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Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying

Pretentious post title? Check.

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I didn’t want to bring Robert Herrick into it, but considering the dress and the date, I couldn’t resist. Herrick’s “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” undeniably has some creepy overtones. Yet the poem calls for a more deliberate enjoyment of fleeting moments, a perspective which is very relevant in this last week of August. Blooms, summers and lives all end. I’m beginning another busy semester of teaching, research and writing, and while that is exciting, I will miss mellow summer days.

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Summer flowers may have an expiration date; the flowers on this dress do not. I adore the bold red flowers on this fabric, perhaps in part because I rarely go this bold with my clothing. The dress is made from stretch cotton from G Street Fabrics. The fabric is relatively heavy and not very drapey, so the finished result is more structural, especially in the bodice. I used Simplicity 1460 for the pattern (which I have made previously here). I used a lightweight, solid shirting for the blouse last time, and the pattern works well with both. Design features like the double darts are more subtle with the crazy flowers in this version.

I am super impressed with the versatility of Simplicity 1460. This dress has the same sleeve and neckline options as I used before but turned out as a very different garment. There are still other sleeve and neckline variations to the pattern which I might experiment with at some point.

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The blouse pattern was very simple to convert into a dress pattern: I just extended the length of the peplum to 24 inches. The resulting skirt is pleasantly full without being heavy or overwhelming. Who wants to haul around a huge skirt that gets in the way? Not Me. My preference for skirts is based primarily on the fact that they are not trousers, so comfort and ease of movement are rather important to me. This dress would look cute in a shorter length as well, but the large scale fabric pattern demands a knee-length skirt (the flowers look huge and ridiculous with a shorter length).

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After a few wears, it became apparent that I should have shortened the waist by an inch as it currently hits enough below my natural waist to be annoying. Since tearing the whole thing apart to fix this currently holds zero interest for me, the dress will be staying as is for the time being. Wearing a belt does help, and it makes for cheerful, comfy, and office appropriate summer wear. I have more completed summer projects to blog, but I’m starting to get the itch for cozy fall clothing. Cool weather can’t come soon enough!

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Simplicity 1460

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Simplicity 1460 is one of Simplicity’s reprints of patterns from previous decades. This blouse and tunic pattern from the 1950s has been updated so the pattern pieces and markings are familiar to modern sewers, but it is unclear whether or not adjustments have been made to reflect the difference in sizing systems. My only quibble with the pattern is a sizing one: the waist measurement listed on the pattern is larger than the actual waist measurement of the pattern pieces. It is not a huge difference, but if you choose your size based on Simplicity’s typically generous ease, you will be frustrated. I just sewed my waist seams with narrower seam allowances, and it all worked out.

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The design of this pattern, like most of these reprints, includes many delightful details that rarely show up in contemporary patterns. While there are options for multiple necklines, I used the scalloped neckline. The graduated scallops look unusual and tricky but really are not any more difficult than any other neckline facing. I would recommend tracing your stitchline for the neckline on the back of your facing to make things go smoother. The resulting scalloped edge is so pretty, and it even continues onto the back of the blouse! The scallop at the back of the neck is such a simple little detail, but it makes the design way more exciting.

My other suggestion regarding the scallops is that you trim the seam allowance close to the stitching rather than notching the seam allowance the way the directions suggest. Trimming rather than notching makes a HUGE difference in the smoothness of your results. I learned this only recently thanks to the detailed explanation offered on this post. The difference between a notched and a trimmed curve is immediately noticeable, and you will be wondering why you ever notched your seam allowances at all.

I love a scallop edge on pretty much anything, but the other design features of the pattern add to the charm. The pair of parallel darts look rather nifty. The peplum is not voluminous, so it is very subtle, comfortable and wearable. The not-sleeves are great because they give the look of a cap sleeve without the fuss of actually attaching a cap sleeve. I was somewhat apprehensive about this feature because my shoulders sometimes do odd things with cap sleeves, but these fit fine without adjustment. The only other change I made was making the buttonholes vertical rather than horizontal.

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This blouse was made with another mystery fabric from the G Street Fabrics clearance area. It is a rather soft and lightweight baby blue shirting. As ever, the specific content is unknown, but it is substantially cotton. Now that I have made one of these blouses, I have a number of other versions in mind. There is already a nearly finished blouse in green, and I cut out a flowered dress using the same bodice but greatly extending the peplum to a skirt length. Once you have worked through the more unusual features of this pattern once, it actually sews up very quickly.

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