Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I had never paid any attention to Simplicity 2369, even though it is a knit dress. But then I saw the awesome version that KayY wore to PR Weekend Montreal. Loves the overall flattering shape, interesting sleeves, and wrap look with plenty of room for a belly. I picked it up the next time I hit a Simplicity sale.
For my Turkey Travel Wardrobe, I made the short-sleeved dress out of a poly knit purchased from Fabric Mart in June of last year ($3.49/yd). I ended up liking it so much that when I realized it was going to be cooler than expect, I whipped up a long-sleeved top out of some rayon knit purchased in Hong Kong. I brought both pieces with me. Alas, I was only able to wear the dress once but the top got lots of wear.
I altered the pattern with my usual small bust adjustment method of shortening the diagonal wrap line, as well as a swayback adjustment. The swayback on the dress looks better than the top, but I think it is the difference in fabric.
I have a grainline question on swayback adjustment, if anyone can help. This little publication from New Mexico State University is an *awesome* capsule resource for almost every kind of pattern alteration. However, they only show a swayback alteration on a skirt. For a skirt, you fold out your wedge at center back below the waistline. The grainline on the skirt is unchanged and waist tilts down at center back. This has worked well for me on dresses with a back waist seam (I've found I don't need to alter skirts for swayback).
However, the back of this dress is cut as one long piece and I don't know where the grainline goes in that instance. Because this is a knit and grain isn't such a big deal, I just split the difference and redrew (well, re-eyeballed) the grainline so that the altered grainline was evenly distributed and neither the top nor the bottom were on the original grainline (which, after the alteration, is now an obtuse angle of about 160 degrees), as crudely demonstrated on the left. But for a woven, I don't know if this is the way to do it. I have a few woven dresses with one piece backs in mind and would like to clear this up before proceeding! It seems like a bad thing to have either the top or the bottom badly off grain, but perhaps it is worse to have both slightly off grain.
One of the things that attracted me to this pattern is that there appeared to be plenty of fabric over the belly coming out from under the wrap. It is adequately roomy, but I found that the extra fabric wanted to roll away from my belly over the sides, so I did a touch of hand gathering where it is safely covered by the crossover to make sure the extra fabric stayed where I wanted.
For the dress, I liked the roomy elbow length sleeve, though the proportion was too long for my arm so I shortened by folding out two inches between the cutting line for the short sleeve and the elbow length sleeve. The resulting length and width are flattering, I think. For the top, I didn't want that width, nor did I see the need for a two piece sleeve so I combined the top and bottom sleeve patterns, marking a dart where they diverge at the shoulder, and narrowed to a normal sleeve width. The sleeve looks great and I think it's the first raglan sleeve I've made where the dart apex is actually on my shoulder! (I have narrow shoulders and raglan sleeves can be a pain to alter for that.)
The only thing I didn't like about the pattern was the method of attaching the tie. You're supposed to sew the long edge and one short edge of the tie, turn inside out, and then just sew right sides together with the wrap edge. It's fine, but the attachment area is wide enough that when you knot the tie it shows a little and I thought there was a better way.
For the top, I completed the bodice as directed, and then took the unsewn tie piece and folded it over the pleated wrap edge of the bodice, right sides together, with the raw edges of the tie facing down. Then I serged the tie to the bodice along the short edge and sewed it for a few inches along the raw edge, using the serger to trim up to the stitching. I used the sewing machine for the long edge because I didn't want to accidentally catch in the bodice. Then I serged the freestanding short edge (the end of the tie) and along the long edge to within a few inches of my original stitching line. Turn the tie right side out through that opening and then hand-stitch to close. The result is a fully enclosed tie that looks a lot nicer than having the seam allowances hanging out.
To finish the necklines, rather than use the facing strip (sooooo much better than a shaped facing as used for wovens, which is what most knit patterns have so kudos to Simplicity) I turned under and twin-needled over clear elastic.
I'm really happy I gave this pattern a shot. I think it is flattering for a large variety of body types, and is fairly simple to make. I also like that it's seasonless (once you draft a long sleeve for it). I will have to try the buckle closure at some point.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.