Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Simplicity 2615, Prison Matron Chic

S2615 Thumbnail

Pattern Review is having its Knock-Off Contest, which is one I always enjoy so I wanted to get in on the action. I chose this Derek Lam dress as my inspiration. When I first looked at the Derek Lam, it appeared to be a match for Simplicity 2615. However, when I went back to look at it, I saw that it is actually a wrap dress (at least to the waist), though Saks erroneously described it as "V neck." Further, the neckline is created by bands and the dress is gathered into the bands. However, at that point I had already cut out the Simplicity Pattern and wasn't in the mood to do a complicated knockoff so I just stuck with what I had.

Front Opening The pattern is designed with a center front seam, which is left unsewn to the neck opening. I don't much care for the look of a center front seam, so I cut the CF on the fold. I thread traced the centers front of the facing and the dress, then lined up the centers and sewed a V to create the front opening. It took me a couple of tries to get it perfectly placed, but in the end I am happy with the opening. The fabric is very lightweight and I did not interface the neck opening on the dress, which was a mistake. I had to retrofit some interfacing into the corners on the dress.

Clean Finish Facing As with my 1946 dress, I used Beth of Sunny Gal Studios' clean finish technique for the facing. It involves sewing the interfacing to the facing, right sides together, along the outer edge. Then you flip the interfacing to the wrong side and fuse in place. This time I sewed the shoulder seams of the facing and interfacing separately. I trimmed the interfacing shoulder seam to within 1/8 inch of the seamline. It creates such a neat finish! If you have to have a facing (and I hate them for their floppy ways), this eases the pain a little.

Side View With Obi This dress is truly a bust. I like the pockets, but that's about it. The combination of gray color, the pattern forming a horizontal stripe, and the unfitted style all add up to Prison Matron Chic.

I tried to add a little interest to the sleeves by adding epaulet tabs. The tabs have lace on them and I sewed a decorative button at the top (the tabs are permanently sewn on). But maybe the military reference just makes the prison matron look even more pronounced.

Dressing it up with a colorful obi and statement necklaces likewise fizzles.

I do not finish 100% of the projects I start, but UFOs are not a problem for me. In this case, I wish I could have been able to just call it on this project and throw it away. But I felt compelled to finish it and spent way too long futzing with it, trying to make it wearable. I'm not sure I will even wear it once. I think it will just go directly into the Goodwill pile. Alas. But now that it's done I can finally move on to something else!

I was really drawn to this pattern, but I'm not sure I will give it another try. I think it might be more suited to a top than a dress and in a crisper fabric than I used. But do I want to risk another cut of fabric on this? I'm not sure.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here

44 comments:

Reethi said...

Hmm. I really like it on you, especially with the obi-style belt. Give it some time, maybe? It's pretty cute, and I didn't see prison-matron in it at all!

Cricket said...

I love this dress!!! I want to make one just like it. I would wear it all the time! I think it looks great on you and I see nothing prison matronly about it.

It's funny how different people's perceptions of the same thing can be.

bunny said...

i think it looks pretty good on you styled with the red belt and silver necklace. wear it out for a day and see what you think before giving it away.

Rachelle said...

I laughed when I saw your post title, and at first glance, saw what you meant. After a second glance, though, I've decided that I honestly love this dress on you, especially dressed up with the obi! It's sweet, simple, makes your (already nice) legs look super, and comes with pockets.

To me, this is a perfect dress for showing off super-snazzy accessories and really fetching shoes.

Of course, it's you that has to wear it, so if you're not feeling it, of course, you should absolutely walk away from it. But as an objective observer, I think this is actually a bit of a win!

LinB said...

Good for you for finishing the dress, even if you decide that you hate it. Good for you for donating it, so that someone who will love this garment can have a chance to obtain it. I agree with Rachelle, the silhouette is good on you. I like the dress with the obi, and with the epaulettes. I also agree with you, that something about the color makes this a less-than-happy dress.

Caroline said...

