Sunday, February 6, 2011

Simplicity 5511 Dress: Liberty Marylebone Version

You got a sneak peek of this version from my post about Yukari (my new dress form). This is another version of the Simplicity 5511 dress made from floral fabric from the Liberty of London Marylebone collection. This is quilting cotton not super soft cotton lawn print that they are famous for. I was worried my fabric would be very stiff, but it came out a bit softer after I watched it. Don't get me wrong. I should choose a drapier fabric for next time. Something that gathers nicely like challis, voile? Any suggestions??

Back View
This dress was my first attempt to modify the pattern and it almost ended up a disaster. First, I decided after making the blue version that the bodice needed to be taken in a bit since I had about 3 inches of fabric sticking out on both sides. I thought "okay lets take out two inches and it should fit better." WRONG.. Wasn't until later that I realized taking an inch off each side of the bodice pieces would take out four inches overall. Front bodice was cut on the fold so taking one inch from the side would end up with two inches removed from the front pattern piece, but I forgot that if also took an inch from the side of the back bodice piece and ended up with an additional two inches removed. I realized why they say that if you want to take in your pattern by a certain amount that you divide that amount by four and that would be amount you take from each side of your pattern piece. DUHHH!! *Smacks forehead.* The experienced novice strikes again. In other words. If I wanted to take two inches off my bodice than I should have taken my pattern in by 0.5 inches on the sides for each piece (2 inches / 4 = 0.5 inches).

Luckily, the bodice fit perfectly and would have probably made a nice strapless dress (maybe next project), but I had to sew my dress using a 1/4 seam allowance. Not so good! I will need to be careful when wearing this dress since I can accidentally split the side seams.

Another dumb thing I did was alter the gathered skirt since I thought it was a bit too gathered and made me look bigger than I was. So in order to make it less gathered I took my pattern in by two inches, which equaled four inches overall. This resulted in a less gathered skirt, but I wasn't really careful when spreading the gathering evenly. You'll notice if you look closely that a lot of the gathering ended up on the side. Very counter intuitive. I did like the overall shape that resulted from my mistakes. I'm sure this is probably just a happy accident, but at least I ended up with a wearable product.

Lastly, my ultimate fail is adding a ruffle to the hem of my dress. You'll probably wonder whats wrong with that. The problem is that I made the ruffle using the selvage (sealed) edge of my fabric because I didn't want to go through the hassle of finishing my ruffle edge. The ruffle made my hem hang in the most awkward and rather unflattering way. I had wondered why my dress was puffing out on the sides when I was wearing it since it draped nicely when it was on Yukari. I asked my mom and told her what I did and she said it was probably the ruffle. I guess I should have cut my ruffle on the bias or made my dress wider on the bottom. I was so proud of myself when I did the ruffle too. So this ends my list of fails for this dress.

So here are my lessons learned:
  1. If I need to take in the sides I need to remember to divide the total amount I want to take in by four. The calculated amount will be what is removed from the sides of the pattern.
  2. Remember to spread the gathers evenly or you might end up with some awkward draping.
  3. Adding ruffles to the bottom of your dress may alter the way the hem hangs. Of course this all depends on your fabric and the design of the dress. 
Hand Sewn Facings
Other than that sewing this dress was a breeze and I even hand sewed the facings on the inside. I will definitely remake this dress again, but with a little more thought on the tailoring.