Black Swing Dress (Simplicity 4977)

Last year I spent quite a lot of time adjusting the fit on this early 60s pattern, Simplicity 4977. I ended up making this lovely tropical dress and deciding after all that that I really prefer my old standby vintage swing dress pattern, Simplicity 6820. The two patterns are very similar, except that 6820 has raglan sleeves and is slightly fuller, where 4977 is slightly less swingy--more a-line than trapeze--and has grown-on sleeves. Recently, however, I was caught up in the modeled shots of the Wiksten Shift and even thought about buying it (based on the cute cute black and white stripe version, ugh so cute) before I realized oh! I actually already have basically that exact pattern. This little vintage number was sitting in my stash just waiting to be rediscovered. The Wiksten Shift has a sweet back yoke detail that this pattern is missing but other than that it is very similar in shape! In fact, I think I prefer this vintage pattern to the Wiksten Shift for me personally--the slight a-line is more in my comfort zone than the Wiksten, which appears to be straight up-and-down according to the line art.

The other wonderful thing about this pattern is that it's very economical with fabric--more so than 6820. The front and back don't quite fit side-by-side on a 60" width fabric but you only need to stagger them slightly and since the sleeves are cut as part of the dress it's just front, back, and neck facings--that's it! I used the leftover Atelier Brunette rayon crepe from another recent black dress, because you can never have enough swishy black dresses, right? With this stash pattern and leftover fabric, this is practically a "free" dress!

If I end up returning to this pattern a third time, the only major change I would make it to alter the neckline slightly, making it a little bit narrower and a little bit deeper in the front. This time, I sewed the neckline with a 3/8" seam allowance instead of 5/8" just to get a little extra coverage on either side but if I ever plan on making multiples of this, it's easy enough to make that change permanently.

Whenever a new pattern catches my eye, its so so tempting to click purchase and be part of the cool new pattern club--but it's so much better for your wallet to double check your stash first! I've found that for me, with my extensive stash and passable pattern-hacking skills, I can cobble together just about anything without a new pattern purchase. Of course, that doesn't mean I never buy patterns... but I've definitely been trying to be good about buying fewer!


ps: just wait, I'll be back with a bunch of new patterns like, tomorrow haha

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