I love how the dress looks w/ the obi belt and styling! The neutral fabric let's your accessories pop and it really works.

Big in Japan said...

Better the prison matron than the prisoner!
I have to agree with the previous posters, I really like it with the obi.

Karin said...

I think it looks pretty good with the pop of red from the obi belt actually! That said, your inspiration dress looks like it is made from drapier less crisp fabric than your knock off, also the print is bigger. I don't know if either of these things are making the difference or not.

Nethwen said...

As a plain grey dress, it does look a little factory-worker, although I like the print up close; I can see why you chose it. The dress looks great on you with the obi. As others said, maybe give it some time and see if it grows on you or you get inspiration for other ways to wear it? I think the added color of the obi brightens the dress and the width of the belt gives the dress a flattering shape.

Carina S. said...

I never comment, but I adore your blog! The dress looks so beautiful with the obi belt and your sandals are very stylish - xoxo Carina

KID, MD said...

While I do like this, I'm not going to try to convince you. I know once I decide something isn't going to work, it just isn't. I do really like the addition of the shoulder tabs. They really are cute.

Debbie Cook said...

I don't get the Prison Matron vibe either and really like it with the Obi belt, but it's your dress so you get to decide to ditch it or not.

Another Sewing Scientist said...

Thanks for the tip about facings + interfacing. I'm working on a '60s dress right now that calls for a centre front seam below the neck slit, but I eliminated the seam because I didn't have enough of the 35" vintage fabric to match the HUGE print, and I wanted the front to have a neater look. I'll try it out!

MushyWear said...

Well I have to say great job on capturing the design of your inspiration dress. I do feel the same as you about the dress when it is worn with all gray. However, worn with the statement necklace,obi belt, and summery wedges... I am amazed by the transformation. The gray fades to the background and the eye is drawn to all your wonderful accessories, including the shoes, and in my opinion, completely works.

Nancy K said...

I really like this dress on you. I think that the gray, I know you like bright colors, but I honestly think it looks lovely with your skin and hair. I think that it is just outside your comfort zone on pattern and color.

Lindsay T said...

Hah! Had to click on this post for the title alone. I like this on you, actually.

Adelaide B said...

So, I like the top part on you, but I think the skirt is a little too full. I think your idea about turning into a top is probably a good one.

Elle C said...

I don't think the dress looks anywhere near as bad as you think, but I am not going to try to convince you otherwise 8-). I have to tell you how grateful I am that you posted about something that you consider a fail, it is nice to know it happens to someone else.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the above comments. I like the dress with the red sash. That looks really good on you! But if you absolutely hate the dress, why not make it into a gray skirt? The color would go with almost everything.

Mary said...

obi obi obi (I must get off the computer and return to painting)

toboldlysew said...

Like everyone else, I rather like this shape on you,although not so much the colour for the summer. But with the red obi belt it's jazzed up nicely! I don't see prison matron at all!

Sew-4-Fun said...

Like others I really like it with the red obi and necklace, but I completely understand if it doesn't feel right for you. I wear colour and prints almost every day like you, so bland colours like this just feel weird when I wear them. I feel like I've lost myself and will often toss the outfit in favour of something that's more "me". Nice job though.

Andrea said...

I really like this dress on you. The fabric is beautiful. I actually think I like your version better than the original.

Mrs. Micawber said...

I really like the red obi too. Have you thought of pegging the skirt a bit? That might add a little balance and definition to the shape. Kind of an 80's vibe. Great post title!

Farhana said...

I like this dress. Alone yes kinda boring but with the belt and necklace so much better. The only thing is that I do think you could down a size or two and maybe try it on the bias. Still learning though so not expert advice but you do make me want to try my hand at drafting something like this for myself.

McVal said...

Cute! I really like it with the red belt!

Summer said...

Thanks for the laugh! Your description is so apt--such a shame to work so hard just to feel frumpy :(

Next project you'll knock out of the park!

Kyle said...

I like it with the red obi--I think it looks very cool that way!

