Today I sewed the top of Simplicity 7880 out of a vintage tablecloth Mia gave me. I have been trying to make time for even more sewing lately, I’m wrapping up some last few swimsuit commissions but on Thursday I leave for Mallorca so I’m also making swimsuits and now this top/cover up for myself, finally. It has been about a month (maybe longer…..) since I’ve actually made something for myself, normally I just give myself the discarded swimsuits I am drafting but I’ve really missed making real clothes for me. So I went through my patterns to pick stuff I thought would be nice for the trip and this afternoon I made 7880.

This pattern is described as “Misses’ Skirt, Vest, Scarf and Pullover Blouse: Blouse V. 1 or 2 softly gathered to yoke has stand-up collar, long sleeves with elastic casings, and ribbon ties. View 1 features contrasting yoke and scarf. V. 2 vest is encased in fold over braid. V. 1 or 2 skirt gathered to waistband has back zipper.” It’s from sometime in 1976. I say sometime because I think this is actually a copy or inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s very famous Russian collection.

I absolutely love YSL’s collections after he began working in Marrakech in the mid 60s. Obviously he was always a genius but his work with color is just beyond words. Here is is with his models (Grace Jones opened the show) after his fall 1976 show Carmen (also called the Russian Collection) from The Beautiful Fall:

Here are sketches from this show from Yves Saint Laurent: Style:

Looks familiar.. I noticed this when I looked at the belt on the left side outfit on the envelope, which is not included in the pattern. In fact this same collection from 1976 included vests much like in the pattern.

Anyway, so beautiful. Simplicity copied YSL’s Mondrian dress as well, Vogue Patterns had an officially licensed copy; I don’t own either. You can see all of them here on Pattern Review. But this was a bit more subtle (maybe it was more obvious in 1976).

Anyway, sewing the top was pretty simple, I cut it out of a tablecloth so I had to do some pre planning to ensure it was neat and symmetrical, Leo helped:

The blouse and sleeves are gathered and sewn together before the yoke is added, the gathering was a little finicky due to all the seaming but it wasn’t too bad:

The instructions for the collar confusingly called for a collar facing but didn’t include it in the pattern layout so I would say that was an oversight in this pattern, but it didn’t matter since I didn’t want to face this collar anyway since I cut it out along a finished edge as well. This was my first time using a material with an existing finished edge and it was pretty pleasant to not have to worry about hemming anything. I just flat-felled the collar to enclose it.

I also did not add a facing for the front slash opening to keep it sheer. I zigzagged the sides and slashed them like I would a buttonhole since I thought it would also look similar to the topstitching on the fabric and it worked. I left the sides open, it’s just a cover up / easy top. Here it is, it’s done! Looks so nice and symmetrical.

I love how the entre-deux (the cutout line attached by ladderlike stitching) of the shirt front matches that of the sleeve to make a wavey line. Pretty!

Anyway, I felt good and was thinking so much about the belt, I had a bunch of leather I’ve never known what to use for so I wanted to just… try making it… I just cut out a long 3″ suede rectangle, trimmed it into an oval and then topstitched some braided faux leather trim on. Probably I should have used some special stitch or something, or zigzagged across the trim not directly into it, but I kind of get nervous sewing on leather since it’s so thick and always gums up the machine with its vague stickiness. I don’t really have a best practice here, I just tried it out. It turned out nice, not perfect.

Then I practiced (thankfully) punching in eyelets before I added them on.

Do i look like a pirate or do I look like Loulou de la Falaise? don’t answer that.

Anyway, till next time, byebye!

Posted by:Patricia Torvalds

4 replies on “Simplicity 7880 / Yves Saint Laurent Russian Collection

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