mid-century modern

Atomic! – Vintage Simplicity 4777 from 1963

atomic pattern

My latest for the Vintage Pledge is view 2 of Simplicity 4777 from 1963. I’m a sucker for Mad Men style so I was pretty hyped about giving this a go. When looking for fabric to do a mockup I decided to use some of my yardage of Michael Miller’s Mid-Century Modern Atomic. I was able to get this fabric super cheap but it was all in cuts ranging from 1 to less than 2 yards. I had about 7 or so yards total. I checked my longest pieces and made sure they were long enough to cut the skirt. I figured that if the mockup worked, I could go ahead and complete the piece. If not, well I had a really pretty mockup and more fabric for other really pretty mockups. The atomic fabric fit the age of the pattern albeit just barely — generally 1965 is the cutoff for mid-century modern.

IMG_0108The bodice mockup seemed to go very well. Since this is a half size pattern I didn’t expect significant sizing issues. The sewing was straight forward although I needed to make sure that I didn’t get my shoulder darts too pointy. They are a bit square in the photo above. I had concerns that the bodice looked a bit frumpy or mumsy despite the spectacular fabric. The fit was good enough that I moved on and cut the skirt to finish the dress.

atomic progressIt looks fab on the much smaller dress form! Didn’t look as fab when I put it on though. The waist seemed too low. I measured against the bodice of another favorite dress and sure enough the atomic bodice was over an inch longer. I removed the skirt and shortened the bodice. That helped a lot. It also helped mitigate some of the problems I was having in the back. I probably could have considered a swayback adjustment but I was too far along by that point. I did kind of a half assed (heh) fix by adjusting the back waist seam.

I was kind of stumped for buttons. I had two great ones in my stash but not enough of either to finish the dress. I had trouble finding something I liked but I ended up with these.

atomic white buttons

Honestly, neither button is ideal. I decided to go for the ones on the left.

white button atomic

As cute as the buttons were, they were just wrong. They got totally lost in the bold print and also looked a bit too small despite being what the pattern called for. When cutting, I made no adjustments to the hips despite the pattern being smaller than my measures. In the past, the fullness of the skirts has covered this but it didn’t quite work here. I would definitely do a little scaling if I remake this pattern. I fit, but I think the dress needs more fullness to get closer to the pattern drawing. I sewed the cuffs but as they are not contrast, they are hard to see. Finally, I just don’t own a proper belt for this dress. I was not feeling it.


Making the switch to big black statement buttons and ditching belt did the trick. As I had already made the button holes I looked for the biggest, blackest buttons that would fit! I thought that this dress would require a belt. It might look better if I found the proper one, but a belt is not required.

atomic matchy purse

I threw on a vintage black enamel flower pin just to see. It was either my mom’s or my grandma’s — my mom couldn’t remember! I still see things to be tweaked but those big buttons pretty much saved this dress for me.

I don’t know if I will make this pattern again. I had planned on using it with some other, more precious fabric but I’ve opted against that. 4777 may not be the greatest for giant, in your face, prints. Still, there’s a part of me that wants to perfect this pattern so who knows.


I haven’t had a chance to properly wear the atomic dress on an outing. I did however, find a nice matchy handbag at Charming Charlie.


Turned out so nice, I made it twice!


Since that Tiki Blouse from Simplicity Retro turned out so well, I decided to make it again. I quacked it out of another small piece of fabric — polka dotted duck lawn that I bought in Montmartre a couple of years ago. This fabric is lighter weight than the tiki fabric and was very nice to work with. I did some googling looking for other similar fabrics but what little I found was on French websites. I wonder if this is Japanese fabric made specifically for the French market? Hmmm.


I had to do some crazy folding to get the pieces to fit. Good thing the fabric was wider than 44 / 45″. I wonder if it was a metric standard?

I made the adjustments I considered after finishing the Tiki blouse. I cut the neckline and shoulders at a 20 instead of a 22. I also omitted the side zipper since it goes easily over my head. This blouse could look very nice with a peter pan collar instead of the keyhole and pussy bow. Perhaps an idea for the future.


With that complete, I moved on to sewing a mockup of vintage Simplicity 4777 from 1963. I’m a real sucker for raglan sleeves. I was able to buy several 1 to 1 1/2 yard cuts of Michael Miller Atomic fabric. A test of this pattern seemed like a good use for it.


I’m generally pleased with the bodice mockup, small details not withstanding. This is definitely another dress for a pointy bra — not surprising really, being from from 1963. I’m a bit concerned it could end up being a little frumpy. I’ll go ahead and finish this to find out.