Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of excitement around the Dressmaker’s Ball, an event that’s being hosted by Crafty Sew & So in Leicester on 12 May. Over at the Simple Sew blog team this excitement has culminated in a month of party dresses made from Simple Sew patterns.
When it was time for me to pick a pattern, I knew I wanted something that could be turned quite easily from a day to day staple into something that shouted red carpet (although not literally, of course!) and I think I found it.
A lot of the time my work wear is the same as my rest of the time wear; it’s one of the joys of both working in the arts and (mainly) working from home. It means I get to spend most days wearing dresses I love with the added bonus of vomit jumpers on days working from home.
Whilst dressmaking has really added to this ability, my most recent make for the Simple Sew bloggers network has bucked this trend somewhat, as – despite it’s cute vintage stylings – it really could count as “office wear”.
What is it?
A tailored shift dress with three quarter length sleeves and a contrast peter pan collar
Is it blue?
What’s the fabric and where’s it from?
The body of the dress is made using an adorable navy floral print cotton poplin that was very kindly supplied by Abakhan for this make. The collar also came from Abakhan and is a super soft cream coloured viscose. What’s the pattern?
The first thing to say is that this dress was super easy to sew up. I made a toile first to check for bust fit after the issues I had with Ruby, and once I’d made some minor adjustments it went up in hardly any time.
In addition, although I’m not sure if good is the right word, this dress did push me out of my comfort zone due it’s sixties styling; whilst I love classic details, the sixties aren’t usually a decade that I look to for inspiration as I tend to find that the styles just don’t suit me. Making this dress has helped change that assumption somewhat (although I doubt I’ll be emulating Twiggy any time soon!).
What was bad about making it?
For some reason I couldn’t get the collar to stay put at the back, although that was fixed with a bit of invisible stitching. I found I had to make a really thin hem on the dress, which might have been a design feature (the 60s were all about the mini after all) but I think might be more to do with a combination of my height and personal preference to not show my bottom to the world! Would you make it again?
Hmmmm….. So I think I might be a bit swayed towards the sixties aesthetic, but I’m not sure I’d make this dress again without making a few tweaks first. There’s also a couple of other similar but different dresses out there which I might give a try. Or maybe I’ll just go back to my usual fit and flare style. Only time will tell. (And Instagram. Instagram always tells.)
Disclaimer: whilst the Trudy pattern was provided by Simple Sew Patterns and the fabric generously provided by Abakhan, I received no other forms of payment for this blog post and the opinions expressed are my own.
I was really excited back in the summer to be invited to take part in the Simple Sew Blogger’s team. This is a fabulously talented group of sewists, each of whom brings their own unique take on the range of patterns that Simple Sew produce.
When it came to be time to make my first pattern, I had my eye on Ruby, and was lucky enough to get to give it a go. You can read my tutorial for sewing Ruby on the Simple Sew blog here, but I thought I’d stick with my usual style for this post (what can I say, I’m a creature of habit!)
What is it?
A boat necked, fitted bodice dress with a circle skirt.
Is it blue?
What’s the fabric and where’s it from?
The fabric is a heavy weight crepe I bought from the rag market for £1/m. I’d originally planned to make a Sew Over It Betty dress and whilst this pattern is slightly different (mainly down to the shorter skirt), it seemed like a great choice for the Ruby instead.
I love how swooshy this dress is, so getting to dance about in the garden was pretty awesome. It was great as a way to help me get over my, not fear, but ambivalence towards circle skirts. I’ve always thought they’re a bit too much hassle than they’re worth, hence my preference for a gathered skirt, but there is something nice about the way this lies that makes me think I should give them another go.
I also really like the fact that, because I made this in a plain fabric (I know! What was I thinking?!) I was able to get away with much less fabric than I expected as pattern matching wasn’t a thing. At all. Which was pretty dreamy in itself.
I tried to get Pickle to pose with me. She was having none of it.
What was bad about making this?
Hmm. So there were a couple of things that I found less fun with this pattern. Slightly strangely (or at least, slightly strange based on the patterns I’ve sewn previously), this pattern didn’t give body measurements, just finished measurements, with no indication of how much ease is given. So I had to guess my size based on what I’d expect based on my experience of similar patterns. I guessed correctly for my stomach, but it turns out that they draft these patterns for women who are slightly more …. well endowed … than I am.
It’s actually kinda funny when you think about it…
Oh sod subtlety. They draft for women with bigger boobs than me, which meant that I had a perfectly fitting dress apart from 6 inches in the middle where the fabric sagged something rotten. I managed to fix it by putting in some super darts that were pretending to be princess seams, but it’s not a fantastic fix.
I also had to put a pleat in the centre front of the skirt as although I staystitched the pieces, the skirt stretched out of shape slightly, so this was the best way to save it.
That v-back in all its glory
Would you make it again?
So I love the v-back to this dress, and the waist fit, and the neckline and the swoosh of the skirt, but that bust has put me off. I know I should just suck it up and learn how to do a small bust allowance, but, well I’m scared. Once I get over myself I think I probably will make it again, but until then, I think this might be one to chalk up to experience.
On the plus side, it does look pretty fabulous with a petticoat underneath, so maybe I’ll change my mind!