Pattern Review: Simplicity 3673 1950s Retro Dress

Over a month after I started, I have finally completed my Simplicity 3673 dress, and despite a few problems along the way I'm pretty happy with the result. The delay in finished has not been because the pattern is especially difficult, but I've just not been doing much sewing recently; what with a visit from my parents, and then being laid low with the lurgy for the last week. I am at last feeling better, if still coughing a bit, and have been able to get on with some sewing.

I made view C, the centre image fuller skirt, the bust shaping comes from gather where the top joins the skirt and the waist shaping from a series of darts, 6 on the front and 6 on the back. All fairly simple and straight forward, but ...


I had some problems with fitting on this project, mostly my own fault (not that it makes it any better or less annoying). I'm normally either a UK 12 or 14, depending on the fit. As I made view C with the fuller skirt, and I tend to bigger on the bottom than the top, I thought I'd make a size 12. When I'd made up the dress I found I had a fit issue, but not the one I had expected; the dress was too big. 

When I tried on just the top of the dress it fitted OK, so I made the skirt without thinking, and when I put the whole things on I found that the fit at the waist was terrible, I was swimming in fabric. A quick look on-line showed that I was not the only person with fit problems, and that I could have avoided them from the start by reading the finished garment measurements on the pack. The pattern includes nearly 4" of ease, which is quite a lot. I'd got away with the top because my measurements were a bit over those of the size 12, but as my waist was slightly below the size 12 measurements the result was not good. 

When I'd finished with the expletives, I decided the best solution was to increase the size of the darts at the waist and this has just about solved the problem. It is a bit of a fudge, and I probably should have taken the side seams apart and started again.


So if I hadn't already learnt the value of reading ALL the instructions before starting from my fitting issues, I also had some issues with the garment construction and finishing which could have been avoided it I had read ahead. The top of the dress is lined, but the skirt isn't. Fair enough I have lots of petticoats so its not a problem, but because of the way the dress is constructed you get a real mess at the seam where the top joins the skirt, with two raw edges of fabric and one of lining all exposed.

It's not the biggest problem in the world as no one but me is likely to look at the inside of my dress, but it does bug me. The obvious solution is to sew the two outer layers together with the machine, and then hand stitch the lining in place to encase the raw edges, which I should have realised earlier and done. Instead, I've used a spare piece of black ribbon to encase all the raw edges and tidy everything up.

Perhaps unnecessary, but I'm happier having done it. Also, I have been trying to make the effort to make a better quality job of my sewing and cut less corners. Admittedly I still have to work on reading the instructions, but you might notice that I have sew tape over the edge of the hem by the zip, so the pinked edges won't get caught in the zip so easily.


Fitting and finishing issues aside, am I happy with the dress? - Yes. I'm pleased that after the difficulty in getter corduroy I found some and made this dress, and I certainly think I will wear it. Fitting issues aside the dress was easy to make and I really like the design, especially the gathers for the bust and the darts at the waist, which are a nice feature and add a bit of structure to the dress.

I would consider making this dress again, but would need to have a look at the sizing before I cut another one out.

The dress looks very much like the picture on the pattern envelope, and I like the outfit so much that I'm in the process of making a shirt to go with the dress, similar to the one on the envelope. I'm using New Look pattern 6078, and I did read all the instructions before starting, although I see some bloggers have had trouble with the collar which is making me a bit nervous!