I’ve finally made a small dent in my autumn sewing plan. Things have been so busy recently and my sewing time has seriously suffered, as a result this dress has taken two weeks to sew! The (not so) little one is going up to Secondary School next year so we have been on a continuous round of open evenings, coupled with swimming lessons and Scouts which has seriously eaten into my me time! I’ve been trying to do a bit when I can, but as I use the dining room for my sewing it does mean having to get everything out and set up and then putting it all away again. It’s difficult to get motivated when it’s getting late and all I want to do is sleep! (I have been getting on with a bit of knitting though (still on the Peggy Sue cardigan!) so I haven’t been totally unproductive!) Anyway things reached a head on Monday when my planned couple of hours sewing got eaten up by extra work. With my dress still hanging half-finished on Doris I vowed that I wasn’t going to do anything on Tuesday until I’d finished it!
This is the second Simplicity 2444 I have made. The first one was in December last year and was a bit of a panic sew. I needed a dress to wear for our works Christmas dinner. I had some shot cotton in my stash which I had bought on impulse (shiney!) without any plan as to what to make with it. The warp threads are orange and the weft threads blue which results in a shimmery purple effect. As I couldn’t see myself having occasion to wear such a chocolate wrappery fabric very often I thought I would use it to test out the 2444. I cut a size 14 straight out of the packet without any adjustments, I based this on the finished measurements, as always with Simplicity there was a good 3 inches of ease built into the pattern. I’m not sure using a party dress as a wearable muslin is recommended but I was living dangerously! The fit wasn’t too bad and it was perfectly wearable (I wore a cardigan over it to try and disguise the hunchback) but there was definitely a few tweaks needed. I didn’t blog it at the time but have taken some pictures now so you can see the issues:
- The main problem was that the bodice was too long, if I stood up straight and put my shoulders back the zipper gave me a slight hunchback effect.
- The waist darts were too long, as they finished at the apex, giving potential for pointy nipple syndrome.
- There was a bit of gaping on the back neckline.
- The sleeve caps were too big and I ended up with some tucks, I was in a rush sewing but even if I had been sewing at a more leisurely pace there was no way I could ease that amount of fabric into the armhole!
- The sleeves were too long, they were supposed to be three quarter length but ended up just short of full length (bracelet length?
My proposed fixes for these problems were to:
- Shorten the bodice by an inch
- Shorten the darts by an inch
- Take an inch out of the upper back
- Remove half an inch around the sleeve cap
- Shorten the sleeves by two inches
It was only when I was thinking about my Autumn sewing plan that I decided it was time to revisit the 2444. I bought this grey flocked cotton last year, again without any plan for it, I just thought it would be a good autumn fabric. It’s languished in my stash trunk ever since. As it was a fabric for the cooler seasons I thought it would be an ideal candidate for this project.
I cut a size 14 again but made the above adjustments to the pattern. Although it has been sewn in fits and starts, in real time didn’t take that long. I cut the front skirt on the fold instead of two pieces as directed, I didn’t see the point of having a seam down the front of the skirt, I did however remember to account for the seam allowance so it didn’t affect the pleat placement. It did take me a little while to get the pleats matched up with the waist darts but I got there eventually. The order of construction was quite different to the usual way for dresses, it has you sew the front bodice to the front skirt piece, the back bodice to the back skirt pieces and then stich the side seam in one go before sewing the shoulder seams. I actually found this to be a much better method of construction, it was easier to match everything up a bit at a time rather than wrestle with the whole skirt and bodice. I might actually try this with all my dresses in the future.
This is what happens when I’m told to do some different poses and move around a bit:
(Think I proved a point there!)
I was a bit indifferent to this fabric when I started, I think because it was Grey and I prefer a bit more colour, but now it’s finished I am totally in love with this dress! The fit is spot on (or as near as I’m going to get) and I can see this becoming my go to dress pattern. As it’s part of the Simplicity Project Runway series it has a lot of variations, I can see why it has been so popular (lots of lovely ones on Pinterest here ) I’m also thinking of using the bodice as a basic block when frankenpatterning, I have a plan forming to use it with the skirt to the Colette Peony (Another unblogged dress, wearable but with a fair few fit issues in the bodice which I just can’t be bothered to deal with!)
