Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simplicity 2360, The First Flutters of Spring

Simplicity 2360 Thumbnail

The girls in DC had the clever idea of wearing their filmy Spring dresses all winter with a cardigan over and tights underneath. I thought it was a brilliant idea. It worked because the colors of the dresses they were wearing were muted neutrals. I don't think my bright color palate would work as well. I wouldn't know a neutral if it bit me on the nose. Plus, it looks better with pumps than boots, so that lets me out--I never wear heels and I need boots to keep me warm. However, it did get me thinking about starting Spring a little early. The black in this print helps it work with opaque black tights and black mary janes. With a sweater over top I can bust out the filmy, fluttery dresses of Spring a few weeks early. Take that, Punxsutawney Phil!

I bought this fabric in Spain, while hanging out with the wonderful Paco Peralto Rovira in Barcelona. It is a polyester print, not so much a special fabric as a special memory.

Simplicity 2360 caught my eye at the end of last summer--it's sort of a woven version of the Simplicity 2554 flounce tee I made and loved last year--so I tucked it away for this Spring. Once I decided to use my Spain fabric for it I got so impatient! Especially as our Australian sewing sisters were merrily making it up in adorable prints (Exhibit A from powderpuff) over their summer while I bundled and froze. I really must find a way to live half the year in the US and half in Australia so that it is always summer. Or move to a tropical island, I guess that would be easier. That whole "making a living" thing really cramps my style in that respect.

This is a really easy pattern. It would be a great 3rd or 4th project for a beginner (assuming an easy way to finish the ruffle: serger, closely spaced zigzag, or lightweight fabric that can be doubled by cutting out two sets of ruffles and sewing right sides together at the outer edge). It is not fitted and has no closure, but it doesn't look dowdy/homemade-y and is right on trend with the ruffles.

I took a small SBA on the side piece as per usual for a princess seam, but this unfitted dress did not need that much tweaking in that area; actually, I find in general that shoulder princess seams do not need as much SBA adjusting.

Turn Folded Edge of Bias Tape to Front As directed by the pattern, I used a bias strip to finish the neckline. I will observe that bias does not mean much to a polyester charmeuse. The fabric also doesn't ease and the neckline binding has some wrinkling around the curves. I folded my bias strip in half, lined up the raw edges of the strip with the raw neckline on the inside and stitched at a 1/4" seam. Then I turned the folded edge over to the outside and topstitched in place. This makes so much more sense than first sewing to the outside of the neck and then trying to stitch in the ditch from the front side and catch in the folded edge on the wrong side. So much easier. I don't know why patterns always have you do it the hard way. Here's the finished neckline, inside and out.

Seam Finish for Skirt The dress is lined/underlined with an Ikea Knoppa sheet, my go to $1.99 source for cotton/poly batiste. The bodice is lined. I constructed the lining separately and then sewed it right sides together with the dress at the shoulder edges for a clean finish. Since the shoulder edges are covered by a ruffle and this created some problems given the different ways in which the fashion fabric and lining fabric behave, next time I will just hem the two edges together. I then treated the lining and fashion fabric as one at the neckline.

For the skirt, I underlined with the sheet. My polyester charmeuse is sure to exercise unfathomable powers of static cling on hot days and I wanted to tame that as much as possible. It adds stiffness to the skirt and it sticks out a little too much in an A line, but I still think it is better than the staticky alternative. I hadn't thought far enough ahead to do a full faux Hong Kong finish, which requires that the underlining be cut 5/8" wider than the fashion fabric. So I did a faux faux Hong Kong finish, sewing the fashion fabric and underlining right sides together along the long vertical seams of the skirt and then turning right side out.

I lined the skirt with rayon satin as I knew I'd want to wear tights with the dress occasionally and tights would stick to the cotton/poly batiste.

I cut out the side seam pockets but forgot to actually put them in because I was so focused on the seam finish.

For fitting at the waist, you are meant to turn the waist seam into a casing for elastic. I left openings in the waist seam at CF and did a drawstring (two fashion fabric strings with a generous cut of elastic in the middle) closure. Next time I will just do the regular casing and put a fake, removable bow on the outside so I can also use a belt over the elastic waistband.

I used the serger to finish the outer edge of the ruffle.

Slapdash Front Bodice Length AdjustmentThis dress is definitely not my best work. I was not consistent in choosing my right side for the French seams of the bodice lining, so the seam allowance is on the outside at the princess seams. The poly charmeuse grew at the neckline and so I sort of arbitrarily trimmed it to match the underlining, but I didn't do a great job of matching them up so the outer layer is a different shape than the inner, creating some wrinkling. And then there is the bodice length.

I have a long torso and never need to adjust bodice length, even though I am short. On this pattern, the waist is elasticized and I think the bodice is meant to blouse over the waist a little bit. I didn't like the length of the front bodice, finding it a touch too long. I didn't want to have to undo the thousands of layers of stitching and serging at the waistline (bodice, skirt, skirt lining, and casing) so I just folded out some bodice length above the seam and hand-stitched it in place. It totally shows on the outside as a fold above the waist seam.

Saks.com - Cynthia Steffe - Zola Ruffled Silk Dress



Lest you fear ruffles have gone out of fashion--they have been having quite a long run this time--check out this Cynthia Steffe dress. The ruffles run all the way to the hm and it uses colorblocking, but the styles are almost identical. Hers is silk, and costs $295. Discount for my use of polyester, and I'm still doing pretty well, I think!

