Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simplicity 2497, Swiss Dot Ruffle Neck Birthday Dress

S2497 Birthday Dress Thumbnail

I bought this swiss dot fabric from Kashi at Metro Textiles in NYC two years ago for $5/yd. Although it wasn't expensive, for some reason it had almost become too good to use. I just think it is so darling. However, of all my fabrics, a swiss dot is one of the most replaceable and I confirmed that it is available online--and even for around the price I paid for it when I looked a couple of months ago--and decided I needed to challenge myself to come up with a project.

I made this Cynthia Rowley dress, Simplicity 2497, last year in fancy fabric for a wedding. I was very happy with it, other than the way-too-low neckline and bulgey side zip, but didn't have plans to make another...until I took a closer look at Meli88a's seersucker version and saw what a cute casual dress this makes.

So I put the project on my project list and didn't give it too much more thought. Until, that is, I realized it was a week to my birthday and I had nothing to wear! I mean, of course I could re-wear one of the millions of pretty dresses in my closet, but I love having a new birthday dress each year. The serger was threaded in white, I evaluated my project list in terms of what could get done quickly but still be festive, and this project emerged the winner. Not a very glamorous way to choose a birthday dress, but I love the result!

Ruffle Backed with Organza The weave of the swiss dots is horizontal from selvage to selvage. As this is a voluminous dress, I didn't want to increase my perceived width with sideways stripes, so I cut on the cross grain (except for the midriff piece, so it would act as a "belt").

I didn't have enough fabric to cut the giant collar on the bias as directed, but as the cotton batiste fabric is very lightweight I wasn't concerned about drape. In fact, I was afraid there would be too much drape, so I backed the fashion fabric with a slightly narrower collar (cut on cross grain as well) cut of silk organza, which incidentally takes a serger rolled hem like a dream. This is a puffy collar, to be sure! The organza definitely makes sure it stands up straight.

Midriff and Skirt Lining All pieces of the dress are underlined in cotton batiste; the swiss dot is extremely lightweight and sheer. In addition, I lined the midriff and skirt with rayon satin. This is a dress I can see working for Fall with a long sleeved tee underneath, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn't stick to tights. Rather than sew the skirt lining to the midriff lining, I sewed both midriff and skirt lining to the upper seams of their respective pieces.

Lining after Hand Stitching I left the last couple inches of both unsewn on either side of the zipper so that I could stitch them to the zipper tape, rather than having them under the zip tape for more bulk. I admit this is where I ran out of time for my actual birthday. All the public parts of the dress were complete (just barely!), but I did not have time to do the hand-stitching to make the inside nice. I took care of that this weekend.

Faux Broad Back Adjustment The pattern comes in two views: this ruffle neck version, sleeveless, and a neck binding version with a sleeve. Loved the sleeve so I decided to add it to this version. Of course the bodices of the different views are different, and the armscye is not shaped the same. But I was on limited time here and decided to cut out the version I knew and assume I could ease the sleeve into the wrong armhole. In retrospect, it would have been just as easy to correct the neckline on the other version. As it turns out, I didn't have any trouble easing the sleeve into the armscye. However, I cut a size 4 sleeve to match my armscye and really should have cut larger. I had to let out the sleeve's underarm seam to get room for my bicep. It fits, but is noticeable while wearing.

My second problem was that I didn't think to do a broad back adjustment. Curses! I don't have any trouble with the first version, but of course it's sleeveless, which gives me the range of motion I need. With the sleeves I definitely need more room across the shoulder blades.

I moved the zipper to center back, because I hated the way the zipper coil created a bulge at the side seam in my original version. I sewed the center back seam from the neckline for about 2.5 inches below the neckline seam allowance, so as not to interfere with ruffle application, and then inserted the zip. To give myself as much room across the back as possible, I sewed it with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (much narrower than the zipper tape). It helped a little.

Accessorized My other change was to raise the neckline 3 inches in cutting just to make sure I had plenty of coverage. I cut two of those inches off after the dress was assembled. My neckline, in addition to being raised, is also slightly narrower at lower center front than the wide U as drafted. I am 1000% more comfortable with the neckline on this one, which does not show my bra.

Unfortunately, the expensive matching rose trim I bought for this fabric didn't go with this project, so I'll have to come up with another use for it.

But I love everything else about it! It was so fun for a birthday dress. I wore my "tiara" to work and met up with friends for a fabulous outdoor happy hour at Poste after.

I got myself the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid and have already made one batch of ice cream, chocolate peanut butter. Unbelieveable. And I am hoping that my gift from my mom arrives today--you will all be jealous. All in all, a very good birthday this year.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

31 comments:

knitmachinequeen (KMQ) said...

