There is nothing quite as refreshing as a change of scenery. I love the fact that the holidays change up the atmosphere as well as the sights around town, and yet a full out location modification, if only for a day here and there, is the real elixir. We’ve been taking advantage of the acres of land (a road trip away) which my husband’s family still owns. It is the remnants of what was once a much larger farm, already old when the third generation back bought it. The promise of no one around but us and plenty of personal space with a variety of exciting nature to hear, see, and absorb was wonderful.
Of course, I couldn’t help but try out wearing my newest vintage dress creation for one of this season’s trips out to the farmland. Not that I did the actual property hiking or upkeep work in this (I save that for boots, a worn-in shirt, and denim overalls). Nevertheless, this dress interpreted the colors and feel of the farm to me – rustic, beautiful, fun, and freeing! The old family property is our new safe place to be ourselves, reset, and find renewed refreshment. Similarly, this new dress is a cozy, cheerful, and easy on the eyes. This is already a cold weather favorite piece to wear!
PATTERN: Simplicity 5850, year 1973, from my pattern stash
NOTIONS: All I needed was matching thread and a 22” long back zipper
TIME TO COMPLETE: The dress took me only 5 hours to go from start to finish. It was completed on October 22, 2020.
TOTAL COST: about $25
The background color is very interestingly unique and hard to capture accurately. It is not really a yellow, but neither is it an orange. Minerva’s listing seems to call it a gold, but it more coppery than that. The closest I can swatch it through the Pantone colors is “Autumn Maple” #17-1145. The dress’ color reminds me of a heavily spiced pumpkin pie, or baked sweet potatoes – yum!
For being a 70’s dress, I see this a step above the stereotype of the era. It is has an elegance of silhouette inspired by the 30s and simple lines that could be from any of the past several decades. The angled empire waistline is so lovely! There are your run-of-the-mill tapered sleeves…no bell sleeves, and no puff sleeves. The back has a long 22 inch zipper making this super simple to get on for an instant put-together look. The skirt has a lovely swish to it between the bit of bias cut and stretch of the knit. As easy to sew as it was, I don’t know why it wasn’t one of those minimal piece designs called “Jiffy” patterns. After all, I was able to pull off cutting out this dress on only 2 yards of material (60 inch width). If a dress like this comes together as quickly as this did in one evening, then I am a very happy girl indeed!
The ‘turtleneck’ is not as overpowering as or even similar to a 90’s turtleneck – the back envelope summary technically labels it as a stand-up collar. This high neck can be found as an added option on many dress patterns from the late 60’s to the mid-70’s. It really is the perfect balance that keeps my neck warm but not suffocated. The instructions did not call for interfacing or even facing to any part of the dress, and as I was working with a knit I was happy to oblige. Unfortunately though, the pattern wanted only one layer for the stand-up collar with a simple hem along the top edge. What?! I went ahead and cut out two layers of material to face each other for a clean finish and stronger collar piece. This slight change of mine made for a much nicer neckline.
What is this trademarked “Look Slimmer” label to this pattern, I wonder? I understand it’s self-explanatory yet I am curious why Simplicity began this line in the first place and what body type was their intended audience. If anything, such a selling point sure helped me feel more confident about using a large print floral for a longer length dress. Surely a design that slims the body must be able to pull off an oversized print, right? Longer length, long sleeved, warmer winter dresses always make me sense that I may lose a complimentary body conscious appearance in the effort to stay warm in the cold. I sometimes felt as bulky as the “Stay-Puft” man (from the original ’84 Ghostbusters movie) in the winter clothes I had growing up. Yet, this dress manages to hide the layers I am wearing underneath here…amazing!
Paging through the rest of my 70’s pattern stash, I now realized I do have a few more of these “Look Slimmer” designs. They do all rather seem way too similar to each other so I can’t imagine a gal back when these came out buying too many patterns from this line unless she was okay with not a lot of variety. Nevertheless, that is a great promise to include on a pattern cover and I do believe it holds rather true even in a print such as the one I chose, even with a few extra clothes layered underneath. When you are out in the middle of almost nowhere away from home, letting yourself grow cold is unwise and not fun at all. If I can look good taking care of such practicality, even when no one but family sees me, all the better.
I hope my fellow Americans had a happy, healthy, and hearty Thanksgiving holiday celebration. Who is already begun getting ready for the next holiday? We did chop down a cedar tree at the farm land, mostly to refurbish our coat closet for protection against clothes moths. Yet, we also posted up in our living room the small little top portion of the tree leftover. As we never have a tree up before Thanksgiving, we did not decorate it, but still…I guess, unofficially, Christmas has already started early here, too.