelet for the perfect accompaniment. I even got to wear my gorgeous blue Kiss Me Deadly stockings for the first time (if you don’t know about KMD you should!) but enough about my undercrackers, what do you think?

Simplicity 4980

Any tips on making sense on vintage instructions? I don’t know if it is just me, or if it’s just because they were written at a time when most people had sewing skills to a certain degree.

As always, any feedback and help greatly appreciated, thank you!


I know I’ve been a little quiet of late and unfortunately it’s for a sad reason, my (step) Father In Law passed away a few weeks back and I’ve been concentrating on making Tim as happy as I possibly can and supporting the in-laws in what has been a difficult month or so and obviously sewing has been on the back burner.

Ken always complimented me on the way I dressed and the things I created and I’m ever grateful for the kind words and the welcome he gave me into the family. He was a gentleman to the end, I will always think of him ‘pom pom pom’-ing around the house, making those around him smile and laughing his bellowing laugh.

19 thoughts on “Simplicity 4980: All Sewn Up

  1. This is beautiful. I think you did a lovely job putting this dress together, even if it did seem difficult while you were working. The color is really gorgeous on you, and your stockings are FAB!

  2. Hello!
    I found you via We Sew Retro 😀 This dress is great!
    Vintage patterns are the best! The one tip I can give you after using them for a few years now and loving them, is that: Look at the pictures. If the wording doesn’t make any sense then study the diagram as it will have been drawn accurately and should show you which side of the fabric goes where, where the notches are supposed to line up, how far you are meant to stitch on a certain section etc.
    Looking at the pictures has helped me out so many times!

    IF that still doesn’t work… Break wording down into sections, a tiny piece at a time, and just follow what it says as literally as you can. Sometimes you have to trust what it says even if its not working out in your head. I did this with a forties pattern I made a while ago. There was a weird instruction to finish the underarm and cap sleeve at the same time. It said baste this and stitch there and I was like ???? but I just did it…(make sure you baste if it says to baste!) and it worked out.


    1. Thanks for the advice, I think maybe that is the problem half the time, it all seems very wordy, so breaking it down into section might be best rather than reading it all as a big chunk. 🙂

  3. You did a great job on this dress, it is fabulous! The dress, the collar, the pleated skirt, the colour, everything!
    What helps me when I don’t understand the instructions: I make a simulation with the paper pattern, pinning the pieces together. I sometimes find that easier because all lines are marked and after some playing around I usually get it.

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