The Sew Grateful Dress: Vintage Simplicity 4908

6 Dec


The gorgeous and gracious Debi, who I’m sure you all know from her blog My Happy Sewing Place and her work on the Sew Weekly, recently hosted a challenge in celebration of Thanksgiving.

The instructions were to use a piece of fabric or pattern you had won or been gifted or to use a tutorial from another blogger in the spirit of saying thanks to the collaborative community that we are all a part of. And lucky me, the day after reading Debi’s Sew Grateful challenge, I won a blogiversary giveaway of two vintage patterns from Amy of Sewing Through the Motions.

I decided to make Simplicity 4908, which according to the Vintage Patterns wiki is from the early to mid 60’s.


The dress has a princess seamed bodice and kimono sleeves. The front panel and the belt are all cut as one piece and it finishes at the back with a bow. Which makes me feel a little like I’ve accidentally made a bridesmaid dress…

Image via Aeva Couture

I blame Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Still, I think a 60’s vintage dress in coral sounds just lovely so I didn’t let that put me off. Nor did I get defeated by the amount of pattern alterations that were needed.

To start with, I graded it from a 36in to a 41in bust before tackling the full bust adjustment. Frustratingly because of all the angles involved in the side front panel it just wouldn’t come together so instead I created a new pattern from a hodgepodge of ones I already knew fit.

The first pieces I needed were for the shoulder princess-line bodice, so I grabbed my Sewaholic Pendrell blouse. Next the kimono sleeves, which came from the white lace tee I made a few weeks ago.  I fit the pendrell pieces under the bust (it’s usually a loose blouse) then cut the side panel at the midriff to mimic the curve on the original piece. The bottom of the side panel attached to the front piece. The kimono sleeve addition was pinned to the side panel before tracing it off again and adjusting the seam allowance.

The back piece was the only originally graded piece I used, except for the bow. The only change made was to make the neckline scooped rather than V- or bateau necked. I continued the belt from the front piece around the back tracing the outline of that piece.

The skirt I adapted from Burdastyle’s Jenny Pencil Skirt, and the pockets came from another pattern.

You can see the original pieces above and below you can see how they sort of piece together.


In the end, it came together pretty well despite all the improvisations. By the time I’d made all the changes, a muslin might have killed me so I just went ahead and whipped it up but next time I’l remove a little length under the bust and definitely add more ease at the hips.

Still for my first attempt at sewing a vintage pattern, I’m chuffed.


28 Responses to “The Sew Grateful Dress: Vintage Simplicity 4908”

  1. Stevie December 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Super cute! I’ve been doing trouser alterations all day and I have totally lost patience. I know it will be good in the end but Argh grading is the devil! Well done for persevering chick! x

    • lazystitcher December 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

      urgh I hear you…. I spent hours on my clovers on Sunday but still more to go! x

  2. molly December 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    You did a great job frankenpatterning, if you didn’t tell me I wouldn’t know it at all! It looks really great on you

  3. mujerboricua December 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    It looks great! Way to line up various patterns! Also, the color is very flattering on you.

  4. prttynpnk December 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Aw, I really love this one! The color the shape- too pretty! Of course, I want one too!

    • lazystitcher December 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      I think someone on Etsy has it listed… or you could just make it up like me 😉

  5. Seraphinalina December 6, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Wow, that’s some serious frankenpatterning skills. The end result is lovely.

    • Geri December 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

      So gorgeous & fits like a dream! (Also thanks for the link to definatalie. The No-Diet-Talk Badge is very cool)

  6. Kimberly December 6, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Very nice! (I saw it over on Sew Retro and had to come take a closer look.)
    For as many changes as the pattern needed and no muslin to check them, you did a fantastic job!

  7. Kris December 6, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Just gorgeous! I love how creative you were in putting different pieces together.

  8. rachel December 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Beautiful! Your alterations really paid off – that colour is divine on you!

  9. Cherie December 7, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Just saw your post on sew retro. Gorgeous dress. I think you are beautiful in your size. Just one thing – find a bra that puts the girls closer together, and you will be totally in proportion. And more beautiful. Love your taste in clothing!


    • lazystitcher December 7, 2011 at 10:41 am #

      Ah yes, that is the challenge 😉 Sadly, I wear a 34 G or H and the ones that hold’em together I always end up falling out of as soon as I lean forward. Something to do with the phsyics of it all! I’m just happy to find ones that fit.

  10. Sølvi December 7, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Oh my goodness Alana, could this be any prettier? The color and style are perfect for you, and I admire your grading skills. What an amazing job! I want one too! 🙂

  11. House of Pinheiro December 7, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Alana, this dress is breathtaking.. love the colour on you. It was lovely to met you too.. hope next time we can talk a bit more…

  12. euphoricstimuli December 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    thats amazing. Its so nice to see someone my kind of size manage a successful vintage pattern make. I totally struggle with them, but then I’ve been using size 20 patterns I’ve found on etsy and not really refashioning them at all, which is a bit more hit and miss. I’d be far too scared to do what you’ve done and construct my own pattern.
    So impressed!

  13. Debi December 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    This is absolutely amazing!!! I just LOVE this dress and it’s great to see all the various patterns that went into it!! YAY!

  14. Brumby December 8, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Love the style, adore the colour, and respect your perseverance and patience, no way in hell I’d have got through all those adjustments without a good dose of vino!

  15. Sigrid December 9, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    Holy cow, that’s some serious frankenpatterning. But what’s really amazes me is that you have just shown that patterns are not really needed. If I had your mad skills, I could just cruise through the vintage pattern wiki and make anything work.

  16. Reana Louise December 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m so happy I found your blog! I adore it, and I adore the stuff you make. This dress is the bomb-dizzle! x

  17. veronicadarling December 12, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    AMAZING. Just saw your blog via the lovely Debi, and will have to visit again and again! YAY!

  18. Zoe December 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Alana, this is STUNNING!!!!!! You did such an amazing job, it soooo nice. I really want to say how lovely it was to meet you last Saturday. Thanks so much for making the effort to come down and sorry you ended up standing in the cold outside with me for so long. Really hope we get to meet again soon. Have a lovely Christmas xxx

  19. Kerry December 17, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Really pretty dress, good work! Look forward to meeting you at the Crafters Ceilidh too.

  20. Stephanie December 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    This dress is beautiful! Especially love the color. Looks great on you.

  21. Nikki December 23, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Love it! It really suits you. The colour and shape and fabulous!

  22. Shona December 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    This reminds me of the dress Joan wore during the Christmas party on Mad Men…the one that Sterling said “makes you look like a present”.

    Totally gorgeous! New follower here btw, hello 🙂 I’m really loving your blog.


  1. Lazy Stitching - December 23, 2011

    […] You flowers to Amy from Sewing Through the Motions and Karen from Did You Make That? for the vintage patterns and lucky dip I won in your give-aways this […]

  2. Hopes for 2012, Baby! « Lazy Stitching - January 1, 2012

    […] more vintage patterns/Create side project: After making my first dress from a Vintage Pattern a few weeks back, I’m determined to make more use of vintage patterns in 2012. This ties in […]

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