Simplicity 8248 1930s Dress – Results and Review

Simplicity 8248 – 1930s Dress – made in rayon-like cotton.

Ever since Simplicity released two new 1930s patterns last Fall I have been just dying to make one up. The timing seemed right with the turn of the seasons and the acquisition of a beautiful rayon-like cotton that seemed perfect for a ’30s dress.

I chose Simplicity 8248, a late ’30s design with puffed sleeves. I spent quite a lot of time measuring and cutting the multi-size pattern to accommodate my varying bust-to-waist measurement (size 14 bust, size 16 waist) and lengthening the waist, something I always have to do on any sewing pattern.

Simplicity 8248 – I saw this green dress sample in NYC last Fall and it was expertly made. SO gorgeous.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to do, well, any of that. For those of you new to sewing, let me introduce you (warn you) to the “Finished Garment Measurements.” FGMs are printed on the pattern tissue itself, not on the pattern envelope, and hold the key to making a garment that actually, y’know, fits.

Most patterns have FGMs for the bodice and skirt separately. Simplicity prints them on their respective pattern pieces. This dress’ FGM for the skirt was fine, but the measurements for the bodice were a good 5 inches over my body measurements. FIVE inches!

I used the large puffed sleeves from View A on my View B dress. The sleeves make us of a cotton sleeve head inside to maintain the puff. I altered the position of the armscye to get the puffs way up on my shoulder, which I find more flattering.

I had a dilemma. 1930s bodices are meant to be loose and drapey, but how loose is too loose? I went ahead and cut the size 14 according to my body measurements, figuring I could always take it in. In hindsight, I should have cut the smaller size, something closer to a 2 – 3″ ease over body measurements, as I ended up taking at least that much out of the bodice as well as shortening it up.

Another major change made was to the width of the shoulders. For ladies who have narrow backs and shoulders, puffed sleeves can be difficult. The key is to get the puff way up on the shoulder, not hanging off. To do this, I shortened the neck-to-shoulder-point length before I cut the pattern. Even with that alteration I ended up taking a dart in the shoulder too. If you have narrow shoulders like me, consider this alteration if you want to avoid looking like a linebacker.

At last I get to wear this epic original vintage hat! I find that garments with large puffed sleeves need an equally large hat or hairstyle. Go big or go home.

The biggest challenge I had with this dress was the fabric. The pattern went together fine, but this cotton needed particularly special handling. I categorize it in the “Jerk Fabrics” category, the kind of fabrics that are oh-so-pretty but need *everything* basted. That the hem is straight on this dress is a miracle.

All in all, Simplicity 8248 took me awhile to finish due to alterations, fitting, and the difficulty of the textile, but I absolutely *love* this dress. It’s comfortable, easy to wear, and very ’30s.

Simplicity 8248 – a comfy, casual 1930s day dress. Fun and easy to wear and I feel fancy. <3

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