The dress is going to get its first outing on Saturday as I’m going to the Sew Brum meet up which has been organised by the lovely Charlotte at English Girl at Home! I’ve been very good with abstaining from any new fabric purchases recently and instead saved my money so I can have a major blowout in Birmingham. I will try and grab a few photos on the day and hopefully post my lovely new acquisitions next week. I’m very excited, it’s the perfect treat after the hectic couple of weeks I’ve had! If anyone else is going I’ll be easy to spot, I’ll be the one wearing this dress!
Have you got any suggestions for other good TNT patterns?
22 thoughts on “Simplicity 2444, the flock flower one”
Your changes look great– the fit is really good now. I have this pattern and I want to give it a go next spring. I love the darts/pleats combo.
Thanks Teri, it really is a great pattern, you should definitely give it a go, it is quite a quick make so you should be able to fit it around the little ones nap time! 😊 xx
That looks fabulous- all your adjustments worked and you wear it well- I love goofy photos! The fabric is really pretty, it may well be grey, but it’s got a lot of interesting pattern to it.
I was intrigued to hear about this construction method, as I was thinking of trying that order of putting things together for the next frock on the list of Things To Make. As you say, it makes sense to limit the amount of skirt wrangling necessary!
I haven’t got around to finding a TNT dress pattern yet. This one definitely looks like a good’un.
The constitution method was so much easier, I must have done it last time but forgotten! It always takes me ages trying to attach the skirt in one go as there’s always a seam or dart that is slightly off. I’ll definitely do this again as it was so much quicker!
I love that colour purple! The grey dress is very nice of you! I will have to take a look at that pattern. Thanks for showing it to me!
It really is a great pattern, I love how they have drafted the waist darts, I’d highly recommend giving it a go!
The dress looks great, Helen. I had to give up on 2444 as I just couldn’t get it to work on my figure – or maybe I should say, I couldn’t be bothered to get it to work! Enjoy your meet up – spend lots of money on fabric! :oD
I contemplated doing a FBA in it but decided I didn’t want to mess with the darts. My fitting method generally involves lopping a bit off here and adding a bit there! I may get a bit carried away with the spending on Saturday but I’m sure the family won’t mind living on beans next week! 😉 x
I love your grey fabric! I have this pattern but haven’t got round to making yet – I thought I wasn’t a fan of the full skirt but I have been making more things that shape recently so I may rethink! Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow! I will be wearing a very pink dress!
There’s not too much fullness in the skirt, the pleats at the front and back lie quite flat so there’s not really any bulk at the waist. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, great that we’ll be able to spot each other by what we are wearing! 😉 x
Wow, looks like your fitting changes paid off, cause this baby fits great! I love the fabric too! Great make!
Thanks Heather! I think this is the best fit I’ve had so far, will have to make loads more now I know what I’m doing! X
Hi Helen! Great dress! You are very good at diagnosing issues and finding solutions 😀 I have a question for you… when you buy fabric without a specific project in mind, how much do you buy? I have a very small stash, as I am still a newbie sewer, but the few times that I purchased fabric without a project in mind, I bought 3 yards. What do you usually do? Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Tracy, It is difficult when you find a fabric you like but don’t have a plan in mind! Working in 60inch wide fabric I generally go for 1.5 metres for skirts and t-shirt style tops, 2 metres for sleeveless full skirted dresses, sleeved shift dresses or shirts and 2.5 metres for sleeved full skirted dresses. If it’s 45inch wide then I add a bit more! This is in Metres though, a yard is slightly less than a metre just to confuse matters! I do make larger sizes so if you are more petite you may not need as much! I bought 2.5 metres of 45inch fabric for a Bruyere shirt yesterday, I think I’m half a metre short as my conversion was off (needed 3.25 yards) Hopefully I can rearrange the cutting layout to get it to fit but if not I’m going to use different fabric for the facings and any other bits you can’t see on the outside! If you ever find you’re a little short you can always use a contrasting fabric for pocket linings and facings, I think it can make a nice feature sometimes! I do have a list on my phone of all my patterns and how much fabric they need which is useful. My formula has worked so far although I have cut the occasional piece out on the crossgrain! Hope this helps! Helen x
Love your dress, the style looks lovely on you and you have nailed the fit.
Thanks Sharon, so pleased with the fit, I now have a proper tnt pattern! X
I love this dress, it is perfect for autumn and the fit is perfect on you! I really love the purple one too, the fabric is lovely.
Thanks Jenna, I think it will be getting a lot of wear, glad the tweaks worked! The purple one needs attention but I don’t think I’ll ever get around to it, will probably just wear it with a cardigan to hide the hunchback! 😉