Simplicity 8340, A Swinging 60’s Dress Review

simplicity 8340

“Juniors and Misses dress and scarf: The A-line dress with front dart interest has back zipper, two-piece collar and set-in sleeves. V. 1 with short sleeves has front band and button trim. V. 2, 3 & 4 have long sleeves gathered to buttoned cuffs. V. 2 has contrasting scarf worn under collar. V. 3 with contrasting collar, sleeves and cuffs has purchased belt worn above normal waistline. V. 4 has braid and button trim.”

I finally got around to making Simplicity 8340, one of the very first sewing patterns I ever bought. I made version 2, but without the tie/scarf option.

The pattern was easy – minus the oddly shaped darts in the front that really threw me off at first. Here you can kind of see these long darts:

simplicity 8340 long darts in front.JPG

I should have ironed this dress again before taking photos, oops!

They were a pain in the butt, to be honest, but after that, the rest of the pattern was pretty much smooth sailing! As you can see, I chose a navy houndstooth fabric, and added contrasting collar and cuffs in a dark blue broadcloth. I had originally made the collar and cuffs in the same fabric, but it looked boring and very plain and I kept thinking that contrasting fabric for those elements would look so much better and more authentic. After hashing it out with my awesome gal pal Tilly of Elephant Ranch, I was convinced that it was the way to go, so I re-cut the collar and cuff pieces in the blue broadcloth, unpicked the collar I had already put in, and finally the dress really started to come together!

simplicity 8340 6

I never know what to do with my hands in photos.

I added buttons to the cuffs, but have to admit that they are purely decorative. I have trouble sometimes with buttons, due to the pain and numbness I often have in my hands, so I decided that using snaps on the cuffs would be easier for me and enable me to wear the dress more often, but I added buttons on the outside because I love the way they look.

(Click to enlarge)
Cat hair, always, always cat hair, my baby follows me wherever I go.

The instructions for the pattern were great as always and I didn’t have any trouble with them – I love vintage Simplicity patterns, they’re always so easy to follow and so damned cute, too!

Though you can’t tell from any of the pictures, this dress comes to just below my knee, even though it is meant to be more of a mini dress – I’m about 5’3″ so it was pretty long on me. I made the hem about 1-1 1/2″, which brought the dress to just below the knee, as I said, and though I could technically shorten it to make it more of a “mini” I’m almost 36 years old and I think my mini dress wearing days are long behind me!

 

simplicity 8340 9

Photos taken in the most 60’s looking place left in my 1960’s apartment building – the bathroom. Womp womp!

I keep thinking I should take the dress in at the sides, it’s pretty loose and I think it would probably look better a bit more fitted. This pattern boasts “New Sizing!” and I’m thinking more ease must have been added to patterns around this time (this pattern is from 1969), because the pattern is in a size 9 “Junior” – 32″ bust, 23 1/2″ waist, 34″ hips – but it feels like I’m swimming in it a little, even though my waist is bigger than the measurements (about 26″). I expect it to be a bit roomy in the bust because I’m an A cup, but this dress seems quite baggy compared to the picture on the envelope. Hmmm…I used the right seam allowances so I can only guess that at the end of the 60’s and into the 70’s, they started adding more ease. Does anyone know if this is the case? And do you think I should try taking it in at the sides?

simplicity 8340 1.JPG

That collar though! It’s HUGE!

Yeah, it definitely looks roomier than it probably should. Just looking at the photos makes me want to take it in. Gah! But I kind of love this enormous collar, it’s ridiculous and was definitely a sign of things to come in the 1970’s – the decade of gigantic collars and lapels and wideness in general wherever possible! The collar wouldn’t sit right no matter what I did – the interfacing didn’t help, the neck facing didn’t help, ironing didn’t help nothing. Ugh. This was probably actually the most frustrating part of the pattern, to be honest. Forget that oddly shaped dart, this collar was a pain and I’m still not 100% happy with how it turned out. BUT, I will be wearing the hell outta this dress, because I kind of love it. Seriously, I’m so glad I decided to go for the contrasting collar and cuffs, because I love how it turned out. I will probably take the dress in a bit at the side seams, but I just love how ridiculously 60’s this dress is. Thanks for encouraging me to make the change, Tilly!

simplicity 8340 inside hem and seam binding

Hem and bound seam details.

I used Snug Hug on the seams and tried to make the hem as invisible as possible. The buttons I used for the cuffs were vintage buttons I bought at the thrift store last year, the thread I’ve had for awhile, the snaps I bought a few months back, the fabric I’ve had for probably over a year now and was originally meant for another 1960’s dress (but I accidentally bought too little of it for that particular pattern which ended up working out perfectly because I got to use it to make this mod little dress!) and the blue broadclothΒ  was actually remnants from a previous project. So everything I used to make this dress was just fabric and bits and bobs I had hanging around the apartment – yay! I love it when things work out like that. πŸ™‚

simplicity 8340 5

Attack of The 50ft Collar!

I have a number of other recently finished projects to review, but days that are both sunny and pain free have been hard to come by, so I haven’t gotten to photograph them yet. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to soon! I also have a number of exciting projects on my list of things to sew that I can’t wait to get started on! Not to mention the 1930’s dress and Biba inspired dress I intend on making for my birthday in August, that I still need to get patterns and fabric for. Plus I have another sewing related project coming up that I’m incredibly excited about but will be keeping a little hush hush for now…because I’m a tease like that. πŸ˜‰ Needless to say, I’m going to be a busy, busy gal!

What have you been sewing lately? Do you have any exciting sewing projects coming up? Have you ever sewn a 1960’s dress? Do you think this enormous late 1960’s collar is the evil overlord of collars and a possible threat to humanity? I sure do! Whatever your thoughts, I’d love to hear them! πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “Simplicity 8340, A Swinging 60’s Dress Review

    • Thank you!! πŸ˜€ It definitely feels very 60’s and I love it – puts me in an instant good mood whenever I put it on, too, which is awesome! Need to find some Go Go Boots or something to help complete the look, though, LOL!

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  1. Lovely dress! But you are right – it does seem too roomy. Looking at my mum’s pictures from that time, the clothes look more fitted. Streamlined but fairly close-cut, not baggy. Oversized stuff didn’t come in until mid-1980s. I think it’s just the pattern – too much ease, the same as on modern patterns.

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    • Thank you, Elena! ❀
      I thought that it looked way too baggy for the time period, thank you for confirming my worries!I'm definitely going to be taking it in! πŸ™‚ It is a bit frustrating that at the end of the 60's there started being so much more ease, but at the same time, I'm feeling a bit of a relief – I have a pattern from the 1970's I've been wanting to make but the waist was so ridiculously tiny (23" or something!) that I was worried I would have to adjust the pattern. Taking in the seams a bit is much easier for me at my current skill level! πŸ™‚

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  2. I love how the contrast came out! The match is so perfect, I never would have guessed that it was stash fabric. In my limited experience, 60’s and 70’s patterns have a bonkers amount of ease! You did such a good job!

    Liked by 1 person

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