Front


I wore this for St. Patrick's Day with my ubiquitous Burda turtleneck underneath. I was so thrilled to sneak in a warm weather dress!

I am so into this pattern, though more as a top than a dress--an elastic waist does not do a whole lot for me. I always sigh over beautiful silk charmeuse prints but never know what to do with them. Next time I find one I just have to have I will indulge and make a top using this pattern.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

29 comments:

Amanda S. said...

Very cute and perfect for spring! I picked this pattern out for a friend that I'm teaching to sew, thinking it would be easy but still stylish. However, hemming those ruffles is not at all a beginner task, and I had to do that part for her. Hopefully hers turns out as nicely as yours did.

Rachelle said...

The dress looks lovely on you, but I'm finding that the print of the fabric is making the ruffle detail disappear a little. Still, it works wonderfully! Very spring-y and fun!

Kudos!

wendy said...

Really cute! I love that print, and it fits SO nicely!

Elizabeth said...

What a great dress! Sometimes it takes looking at other people making patterns that you simply pass by, to give them a try. I can see all kinds of possibilities with this one!

Alexandra said...

Yay! Very cute! I made this dress two weeks ago. It's too cold to wear it but I wanted to make something without worrying about fit. I am short, too, but I had read that the pattern was short-waisted, so I risked making it without any adjustments. Like you, I find the blousiness above the elastic waist to be a bit much.

There are 2 things I think that make this dress a tad difficult for a beginner: 1. the recommended drapey/slinky fabric and, 2. finishing the edges of the flounces. I haven't been sewing long and refuse to venture into slippery fabrics, so I used a lightweight cotton. I think it worked - but I wasn't sure it would. I also don't have a serger, so I bought a rolled-hem foot for the flounces. It worked well enough for my standards but was fairly time consuming and tricky on those curves pieces.

Farah said...

great version of this pattern. that print is just lovely. I made the same dress in the fall for a wedding out of a cotton voile, and although I wore it as is for the wedding, i found that after the event i preferred to wear it with a wide leather belt covering up the elastic casing. Just a though to give you more variations...
It is a fantastic dress...

Lindsay T said...

There is a designer dress currently in Macy's Herald Square windows that looks just like this pattern. Very wonderful and I love it on you. Definitely make it in a pretty charmeuse print. Chic Fabrics is calling you!

NancyDaQ said...

Very cute! Charming print and pattern.

Irene said...

Very "Spring". Very charming. Love the fabric.

montanachic said...

Cute! You know your blog isn't good for my budget, I am always wanting to buy the patterns you make :)

McVal said...

LOVE the ruffles! So feminine!

Karin said...

Fun dress! A really pretty print too! Nice to see how a a faux Hong Kong finish is done.

Adelaide B said...

That is a really cute style on you. I am afraid spring will never come to Seattle, so I have been busting out my dresses with tights and a cardigan. I can't live in winter clothes any more! (The temp is around 50 or so, but it is gray gray gray. I love living here, but need spring soon.)

Little Hunting Creek said...

What a pretty dress! I love the print. I wish it were warm!!

paco peralta said...

Que recuerdos Trena...!!! Me encanta el modelo. Un abrazo desde Barcelona..

catspec said...

Love the dress...please do a blog on the shoes you wear! :)

KarenP said...

So cute - I love the print! I have trouble pulling off Spring dresses in Winter too, but you managed to do it with this dress.

toy said...

super cute print!

Cyn said...

This is such a cute dress for Spring! I agree it would work really well with a belt. Even with the tie, you might be able to wear it with a belt if it were wide enough.

We are having a little heat wave in the SF Bay Area right now, but I know it will be rainy again soon.

littlebetty said...

Looking great - I hemmed my ruffles on the serger with a rolled hum. Much easier and much quicker. I love the bold print you used.

Rachel said...

I made this dress last year, but did not elasticise the waist. I found hemming the flounces ridiculously difficult and ended up having to re-cut one side and start over. Luckily I had enough fabric. I used a silk-satin, which made the flounces sit beautifully. I think if the dress was made without the flounces it would be an easy beginner frock - no fitting, simple lines etc.

gwensews said...

Sweet dress! The print reminds me of--atoms!

Su said...

Awww.... that's a very pretty dress. I like how it looks over the sweater and tights too

Rose said...

What a lovely dress! Thank you for the tip about the Ikea sheets. I have several pieces of fabric (cotton and cotton blends that are on the thin side and the batiste sheets look like a great solution.

Rose in SV

Faye Lewis said...

Very lovely. I love the difference that underlining makes.

Joy said...

Oh - I like your idea for a batiste source.

It's a lovely, springy dress and those Mary Janes are darling!

Mrs. Micawber said...

What an adorable dress. The ruffles really suit you (lucky you--I love ruffles but they don't go with my build). I love bright colours, too. When my husband and I went to London last March, every single person there was wearing a black coat and a neutral scarf. My coat was spring-green, with a vivid lilac scarf. Bright colours may not be trendy, but they make me happy. Keep wearing them!

Stevie said...

I am making this in a really slippery sateen fabric and I'm worried about the ruffles... Your version looks great!

urkye said...

This dress is so cute! I'm under impression how often you sew :)