Monday, March 5, 2012

Simplicity 2444: Floral Sweetheart Dress

Behold. My floral sweetheart dress that was made using the bodice from Simplicity 2444. I wanted to make sure the bodice fit perfectly before I actually cut into my real fabric so I made a wearable muslin using some leftover floral fabric that came from a disastrous 2nd attempt at Simplicity 7500, which will not be posted about here. Too bad! I don't even want to remember that attempt.

I was lucky enough to have enough fabric from my previous disaster to make the bodice. Sadly I didn't have enough fabric to cut a lining. I ended up finishing the neckline and arm holes using some red bias tape.

What am I looking at?
I did manage to also salvage the skirt from my disaster, but it was bit short. Oh well. Make lemonade out lemons right?? I also managed to not match up my piping in the back. Does anyone know how to do that? It always seems off every time I add piping to the waist seam.

Pattern Review (The Pros): Simplicity 2444 is one of those Project Runway inspired patterns, which means it has a lot of options for customization. I decided to work with the bodice first before tackling the full dress, but I wanted to also have something to wear. I cut out the sleeveless bodice, but used a self drafted gathered skirt that I rescued from my Simplicity 7500 2nd attempt. I think a different skirt option would be better since the gathered skirt doesn't really look that good on me. Overall, I love the bodice pattern (with lots of changes) and can't wait to make the full dress version using the bodice and skirt pieces.

The Cons: I don't think its the patterns fault that I have such wacked out body measurements. According to the finished measurements on the back I should be size 14 on top with a size 16 bottom with a size 20 waist. I know I know. Really need to do some crunches or something. Unfortunately I ended with a lot of ease despite the recommendations. Like that hasn't happened before? *Rolls eyes!*

Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes. At least the bodice portion did although you can't see the dart detail because of the busyness of the floral pattern.

Do you need to make adjustments? Oh yeah. As I mentioned previously because of my supposed sizing according to Simplicity. I cut out a size 14 bodice and graded it (using a french curve) to a 20 waist. I also shortened the width of the four darts in the front bodice and two darts in the back bodice from two inches to one inch and basted the side seams at 1/2 inch. The bodice ended up being enormous on me. What a fool I am. Hahaha! So I ended up resewing all the darts at their original two inch widths for both front and back and sewing the side seams at 7/8 inches and the zipper seam at 5/8 inches and now the bodice fits perfectly. I guess I could grade my bodice to a size 18 or even a 16 waist, but may not since the bodice fits. As long as I remember what I did.

Another adjustment I made was to use store bought red single fold bias tape to finish the neckline and arm holes since I didn't have enough fabric to line it. The seam allowance was 5/8 so I subtracted 1/2 inch (width of my bias tape) from it and ended up with 1/4 inch. The 1/4 inch was what I cut off from the neckline and arm hole openings before I sewed on the bias tape. I read about this technique in one of my books. So far I like how it turned out.

I also basted some red piping at the waist and attached a gathered skirt, which was finished with some matching red double fold bias tape. Last, but not least was a red invisible zipper for the bodice. Phew! lots of adjustments. I hope to use the skirt piece that came with the pattern when I remake this dress.

Pattern Level: Intermediate. At least with all the adjustments I made. I have a feeling that people will have a to do a bit of bodice adjustment to get the fit correct. Plus if you have no experience in lining a dress (raises hand) than I'm sure that will be a learning experience since the pattern instruction doesn't really tell you how to do it while inserting a zipper. I was actually referencing my Colette sewing book, which happens to have instructions and pictures on how to add a lining and a zipper.

What could I have done better? Everything. Hahaha. I also need to figure out how to align my piping. Maybe someone out there can give me tips.

Would you sew this pattern again? Already working on it. Got the fabric ready and will hopefully be cutting into it real soon.

Pattern: Simplicity 2447 purchased from Joanns

FabricCotton fabric from Fabric Mart.

Techniques: Darts, bias tape on neckline and armholes, invisible zipper, piping and self drafted gathered skirt.