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Simplicity 1882: Duvets Never Looked This Good

Hello again after a bit of a hiatus

It has been a busy summer for me, at first  due to an intensive Latin course that crammed two semesters of Latin into six weeks.  Later, I have been much to busy actually sewing to take the time to write about my projects!

The first sewing endeavor of this recent spate of projects is the newish Simplicity 1882, an “Amazing Fit” pattern, which I am happy to say lives up to its name. The dress has retro lines emphasized by piping at the waist with a nifty pocket construction and an optional collar. I added the piping this time and used the collar and the contrasting pocket pieces, but I decided not to use the little bow at the center of the collar. I’ve always felt that putting a teeny, non-functional bow there just means you are trying to hide how you goofed up installing the collar.  The pattern has many charming little design features that can be swapped for very different looks depending on the fabric used.

The first attempt at a pattern is something of a risk – you don’t know how it will sew up, how it will fit. While it looks adorable on the pattern packet, it might look absurd made up, fit strangely, or just really, really not suit you. This is, of course, why people make quick mock-ups called muslins which may or may not be made with muslin. This particular dress was intended to be a muslin, but once I started sewing it, it took on a life of its own and became a proper dress. The fabric in this case is not actually muslin. It began its cottony life as a queen-sized IKEA duvet cover on clearance. While I haven’t bother to do the math properly, it came out to dirt cheap a yard for the fabric (just how I like it). The duvet cover included two shades of blue chambray fabric, which worked out perfectly for this pattern. I ripped apart the seams on the duvet and had fun deciding how to lay the pieces to cut them out.

This dress included a number of new techniques for me; most especially it features an invisible zipper and piping. The invisible zipper (using this tutorial)came out only somewhat invisible, but it both works and looks nice which I automatically count as a win with any kind of zipper. I might have to further elaborate on my zipper angst sometime. I apologize for that rant in advance.

An only somewhat invisible zipper

As for the piping… I suspect I may be beginning a love affair with piping. I made the piping myself by first making bias tape of the darker blue chambray. I then folded the bias tape over cording and stitched alongside it to hold the fabric in place. I used this tutorial. See how neat! I feel impossibly clever about how well it all came out. Making bias tape is enough of a trick to begin with, but when it turns into piping which looks so sharp so easily… well it’s a bit magic. I am also a big fan of the short sleeve option in this pattern. The short sleeves ease in properly without any wrinkles at the top, always a plus. The sleeves are also fully lined, which avoids any need to hem them and gives the potentially droopy sleeves some body.

I found fitting this pattern to be very straightforward. I used the curvy pattern pieces, and  the pattern includes variations for cup sizes which is rather useful. The only alteration I needed to make was taking out an inch or so at center back for my apparently weirdly narrow back. I’ve started seeing that little quirk as a remarkably convenient as it gives me extra wide seam allowances to work with for any center back zippers.

I am rather pleased with how this dress came out in fit and fabric and styling. It is ridiculously comfortable and allows for the full range of motion you would want in an easy, breezy summer dress.

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