Just-like-the-envelope 60s Cocktail Dress

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I've noticed that my blogroll has been full of amazingly practical pieces recently. I think a lot of the indie designers have been picking up on the desire for functional yet stylish basics and releasing things like versatile blazers and utilitarian denim.

Me? I'm making silk cocktail dresses.


I don't know about y'all, but it is wedding season over here. I'm 25, and it seems like everyone I know is getting married--I have about a million weddings this summer! I call that a good excuse for a new dress (or two, or three).

When I picked up Simplicity 6220 (dated 1965) on etsy I was totally charmed by the right-hand dress, and I knew I wanted one just like it!

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I found my aqua silk at Mood (still available here) and it is really very pretty in real life. The color on the pattern image in this post is a little darker than mine is in real life--I don't know if mine is faded or the contrast was turned up for that picture or what, but on my copy, the color of the dress is much closer to the pale aqua fabric I have, not that deep teal. This is really not my color I don't think but I just love it so much I don't particularly care. I will say though that I could not get it to ease for the life of me! I think I did an okay job but my sleeve caps are definitely not a smooth as the line drawing and I have two sets of extra pleats instead of "ease" as directed on the sides of the skirt front and back.

On the fitting front, I did a little SBA (about 1/2 inch, if I remember correctly) which eliminated the dart coming out from the princess(?) seam. I love the V shaped seam. It's really pretty (and not too terrible to sew, either).

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I underlined the bodice only with a cotton muslin (possibly an old bed sheet, actually?) in order to give the thin silk some strength and also hopefully make it a bit cooler. The skirt I left unlined, and I'll just wear a slip. I wish I had one of those smaller sixties crinolines, though!

I finished some seams with pinking and some I just overcasted down. This is a dry-clean-only dress, and one which I don't plan on wearing weekly, so I'm not too terribly concerned about my seam finishes.

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I finished this late this evening, so I don't have any modelling photos, but I am planning on wearing it to a wedding this Saturday, so I think you'll see it in a what I wore post next week :)

Do you copy the fabric choices and styling from the pattern envelope or do you like to go your own way?  Sometimes it seems a little more "authentic"--not that I strive for authenticity all the time--to copy how they originally imagined it, what do you think?

xoxo,
allie

p.s. i realized after i took all my pictures that i forgot the bow belt! but don't worry: if there is a supposed to be a bow, i will always make it (and sometimes when there isn't supposed to be a bow, i'll add one anyway).

11 comments:

  1. Oh that is going to look sweet on you! Have fun at the wedding!

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  2. Lovely! I just picked up Vogue 6680 this weekend and it's shocking how similar the two patterns are. Seriously, even the pattern envelope styling has a white lace dress on the left and a dark teal on the right. Only the sleeve options seem to differ. Crazy coincidence, and now I'm really excited to try out the pattern.

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    1. Oh wow, those are super similar!! The only big differences in design I see are the "slightly stand-up neckline" (i love the pattern description) and the difference in the pleats on the front skirt. I'm very curious to see how the construction differs--looks like the vogue version might be fully underlined and the belt is built in? Simplicity really did make it more simple, I guess!

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  3. Oooh pretty. I find it hard not to get seduced by what I see on the envelope. In all I think picking the appropriate fabric for the pattern is one of the most challenging things about sewing! Bravo, this works perfectly.

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    1. I feel the same--it can be hard to find pretty, unique fabrics that really speak to you. I usually end up just going for solids. What I'd give for a reliable source of pretty florals!

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  4. Such a pretty dress! I have this pattern too and made a cotton version last year, I found the sleeves difficult to ease in as well which was a bit annoying.

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    1. I think the sleeves could be better--they wouldn't ease in 100% correctly which was part pattern and part fabric, I think, but then even with all that ease I felt like my range of motion was only okay!

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    2. I think the sleeves could be better--they wouldn't ease in 100% correctly which was part pattern and part fabric, I think, but then even with all that ease I felt like my range of motion was only okay!

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  5. oh its so pretty! i remindes me of the dress i wore to my year 6 farewell (end of primary school dance) where i wanted to look like Baby Spice so i had my mum make me a light blue voile dress. ahhh memories! it looks really fab! and the underlining is a good idea!

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