Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Simplicity 8192 (vintage) Pattern

Beginning the sewing portion of this blog as it should be, at the beginning, requires going back over two years to the Summer of 2020. Up until then, my sewing had been focused on repairs, alterations, and a brief foray into upcycling. Although there was sporadic garment sewing, those garments only supplemented my retail wardrobe. That summer, however, the urge to follow the small crowd of sewists showing off their makes sparked enough of my interest to lead me to purchase a few pieces of fabric from Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver. Patterns from the 90s were dusted off and altered to match my altered state of living and the altered state of my figure. The first product was a pencil skirt from the durable hemp/organic cotton blend "denim" in Indigo. At 57" wide, 1 yard was enough. Alas, even the largest size of this old pattern (a 12) with a rather generous waist allowance was not enough to achieve a comfortable fit. It took removing all four waist darts. This, thankfully, was a step too far that was modified by inserting elastic in the waistband. There was enough fabric left over to add two large patch pockets to the front of the skirt. Although I initially rated this skirt as too tight and the fabric too stiff, my opinion has changed. There is nothing like wear to stretch and soften this fabric. It is very comfortable and very practical now, a great fit to my current life style. The pockets to hold a wallet and keys make it perfect for shopping trips.

Simplicity pattern 8192 (vintage), size 12 but altered.  Waist Measurement is 30", Hip Measurement is 40", Length from Waistband to Hem is 22 1/2".  Cost was $23.

I was so happy with this success that I repeated it.  This time, I used some of the 2 yards of Elizabeth Suzann cotton poplin in black that was part of the same order from Fancy Tiger Crafts.  I had been reading about Elizabeth Suzann designs and was excited to get some of her fabric.  I was less excited when I received the fabric, and have since decided that poplin is not the best fabric for a pencil skirt.  However, I used less than half of it for the skirt and have been using the rest for bias binding for other projects. 

The skirt, as you might guess, was not a success, even after a couple of alterations to improve it.  It is now a plain black skirt, a little too big, that hangs in the closet.  No picture of this one will be posted here!

These two "wearable toiles" were followed by a serious attempt to alter the pattern to improve the fit and function.  The third skirt is made from 1 1/2 yards of  teal Linen Look Fabric Solids, (Sew Classic) from JoAnn (12993534,  52" wide,  85% viscose, 15% linen)   Total cost was $13.64.  This time, using a Threads article on how to alter a pencil skirt pattern, I adjusted the front to fit a fuller stomach, added pocket bags and narrowed the skirt below the hips.  The fabric is better suited to a skirt than the poplin, a little less suited than the "denim".  Also, the color coordinates well with a cotton/linen sweater I had just knitted.  Overall, this third version of this pattern is the best of the lot.  To bring this up to the current time, the fabric has not held up to promise of the fit.  It falls somewhere between fashionably wrinkled linen and soft, nicely draped rayon.  That is to a nice place to be.  It does not respond to ironing and insists on staying mildly rumpled and clingy.  However, the pattern is now modifed for a good fit and will probably work well in a different fabric.

In cutting out the pattern, I modified it per the Threads article, making the front larger but keeping the back a size 12, mostly.  I moved the front dart closer to the edge--the Threads article said it should be over my hipbone--raised the front by adding a wedge to it (this is now permanently part of that pattern), and followed the lines of the expanded waist I had used in the two earlier versions.  The waist was still a bit small, so I kept the side seam allowance to 3/8" until below the hip, then went to the standard 5/8".  I cut the waistband a couple of inches too short, forgetting that I needed seam allowances and a tab in the back.  After lengthening it by adding a piece to the back, I ended up with a 36" waistband including seam allowances.  To adjust that down, I added 1" elastic to the front, bringing it in to 32".  This is a little large, but since I prefer the waistband to sit a little below my waist, it is good.  The hip shaping goes from 37 1/2" to 40".  

The pockets are an experiment, copied from a sewing blog.  Although they are less noticeable than the patch pockets of the denim version, they are placed a little too high on the hip to be as functional.   Still, I like the pockets well enough to repeat them if I make another version of this pattern. 

There is 1/2 yard remaining, so for 50" wide fabric (after washing), I only needed 1 yard to make this skirt, with pockets and longer waistband.  The finished skirt is 25" long and the hem sits just below my knee.  Cost is $9, not including thread, zipper and interfacing. 

Also in current time:  A year has passed, but this old pattern is still useful.  There's a tank top in it.  Cut to the largest size (12), with 1 1/2" added to the sides at the bottom, tapering to a couple of inches below the armholes, it works well.  This tank top pattern, which was first used for a tent dress that was drafted from one I purchased, was now used for a tank top in a lovely rayon twill purchased from Stone Mountain and Daughter.  Using 1 yard of Tencel Twill in a marbled pink/gold/khaki print, 100% rayon/viscose/tencel, (take your pick of term because it is a little unclear) 60" wide, $18.80, machine wash, hang dry, 3.6 oz/sqyd, 125 gsm, for the tank top, using bindings instead of facings.   

I used bindings on  the first cut of this pattern, in a rayon twill from Fancy Tiger. I hand-sewed those bindings down, and found that those are crinkled after much washing. With the tencel twill, since the fabric is lightweight, I folded the bindings and stitched them to the top with a 1/4" seam.  Then I understitched them, fold them to the underside and top stitched them down using a walking foot to avoid puckering.  This is similar to the pattern instructions for the facings, except that I doubled the thickness of the fabric.  

Despite my careful sewing on this expensive fabric, the neckline binding flipped out.  It will  press into place, but not without a bit of puckering.  This is a deep scoop neckline that should have been stay stitched prior to binding.  The fabric along the cut line stretched out, making it difficult to fit the binding as tightly as it should have been.  The next time, depending on the weight of the fabric, it would be better to wrap the binding over  the neckline instead of sewing it on and folding it down.  Either way, the neckline must be stay stitched.

It's a basic, well-fitting tank top in a fabric that I love. Now that the pattern has been altered and the neckline can be improved, it will be used again. Considering together the skirt and the tank top, this old pattern was well worth keeping.

No comments: