Before I made up Simplicity 3775 for Spring I was skeptical of the wide midriff. Although the under-bust seam goes along with the popular empire line right now, the midriff is much longer than the 3 or 4 inch bands that are mostly seen in ready to wear and I worried that it would look dowdy or just off.
When it made the Best Patterns of 2007, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I definitely wanted the surplice neckline style as the crew neck does not work for me (though I've seen modifications to be a boatneck or scoopneck that make it very cute). It was a smashing success! It's very flattering and easy to wear. The midriff ruching hides a multitude of sins.
This was one of the knit dresses I took with me to Vietnam. When I was staying in Da Nang the only other English-speaker in my hotel was a British travel writer, so we hung out a bit. One day when I was wearing this dress we went to a convenience store to see if I could find any yogurt. He was quite a bit older than me and the convenience store lady kind of tsked at me for having a boyfriend/husband so much older than me. I tried to explain "just friends" but that's a difficult concept to convey across a language barrier. Then she put her hands on either side of my waist and gave me the thumbs up. That means the same in any language! The midriff ruching is magical, I tell you.
I figured I should add a fall version to my wardrobe. When I got back from Paris in November I had to stay awake because I was meeting up with some fellow sewists in Philly at the weekend and I needed immediately to get back onto Eastern Standard Time. I chose this project to keep me awake. I used a plaid knit from the $2.97/yd table at G Street and the contrast bits are leftover from my Patrones Calvin Klein Dress.
Changes: -I cut the midriff overlay on the bias to get a cute effect. -I piped (just a folded strip of fabric) above and below the midriff. I did a slapdash job of it and it's much narrower under the right boob than the left; I just haven't had the inclination to go in and fix it. -I added a band an inch wide (2 inches with seam allowances) to the bottoms of the sleeves. -Added sleeve puffs. I cut them 1 1/2 times as long as the sleeve opening and 10 inches wide. I put a stripe of tulle on the inside to help them keep their shape. I wish I has used the technique from BWOF 10-2008-117 of offsetting the inner hem (i.e., rather than folding directly in half, pin the corresponding mark on the inner hem one inch off from the corresponding mark on the outer hem) to give more of a twist and a bubble. The downside of serger construction is that just ain't going to happen. I have ripped out serged seams plenty of times, alas, but I don't relish it.
This pattern is still a keeper! All photos are here and the review is here.