Monday, February 7, 2011

Simplicity 8723 from 1970: Finished

Alright! Another finished project. This time without even making a muslin for it. Above is my completed Simplicity 8723 from 1970.

Simplicity 8723 circa 1970
The pattern is for a simple A-line shift dress with a square collar, bust and neck darts and a back zipper.

Here is the picture of the back.

And a close up of the zipper.
 Again sorry for the bad pictures. I was too lazy to iron the dress and I was playing with my Canon's ISO settings and all this blah, blah, blah camera stuff that I am still learning.

Pattern Review (The Pros): This is a Simplicity Jiffy pattern that has three main pieces (front, back and sleeves). Also there are pattern pieces for the front and back collar facings and the armhole facing. My intention was to make the shift dress with the sleeves to practice my set in sleeve technique.

The Cons: I wanted to tailor my dress to be a bit more fitted since the traditional shift dresses are notoriously shapeless. So I ended up taking out the seam allowance to take in the dress. This led to a lot of problems since I overestimated how much I needed to take off to make the dress fit. Thankfully I basted the dress sides and tried it on before I actually sewed it. I realized I could sew the dress using a 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8 to get the dress to fit me correctly. Also I thought the sleeve pattern was too tight on the sleeve hem so I took my mom's advice and added an inch to the sleeve pattern by cutting the sleeve pattern in half and separating it by an inch and redrawing the pattern. Bad move! Should've consulted the Readers Digest Sewing book first before I did the alteration. My sleeve alteration made it impossible to set it in to the armsyche. I ended up having sleeves that looked like they came from the traditional Filipino dresses worn by Imelda Marcos. Just like this only worse:

You see Imelda's face. Imelda is saying "You did what!?" That is what happens when a novice thinks she knows how to alter a pattern.

Did it come out like the pattern picture? Uhmmm..Yes, although it is a bit more fitted and I'm missing the sleeve and ended up just folded the edges over and sewing the armsyche that way instead of making the facing. I was too lazy and disappointed to finish my dress properly. My last con had to do with my fabric choice. Seems like my choice in fabrics can really suck sometimes. My favorite saying is "it was a good idea at the time." The embroidery/stitching on my cotton fabric kept catching on my sewing machine's teeth so the fabric would feed differently and made matching the edges really hard. The fabric was also very tightly woven and I guess I should've chosen a thinner needle or maybe used a walking foot. If anyone has ideas on how to fix this then let me know?

Do you need to make adjustments? Yes. Please see cons.

Pattern Level: Experienced Novice. You'll be sewing darts, facings and inserting a zipper. Inserted my second invisible zipper. Will be a bit harder if you decide to add the sleeve, but don't let my experience scare you away from sleeves. I used to be scared with inserting zippers and now I don't think twice about adding them. You will need to practice and I would suggest practicing with a muslin, which I am going to do.

What could I have done better?  I could've done a better job with altering the dress to make it fit. I also should have consulted my Readers Digest Sewing book before making the alterations on the sleeve pattern. Actually I should've done that even before I thought it was a good idea to remove the seam allowance. I completely forgot about things like design ease, being able to move, to breath or walk when I altered the dress.

Would you sew this pattern again? Of course. I am actually thinking of making this dress out of muslin so that I can practice my alterations and set in sleeve technique. I like the finished product, but would like to make sure I do my alterations correctly without messing up the armsyche and sleeve pattern. I am hoping to make the dress version with a sleeve. So wish me luck.

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 8723 from 1970 bought on Etsy.
Fabric: Cotton with stitched flowers from Fabric
Techniques: Zipper insertion, darts, facings, underlining, (failed) set-in sleeves and hand sewing.