My “High Standards” 1950’s Jumper

When I think of the word “jumper”, my mind automatically wants to picture a dowdy, sack like article of clothing that is obviously outdated.  I’m not sure why this occurrence is the case for me, but I suppose it’s easy to get misconceptions stuck in one’s head.  So, as I was looking through my patterns for something different to make and wear this winter, a vintage jumper sounded fun along with the knowledge I was taking a risk with my precious fabric.  My standards for a jumper were quite exacting just so I can break my mental block towards jumpers.  The jumper had to be something I will like, feel comfortable yet be quite modern, but still be warm in cold weather.  I am surprised at my success in making something better than what I had hoped.

100_1140a     Here I’m wearing the jumper with my peep toe patent shoes and a vintage velour hat, complete with its original feathers, netting, and jewels.

I did quite a LOT of online checking to get the lowdown on Simplicity 3673 so I would know how to make the look for which I was searching.  It seems this pattern has been made many times, in many different surprising variations.  Most of the reviews were unanimous about two things:  1) the need to decrease the ease in the bust/chest (above the empire waistline it is unreasonably big compared to the ease in the waist and hips),  2)  slightly rounding in the wide boat neck.  I accomplished both at the same time by “pinching out” 1 1/4 inches from the middle of the front and back bodice pieces.  Below is a drawing of what I just described.100_1197

From the waistline down, I cut a half size bigger than my true size (in this pattern), while from the waistline up, I cut a half size smaller than my size – both of which I rarely do.  The waistline was my happy medium, where the seams were a size 10, the one size both top and bottom had in common.  I was making the longer View A, only without either the ‘belt placket’ or the belt tabs.  The center front skirt seam was eliminated from my design by measuring out the 5/8 inch seam allowance and cutting that pattern piece on the fold instead as per instructions.  Believe me, no center front seam here is just about the best thing for this jumper!100_1133a

There were no very challenging techniques here, and the jumper went together easily.  The part about pulling the lining and the fabric right sides out through the shoulder was…well, humorous by the way I got so frustrated I had to watch TV doing it so as to mellow out.  The darts were the most precise and time consuming part of assembly, especially with my lining attached.  I just took my time, in between struggling to find time for sewing, so that I would end up with a professionally finished garment.  I even sewed seam tape (lightweight netting strips) into the armhole and neckline seams so they couldn’t stretch out of shape.  I can’t tell you how much I love seam tape now and wish I would’ve sewn it into more of my past projects.

I tried the jumper pieces on myself a few times throughout sewing it together and they seemed to fit great, but it wasn’t until I was completely done – except for the zipper – that I realized it turned out so…form fitting.  Not exactly tight, just snug, very customized to say the least.  In fact, the jumper was unfortunately “custom fitting” enough that I didn’t have room to properly install a zipper!  I really could not spare the inch or so needed or else the jumper would be unwearable (unless I suddenly did some big time weight loss system).

100_1137a     Sometimes my sewing mistakes end up forcing me to come up with something much more creative and even better looking than originally planned.

The chunky, exposed zipper down the back gave me the best of both worlds: 1) a modern, upbeat feature with a point of interest to break up the dark colors, and 2) extra inches to help the jumper fit a bit more comfortably.  I made long strips of bias tape out of the bouclé fabric and sewed them over the raw edges before installing the zipper.  I’m glad the strips are unnoticeable, blending in perfectly, and they gave those edges more support (as well as more inches).

I even have 1 1/4 yards of the bouclé still leftover, and am planning on using it to make either a small, cropped jacket or a capelet to match.  That project will have to wait until next winter.

Hubby wears a smile when I wear my jumper, which is actually more of a “wiggle dress” the way it fits.  It really took him awhile to peg his idea of “the look” he sees in what I made.  He says it reminds him of a ‘hot librarian’ style…thus my photo shoot is at our local library.  This statement is ironic coming out of his mouth, with his mom being a retired librarian and my girlfriend/maid-of-honor being a librarian for the county system.  In honor of the hubby statement, I will title this next full picture, “Really?! So you want me to bend way down and get a book on the bottom shelf for you?”  So much for calling this my ‘high standards’ jumper!!!

100_1138aTHE FACTS:

FABRIC: a wool/acrylic blend in a chunky bouclé, with a brown and tan color mix (I’d been saving this fabric in my stash for so long, as I don’t have much wool, hoping to use it wisely one day…) & black poly cling-free lining for the insideS-3673

NOTIONS: black bias tape ($2 each for two packs) & a gold exposed zipper (on sale for $1), while the thread, the hem tape, and seam binding I had already

PATTERN: Simplicity #3673, a reprint of a 1956 Simplicity #1734.  My intent was to channel a late 40’s/50’s New Look type of styling here.  I had originally planned on using an old vintage pattern of mine, McCall’s 9815, but when I unfolded it, there was only the blouse pattern! Oh well.

TIME TO COMPLETE: about 15 hours; finished on March 3, 2013

100_1198THE INSIDES: all clean and nicely finished, see pic below, with a mix of bias binding and hem tape – well worth the time, thank you.  The bouclé HAD to be lined , as it shredded EVERYWHERE (a mess for my sewing area) and it was a very loose weave…I didn’t want a jumper that was tight and see-through.  


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