Hint: They are all here.
I got some fabric for my birthday. It arrived as a little square of adorableness in the mail, but the full sized piece lived in Pennsylvania while I furiously researched and wrote through the tail end of the semester. We met properly during Christmas break. It is a silky cotton print my mother found in a quilt shop in New York, but it feels more like a lawn than like a quilting cotton. The cheery apple green and the white flowers with multi-colored centers were begging for an awesome dress pattern. I dithered a bit, but think I found one in the new Simplicity 1699. The pattern actually includes a dress, a jacket, a blouse, and a pair of pants, all of which I may try making at some point. The jacket in particular looks simple and sharp.
But to stay on topic, the dress is rather simple. It has a fullish skirt which sits at the natural waist and princess seams on the bodice, but the somewhat unusual part is the raglan sleeves. These were quite a bit of fun to make because for once I wasn’t easing in the sleeve cap on yet another set-in sleeve. The raglan shape, which makes the shoulder and the sleeve all in one piece, just avoids that drama altogether. The pattern tells you to do an odd little folded-under hem on the sleeves, but it comes out with a charming split finish.
My only significant modification to the pattern was to drop the neckline one inch all around. Frankly, I could have done more and may next time I make the dress… either that or I’m toying with the idea of a “V” at the back neck. The need to lower the neckline became immediately apparent when I first tried the dress on.That’s a bit too 60s housewife for me. Alternately, if you share my context, that’s a very, very good imitation of Conservative Mennonite fashion. While there is a place for both of these, neither were remotely where I was aiming. To correct this, I simply drew a line one inch from the existing neckline, cut the excess off, and finished the neckline as per the pattern. I’m rather happy with it now – it preserves the basic look of the dress while avoiding the awkwardness of the too high neckline. I know there are perfectly lovely examples of clothing with super high necklines, but personally, I prefer a bit of collarbone showing (gasp!).
The dress zipped together quite quickly – my biggest difficulties were purely a result of failing to read the pattern package correctly. Based on the many sewing patterns I have recently modified by taking out 2-3 inches at center back, I decided to try making the next size down to begin with. It worked like a charm, the bodice fits perfectly, and I feel rather silly for all the fussing and adjusting I’ve been doing to get patterns to fit when I was just making the wrong size. However, being the the paranoid sort, I triple-checked the hip measurement on the skirt to make sure it would fit. The dress has a rather full skirt, so a problem in this area seemed unlikely, but it never hurts to check, especially when sewing a different size than usual, right? Well this time it did, as I mistakenly assumed that the listed hip measurement was for the skirt when I was actually looking at the hip measurement for the pants.
Now Full Skirt hip measurement > Slim Fit Pants hip measurement, or at least it should be by quite alot. I took one look at the pants measurement, thought it was the skirt measurement and thought yeah, that’s not going to work. In a move of total brilliance, I then added width to the existing skirt pattern piece, cut it out, sewed it up, tried it on, and promptly took out all the fullness I had added in because it made the bottom part of the dress fit strangely. All rather silly on my part, but easily fixed. I would like to say that I will now be more careful, that it won’t ever happen again, but that would be a complete lie. Here’s to recklessly altering patterns to make pointless work for yourself!
I think this dress is the sort of thing that begs to be worn while frolicking in a field of daffodils. As January has a shortage of daffodils and pleasant weather, it was a bit of a challenge getting halfway decent pictures. Mom and I ended up taking pictures on a darkly overcast day of green clothing in a green room – it was not the best of plans. I am, however, looking forward to wearing my dress frequently as it warms up into Spring and those daffodils start growing. All the flowers should be more readily located by then.