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?