Isabelle said...

So frustrating when that happens! I really like the shape on you, especially with the obi belt. This would look amazing on you in a pink or teal colour.
I'm thinking it might look better if you bound the neckline and hems with a fabric in the colour of the darker grey squares. You need stronger colours directly next to your skin and it would give the dress a bit of an edge.
But you probably don't want to spend any more time on this than you already have. ;)

You did a great job knocking off the original dress, at any rate!

Jacquie said...

Noooooo.... it looks lovely! There isn't anything prisonish about it. Don't give up on it. However, a dress in a photo and a dress worn in real life are quite different creatures. Only you know what you will wear or will be languishing in the wardrobe.

Amanda S. said...

Gosh, I was surprised when you wrote it was a bust, but then again I can't see it in action. This is one of the things I don't like about sewing - the inability to try things on before you've devoted time and resources to the project. It gets me way too much, which is why I've started to muslin nearly everything. Ug!

Jessica H said...

Hmm...it's always tough when things don't turn out like we envision them. However, I think the dress is lovely - it really is, so I think your reaction is more to the color than the style. That much gray washes me out, too, and always makes me feel blah. I'd either put a stronger color next to your face (maybe bind the neckline as someone suggested), or give it to a friend who looks good in gray.

montanachic said...

I kind of wonder if you don't like it because it is grey and you usually use so much color. I think it looks good on you.

Katherine said...

Dude. It's totally adorable on you. And I love the punchy obi belt with it. If you give up on this, I'm going to have to stalk your Goodwill......

AllisonC said...

I just posted a project I don't like either so I understand how you feel, but really give this one a bit of time. Although you might have something closer to the designer inspiration with a more drapy fabric I think this definitely works.

Victoria said...

I hate when things don't turn out the way you envision, but I have to say that I like this look on you. Maybe it's that you're so cute that you can make anything look good (smile). Honestly, I see why you may feel disappointed that your dress was a little different than intended, but that difference works and looks good on you.

Murfomurf said...

I think this would work fine if the skirt was much more narrow. It just looks too billowy for the slinky, flopping shoulders/sleeves. I like the fabric and it complements your bright hair! Anyway- you do what feels right for you- I'm busy making a dress I sewed into a skirt as it looks to tizzy.

Clio said...

I give this a thumbs up with the obi. It adds the right pop of color and works well with the shoes.

Anonymous said...

I have two comments about this dress.

I know that you favor bright colors, but this more neutral tone actually flatters you in that it lets your own lovely coloring provide the bang. I mean I really see YOU in it, whereas in your biking wardrobe, it's about the color and shape with or without you in it. Not a criticizm at all, just an observation.

That said, I find very simple garments like this are all about the print and this fabric is just too understated to carry a great expanse like this dress. I think the print on the pattern envelope is a perfect example of how it can showcase the right print.

Oh yes, and the shoes you're wearing with it are particularly flattering on you.

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

Ok, the title on this post got me! I like it with the obi belt, as a fan of bright colors I soooo like your fabric selections, happy colorful fabrics.
thanks for the mention of my facing tip. PS, cute shoes.

Lynneb said...

Very nicely done...such a great style and interpretation!

Anonymous said...

this is almost exactly the Vogue pattern I made in 1976 (I remember the year because it was for a luncheon for my soon-to-be-SIL) I loved that dress!

Amber Elayne said...

I love this dress! It looks cute on you too but I think I figured out why you're not in love with it.... All of your clothes seem so lively and colourful and this one is more subdued. But it looks great on you!

Anna Bartels said...

Recently discovered your blog. Really love it! I have a similar pear shape fit issue, but not your bust. Anyways, I really like this dress and I agree, I think it is not as good as it could be. I don't think it's a problem with your pattern, but it is the drape of the material. I think that if this was in more drapey fabric, I think you would be happier with it. I am trying to make a dress similar to this one. I love the boat neckline, the "v", and the sleeves. Can't wait to start drafting my own!
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