Several patterns have come out the past couple of years with side pleats, and I have most of them. However, when I saw Simplicity 2053 had a waist seam, I had to add yet another version of this pattern to my collection. A waist seam is a necessity for my pear-shaped body.
I planned this pattern for a mustard-colored wool I bought from Fabric Mart a couple years ago, but I wanted to test out the pattern first before cutting into my special fabric. I got this fabulous Michael Kors cotton at the fabric swap portion of the DC-area Pattern Review meetup in November, and it was perfect.
As part of my pattern-testing, I added muslin sleeves to the bodice. I don't like the weird sleeve that comes with the pattern so I used my generic Burda woven sleeve. It would need a little bit of sleeve-cap reduction, but otherwise fit into the armscye fine.
I also found that the neckline was very high as drafted. You can see the yellow pin marking a more flattering height for the neckline.
This pattern does not come with a lining. I hate facings and use a lining instead wherever it is possible.
In this case it was a little tricky, because I didn't want to just duplicate the pattern in lining--the pleats add a good deal of bulk and I didn't need to double that.
Instead, I used the front bodice and skirt pattern from New Look 6968 as the front lining. S2053's bodice is slightly longer (and the skirt slightly shorter at the waist) than NL 6968.
The neckline and armscye required minimal reshaping. I traced them from the from the non-pleat side of the S2053 bodice front. Once these small tweaks were made, the lining fit the fashion fabric perfectly.
I used a contrast cotton for the bodice lining (and slippery rayon for the skirt lining). This piece was a leftover from a top I made years ago, before my discovery of Pattern Review so no photos. It had been in and out of the donation bag about a dozen times. I still liked the print, but could never imagine a project for it. I am so glad I pulled it out of the donation bag in the nick of time before my last giveaway, because I just love it for the lining! I used my all-machine clean-finish bodice lining tutorial method.
The skirt as drafted was too long for me, something I should know by now! Normally it's not an issue, but this dress requires a walking slit in the back. The extensions for the slit started too low for me once the skirt was at a flattering length. I just had to stitch the extensions in place. Luckily, it's only ugly on the inside. You would never guess there was a problem from the outside.
This fabric was high quality but incredibly frustrating. It has subtle stripes, which required matching. Stripe-matching on its own is a pain, but in this instance the stripes disappeared as you got closer to the fabric. So when I got close enough to the fabric to pin it, I could no longer see the stripes. Aiyee!!! Luckily, their subtlety and the pleats that made stripe-matching impossible along one side seam helped me not to be too stressed. I did pretty good at the zipper and the straight side seam.
I am glad I made this pattern in the test fabric before moving on to my special wool.
While I do like the dress, the pleats are not my most flattering look. They open up over the belly and there is something weird going on at the bust (I did not do a small bust adjustment because it would have interfered with the pleats--I would have had to narrow the ones nearest the bust). I'm also not crazy about the pleats opening upward; it looks like they are there to hold keys and loose change. (To answer Little Hunting Creek: The pattern would require some annoyingly extensive redrafting to get them to face downward because it is drafted with the pleat extensions and such to go upward.) So I will have to find a different pattern for the yellow wool.
I cut my usual Simplicity sizes, a 6 at the shoulders and bust, 10-12ish at the waist, and 12-14ish at the hip. This is cut much more snugly than your usual Simplicity, so the resulting dress is quite fitted, much more than I'm used to. I think the close fit is flattering, but also a little uncomfortable. There is no margin of error for a big meal in this dress!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.