Tag Archives: simplicity 1720

The I’ve Heard It Both Ways Dress

I have wanted to re-make Simplicity 1720 for years, and I have to say, I’m glad I waited, because this fabric was the right fit and anything else would have been somehow a lesser make. I truly believe this. I have to. It’s the only way to keep going in this life, believing the stories we tell ourselves.


However, I have to tell you something awful. When I opened up this pattern for the second time, I realized that I was missing some pattern pieces! I managed to sort of figure something out, but I’m not sure whether it’s worth keeping this pattern now. What do you think, folks? It’s hardly the only shirtdress I have. Hell, it’s hardly the only 1940’s shirtdress pattern I have. I might have a shirtdress problem. Or is it a shirtdress SOLUTION???

At any rate, it’s funny how the years between making this dress the first time and the second time have changed the way I sew. I remember making it back when I was in graduate school and being very confused by the unmarked pattern pieces and overwhelmed by all the seaming and just, the process, it took me a long time to make. This time around it was…just like any other garment. What a difference nine years of sewing makes, I guess? Who would have thought…

Of late, I have found myself re-watching older shows I’ve loved, which is something I’ve always done, really, just like I will re-read certain books, mostly Terry Prachett novels, as a comfort mechanism. Of course, I’m also watching new things, (I May Destroy You, The Alienist Angel of Darkness, Perry Mason, just a dark trio of darkness), but a multi-season lighter show can be great background for me as I cook and sew and….contemplate how painful this existence is and how much is out of my control and how devastating and strange and boring and stressful and joyous, in little bits, these current times are, and why my cat only wants to cuddle with me when I am sweating buckets in the Mumbai humidity. So recently I’ve been re-watching Psych, in anticipate of the new recently released Psych movie, which my husband is so annoyed by that he’s starting mocking the theme song under his breath. But you can pry this show out of my cold dead hands, because it is truly an excellent piece of television, with one of the best friendships in media (Shawn and Gus, obvi), and some really stunning catchphrases and lines. I mean, come on. Plus, an all consuming love of pineapples. You know that’s right.

One thing I wish I had done was lengthened the front bodice a bit. I used my bodice block to replace the bodice pieces that were missing, but I ended up with a shorter front bodice and no front yoke (these two things are probably related…) and so this feels more like an empire waist, which I do not enjoy. That said, the paneled skirt fits true to my waist so it’s not terrible, as I believe an empire waist looks on me, and I can and will absolutely wear this, but it’s not quite my thing. That said, getting beyond “my thing” is never a bad thing.

This print is SO good.

I got it at Thakur fabrics, my go-to Mumbai fabric store, and it’s a block print, possibly from Rajasthan, probably from somewhere in North India at least.


This time I put in the patch pockets and pocket flap piece.

Adorbs. I happened to have these yellow wooden buttons in my stash, which was a total score, because the button shop I go to is very cramped and crowded. Here in Mumbai people are wearing masks, yes, but social distancing is a foreign concept, literally, and people just don’t really deal with it and it’s very stressful. So not having to go to the button shop is a plus.

The smirk of a woman who knew all those buttons would come in handy one day.

A little back view for ya.

And le bodice.


The flat outside of my body version. I love how the block print kind of references 30’s/40’s prints but is also very much it’s own Indian thing.



Here we have it. My second pineapple dress, my ode to Psych, my however many shirtdresses I have dress. So many things at once!



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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Passover Dress

So, just to warn you, I know that this is a sewing blog, but this post is going to get historical and personal, and if that’s not your thing, I just wanted to warn you straight away, and you can feel free not the read this, really, I wont mind. Of course, I’m never all about the stitching and the snipping, but still, just so you are aware before you dive in, you’ve been cautioned.

So, I decided to participate in the wonderful and talented Lucille‘s Sew for Victory challenge, and honestly, I really didn’t think too much about this before I did it. After all, there are a lot of sewing challenges and sew-a-longs and dares out here on the interwebs and really I’ve participated in (and continue to participate in) many of them. And I do love this period of dressing and pattern making, I do, the lines, the designs, the fabric efficiency, it’s wonderful! It is. And it’s a great challenge, I’ve been thrilled to see what other people have been making.

But recently I was watching an episode of Foyle’s War with my roommate (a  fantastic series, everyone should watch it) and all I could think was, thank god I wasn’t born in this period. Because if I had been the age I am now, or any age, really, in the 1940’s, well, I would probably not have survived. After all, I’m Jewish.

This week is Passover, in fact, it started on Monday night, at sundown, as all Jewish Holidays do, start at sundown, that is. Passover is a celebration of the exodus from Egypt, a celebration of freedom from oppression and a recognition of the cost of freedom and the Jewish struggle for liberty in every age and generation. We celebrate our escape from the bondage of Egypt year after year with a seven-day festival and a retelling of the biblical story, accompanied with a flat tasteless cracker, Matzoh, which is called “the bread of affliction” for a reason. Because it’s the worst.

At any rate, when I think about the 1940’s, I can’t help but think about the major event that dominated that decade. And, honestly, can any of us really ignore that? The war effected everything, and it CERTAINLY effected fashion on a fundamental level. It effected fabric production and hemlines and cuts and refashioning and everything. 40’s fashion is specific because of the specific events that shaped it’s existence. But I’m I suppose I’m loathe to idolize or at least glorify that decade because of what it would have meant for me to have existed within it. I could not be more glad not to have lived through the 40’s. It’s only through the grace of history and fate that my family, for the most part, happened to have survived the war via avoiding alternative homicide (ask me about Russia in the 20’s!). But we were the unbearably lucky ones. And for the most part, we were the exception to the rule.

So when we Sew for Victory, as fun as it has been for me, and really, it has been fun, I love this period, I love these patterns; I can’t help but think about the realities of this period, and the implications that it had for the real people who lived and died in this time. So I decided to wear my 40’s dress to my Passover Seder, and as I did, I celebrated the holiday. and reminded myself of how lucky I am, how lucky my family is, and how unlucky so many of us have been. This holiday, this Passover, is the time that we remember, that we spend with the people we love, that we tell each other, Next year in Jerusalem. And what does that mean? It means, next year, we will all be together. Next year, we will all be free.

There is a poem that I have recently read, and love:

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.

And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not on your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting
Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,

Give me away.

Obviously nothing else I can say will matter as much as that. So here is my sewing:

This is the dress I made:

PD 2PD 3

The pattern is Simplicity 1720. It’s an easy enough pattern, though the skirt has a ton of gores, though I can’t complain about how it hangs, because I love it!.

PD 4

The fabric is a rayon from an Ebay sale almost a year ago. I was concerned this would look too 1990’s, but, I actually think it works well.

PD 5I did french seams throughout, and though the front has facings, I just did bias tape for the neck and sleeve hems.

PD 7I love the way this hangs, I think it’s surprisingly modern.

PD 8Check out the details!

PD 9I love the back yoke, fussy as it is.

PD 10These buttons where unbearably expensive, they cost me more than the fabric. That is a real story. I got them at M and J trimmings, and I was so intimidated that I didn’t bother to ask the price until I was ringing it up. And it was HIGH.

PD 11Real Talk? These shoes probably ARE from the 40’s. They were my grandmother’s.

PD 6

I can honestly say that I love this dress, I do. It needs that belt (for REAL the bodice is too damn high) but I do love it. And I wore it to Passover, despite the chill. You gotta pretend it’s spring, right? Fake it till you make it…


Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage