Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Dress - Simplicity 2444

I feel like I've been living in the past on this blog so far (I mean, way back like 4 months ago when I was a wee sewing newbie as opposed to the vastly wiser sewing beginner that I am now).  So even though I have like a gajillion (more like 15) pre-blog projects to chronicle here, I thought I would show something I just completed so that you know how much better I have gotten and will hopefully continue reading this blog.  I'm better, I promise!  I make more than aprons and purses!

This pattern is everywhere!  I have seen so many completed versions of it and they are all beautiful!  I was inspired by Cynthia's version at Dapper Duds because it really caught my eye with the Chevron stripes and involved the right amount of "let-me-take-a-simple-pattern-and-make-my-life-more-difficult" that I seem to gravitate towards recently. (I did the same thing with the McCalls tank maxi dress that is everywhere because why make something that is only two pieces when you can turn it into 5 AND mess up and run out of fabric thus making it not a maxi but a mini?  Blog post coming eventually...)  I cut out a size 6 and I think that was probably the best choice because although it was a bit snug without a zipper (since it was all bias cut, it was just stretchy enough to wiggle into without one, SCORE!), I just made 3/8 seam allowances instead of 5/8 and it is fine so I think an 8 would have been a bit big.

Sidenote: I have really gone through quite a sizing journey over the last few months.  Packaging said I should be a 12, but after making a couple of things in that size I could have fit 2 of me in there, so I started using the finished measurements and usually fit somewhere between a 6 and an 8. I have a couple of things that fit at a 10, so really what I'm saying is I still have no idea about sizing.  Don't listen to me.  This was a wasted sidenote.

I found this fake silk fabric on clearance at Hancock Fabrics and I knew that this was the right project for the stripes (AND it could be patriotic!  Go USA!  Or whatever).

I really like the way this dress turned out and the pattern (if unmodified) seems like a really simple, tried-and-true dress that I will probably make again.  I butchered the hell out of it though and I didn't even use the instructions a single time (what a daredevil I am, taking so many risks) so I have no idea how clear they were.  I basically cut out each piece on a single layer, none of them on the fold, painstakingly trying to match the stripes to make the V shape, and then I immediately sewed each new piece as I went along.

I think I did a pretty good job (pat myself on the back).  I already knew after reading Cynthia's blog post that the darts and pleats kind of mess up the stripes, but I honestly had no idea how to plan for that so it is what it is.  It really doesn't bug me that much, especially since I was able to match pretty well everywhere else.  This fabric really didn't have very good long-term memory for pressing, so hemming was a beast.  I tried to do a blind hem, which is always kind of hit or miss for me anyway, and it didn't really turn out how I wanted it to, but I actually kind of like the contrast that I got along the bottom.  Am I crazy?  Does it not look good?  Am I just trying to convince myself that I like it so that I don't feel compelled to rip it out and try again (I must be doing a great job because I really think I like it!).  The one area I am not thrilled with is the neck because I made it into a V-neck (which I like!) and that made it more difficult to finish.  I used bias tape as a binding and it's a little wonky in spots, but maybe I should have drafted a facing?  I don't know.  I'm trying to ignore it.

I love how full the skirt is!  It also passes the spinning test and is very flowy (when I was little, I used to call dresses "stick out dresses" if I could spin and they would twirl nicely).  I really liked the fabric and aside from how easily it frayed it was easy to sew if I used a thin needle (80/11 as opposed to 90/14...I point this out because I am notorious for not thinking about those little details).  Cutting so many pieces on the bias also helped keep the fraying at bay.

I highly recommend this pattern!  It's so versatile because you make it as is or it provides a really good jumping-off point for other ideas.


  1. This dress looks nice! I think I'll make it too :)
    Happy 4th!

    1. Thank you so much! You totally should! It came out exactly how I pictured in my mind, which is always surprising to me (my mind can be a scary place!)

  2. Nice job on your dress - love what you've done with the stripes.

    1. Thank you, Robyn! I definitely made things more difficult, but I'm happy with the results.

  3. I think your stripe work is fabulous.

  4. Oooooh, how cute! I like this more than mine. Great job

  5. I almost bought that exact fabric last time I was at hancock, but decided i'm not ready for all that stripe matching yet. Yours looks great and now i'm wanting to go back and get the fabric. I LOVE how you made the stripes go into a chevron

  6. This dress is gorgeous! I love the hem as well, and I love that you made it into a v-neck! I saw that same fabric at hancocks and was so close to buying it. It feels amazing! However, the fabric content wasn't listed - it just said polyester blend, and I'm not willing to go through a Texas summer with a polyester dress. Oh well. It looks gorgeous on you! Great job!

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