Thursday, February 12, 2009

Simplicity 3775 and the Magical Ruched Midriff

Artistic PoseSide


































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.

BlueGreenSide 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.

24 comments:

senaSews said...

You're so right. This dress and especially the midriff are winners! I love your fall version with the pink fabric. Very cute!

Claudine said...

That's so cute! I love bias plaid.

Beth Conky said...

That is so darn cute. I want to copy that idea for my 22 year old daughter. She would love it. You're very creative.

Dawn said...

I know from your podcasts that you think you have a "belly". Yea, right.

sewducky said...

Very cute and very flattering on you!

Elaray said...

The dress looks very good on you. It must be nice to have a waist!

BTW, did you win the best photos when PR had the contest? If not, you should have. I really like your photos.

Rachel said...

That plaid dress is so gorgeous and looks so good with you hair. I love the bias cut plaid on the midriff.

Lindsay T said...

Very nice! Really shows off your cute figure. I'd make this dress if I could underline the ruching area with Spanx material.

Little Hunting Creek said...

This is one cute dress, and you're right! The ruching is magical. It makes you look thinner and taller and that color is very good on you too. It looks totally different from the first dress

elizabethe said...

This dress looks AWESOME on you! These colors esp. look so flattering they really really light up your face, it's just stunning.

I never seem to have such good luck at the 2.97 table at G street as you do. You've inspired me to try harder.

neighbourhood.gal said...

It's darling! And you look like you enjoy it so much! I'll have to find a copy of this pattern for later (when I have overcome my fear of knits). I still have a shirtdress to make first...

Vicki said...

What flattering dresses! The fall one is very clever too with the alterations.

Marita said...

Hey Trena, your dress is lovely and that color combo is so delicious:-)

AllisonC said...

Great use of the pattern to create two really different looks. Very flattering on you - I just don't believe all the midriff magic is coming from the dress though!

Jill B said...

Wow, I like it and I like the colors! Great job!

-E said...

Ok, I'm finally a believer. I have had those ruched midriff doubts on this, too. Your version is awesome- love the piping and the sleeve ruffles :)

ruth said...

you look so adorable in both of your dresses. this pattern really deserves its popularity. you are saying you went to G street and spent only $6??? i love that $2.97 table too...and i can't really grasp buying 2 or 3 yards and leaving. good for you!

Be Grim said...

You're right about the midriff ruching doing wonders. I have a commercial dress I bought on sale with midriff ruching, that is quite flattering (I've much more belly than you!), and have been wanting to sew a similar version up in in a fabric I like. You're inspiring me!

Anwen said...

Wow, that is fabulous! It's one of the nicest dresses I've seen lately, and I've looked at a lot of nice dresses!

Lisette M said...

I like your new version of this pattern very much. I have a few finds from the $2.97 table at G street....

Paulette said...

Lovely dress...I really like and you are quite lovely w/out your glasses!!

Anonymous said...

The dress is great, but way too light in feeling for the boots. Ditch the clunkers.

Isabelle said...

This is the best version of this pattern I've ever seen! You look fabulous.

Meetzorp said...

The plaid is cute as heck. I've been reluctant to try the midriff panel myself (have made two different versions of this dress both w/o the ruching). I will have to try it out, because it doesn't seem to add undue bulk, which was my concern.

I'm really actually curious to try the looped sash. It may feature the next time I make up this dress.