Great dress. The black edging on the collar really makes this dress stand out. I will say that I was craning my neck for a better look at the shoe! TFS

Seraphinalina said...

Perfect birthday dress. Lovely!

Eugenia said...

Super-cute - a really fun looking dress! The Swiss dot fabric is gorgeous. I was interested to read that you raised the neckline - when I made this pattern I also raised the neckline but I didn't raise it quite enough - whenever I wear it I have to worry about showing more of me than I would like to. Your adjustments look just right. Hope you had a lovely birthday celebration. Chocolate peanut butter ice cream sounds delicious!

Karin said...

So cute! I have some very similar dotted Swiss that I am sitting on too, I keep waiting for the right blouse pattern.
Chocolate peanut butter ice cream- yum!

Clio said...

Happy Belated Bday! What a fantastic bday dress - I love the way you accessorized it (fascinator, shoes, purse... super fun!)

What a fun new toy! If you are looking for ice cream recipes, my new favorite ice cream cook book is The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. The four ice creams I made from it in the last month or so - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and peach - were all UH-mazing.

Amanda S. said...

You are looking super cute! Happy birthday, too. LOVE the shoes!

Faye Lewis said...

That's a cutie!

ELMO said...

Happy belated, cute dress I haven't made this one yet, but it's in the stash.

Debbie Cook said...

Great birthday dress!! Happy belated. Now I'm curious about your pressie from mom.

Sew-4-Fun said...

Nice dress and happy belated birthday. I love your shoes too.

meli88a said...

I love how you make so many variations on a pattern -- this looks completely different from the fancy black tie version.

And, happy birthday!

AllisonC said...

Great dress and I love the styling, this is a great pattern I might make it again too. Sounds like you had a great birthday and your home made ice cream sounds amazing (I dare not go there though!).

HeathersSphere said...

Happy Belated Birthday, pretty lady! Your festive and fabulous dress can brighten anybody's day and add spark to an evening. I like what you did with this Cynthia Rowley pattern!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Kitchenmaid has an ice cream maker attachment!?!?! I'm heading over to their website immediately.

Happy birthday and what a fun dress. I love Cynthia Rowley patterns. The fascinator is very festive!

Amber Elayne said...

That looks sweet and beautiful! The neckline change makes it so much more practical and easier to wear!

I made another version of this dress but it is currently a wadder... mainly the zipper. Did you have any trouble moving it to the back? I'd prefer to do that! I really want to save it.... Thanks!!!!

Lynn Mally said...

Beautiful workwomanship, as usual! And happy birthday. By the way, you have really changed your shoe style. Gone the Danskos?

McVal said...

Adorable! What a great tradition! ... I need to start doing that.

Cennetta said...

What a great birthday dress. Have a great one!

Joy said...

Happy birthday! And what a cheery birthday dress. The ice cream sounds dreamy.

Sue said...

What a fun and cute Birthday dress! Glad you had a great Birthday! Please send ice-cream....

Crystal said...

I love it, and you are right - great pattern for casual or dressy. I am glad you reminded me.

Aroura said...

Oh my gosh, how pretty! Happy birthday, and what a wonderful gift you gave yourself. :) Love how the ruffles turned out.

emadethis said...

Happy birthday month, and what a fun ruffle for such a festive occasion. I love how well it stands up--it's like a lovely piece of jewelry.

Chocolate pb sounds fantastic too. I was kind of blown away by how much better homemade ice cream tastes when I bought mine a couple of months ago. I made a all-in-one coconut milk spumoni with a pistachio base with added super dark chocolate chunks and dried sour cherries. I served it with the florentines from Nick Malgieri's Chocolate book because they're a bit of alchemy. Such a happy day.

melissa said...

Another great version of this pattern! I share your love of making new birthday garments, too. :)

And oh yeah - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :)

gwensews said...

Hey, Dottie--fabulous dress! And, have a great Birthday!

MushyWear said...

Your birthday dress turned out fantastic. Definitely a great match of pattern and fabric and so festive. I didn't know there was an ice-cream attachment for a Kitchenaid. I must investigate this! Hope you have the best year yet!

Little Hunting Creek said...

happy Birthday! Very cute dress

mochimo said...

Really cute dress! Happy (belated) birthday!

Christina said...

Happy birthday! Very cute dress, and shoes :) I used that same swiss dot to make a blouse a while back.

I'd love to hear more about your ventures in ice cream making, I've been thinking about getting that Kitchen Aid attachment...

Janice said...

Your dress is so cute! Happy (belated?) birthday!!!

House of Pinheiro said...

I'm planning to make this dress this weekend and your review been by far the best. I will sew the zipper on the back too x