Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Simplicity 2053, Side Pleat Dress

S2053 Thumbnail

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. 

Sleeve Muslin
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.





Contrast Lining-Front

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.

Back Vent-Inside





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.






Stripe Matching at Zip

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.





Pleats

Front



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.

59 comments:

Peggy said...

I disagree that this is not your most flattering look! The first thing I thought when I saw the photos are the top was "Wow"! I think this dress is very flattering and pretty! Nice job and a great description of the process! Thanks!

redsilvia said...

I think this is an incredibly lovely dress on you. The fit is great and the pleats make it interesting. That is a great color on you, I think you'll end up wearing this a bunch.

Sigrid said...

Definitely a very good look on you. Perhaps you need to get used to it, but like Peggy when I saw the pictures I thought "great look on you"

Little Hunting Creek said...

Very pretty-do you think you could do the pleats facing downwards instead of upwards?Then they would not feel like pockets to you. The dress shape is quite flattering

wendy said...

i think the pleats look lovely -it looks very cute in the pictues at least!

needle nose apparel said...

The first photo was a WOW! The color and the style are perfect for you.I do agree with you about the drooping pleats. I've had the same issue and have yet to put in the time to figure out a solution.

cidell said...

I don't want to be one of those people, but this looks awesome on you. Maybe it's the photos and you see something we can't. But, for reals. You look teeny and curvy. I just added this to my list and you know I don't buy envelope patterns.

couturearts said...

Wow, that looks fantastic on you! Look at the pictures, not the mirror, and perhaps you'll see what I (and everyone else) mean. The waist seam is a really good idea. That way, the grain at the shoulders and the hem can stay straight.

Emilie said...

I'm going to say like the others. My first thought when I saw the top 3 photos was that this dress was particularly flattering! In any case, it photographs beautifully!

Crystal said...

I think this is a very pretty and flattering dress on you. I really like the fabric. I love the assymetric side-pleated dresses and skirts out right now, too. I had really good luck with NL6000 - and it was the first thing I ever made myself back in December.

Meg @ Mood Fabrics said...

Yeah, seriously, you look really good here in these photos. Everything is working. Would love to see this dress on you in a ponte knit or doubleknit for cooler months.

McVal said...

Adorable! I've done a one shoulder type dress similar and those pleats were so tricky! Great job!

Adelaide B said...

I like it.

Audrey said...

I think the dress looks great on you. Clever of you to spot a side draped design with a waist seam. Definitely an aid to fitting. I didn't notice the two errant pleats (bust and lower hip) until you mentioned them. They are just wrong for your body shape. Rip the side seam out where those pleats are formed, re-pleat them to be more flattering, and re -sew the side seams. Problem fixed.

LinB said...

I agree with all of my Sewing Sisters above: this dress is flattering on you. I think you are just not used to seeing yourself in this silhouette. About the pleats: Aren't there many times when you NEED to stash keys, matchsticks, toothpicks, sugar packets, etc. so that they are readily available? This might become a popular pattern for wait staff at banquet halls, for instance.

T. Sedai said...

Love this dress! I think the cut, style, color, fit... all of it is perfect. You look really slender and pretty in this dress - so I have to disagree on the point that you think it might not be one of your best looks (because it totally rocks). Seriously, you should make more of them! It is awesome.

Anonymous said...

I L*VE the color and the dress!!! :)

Clio said...

Just adding to the chorus: this dress looks fan-freakin-tastic on you!

Trumbelina said...

My first thought too was "That looks so good and fits her so well." If you ever do an sba with those pleats, please document it. I'm very interested—I've got NewLook 6067, and have not attempted because I'm not sure how to do the sba. I'm thinking whatever you do with this pattern might help.

Lucia said...

I keep coming back to your blog because I too am a pear and you never disappoint with the flattering styles. This is a definite winner, I hope it looks half as good on me as it does on you! Thanks for the great find...

KID, MD said...

Vavavoom! I know that if you aren't comfortable in it, it isn't going to be good for you, but the pictures look really amazing. That dress gives you the smallest waist imaginable. I like the fun printed lining, too. :)

Seraphinalina said...

Time for the magic closet, you look pretty awesome to me. I can see how you might not want it for a treasured wool but that's a keeper in my books.

Lynneb said...

It is such a lovely dress! The fit is perfect, and is So very flattering for you.The back vent looks flawless from the outside! Nice job.

Sew-4-Fun said...

I love your dress! Great colour for you and I love the pleats, although I know what you mean about them sitting upwards. I sewed a muslin of a Butterick dress with the same waist seam / side pleats and the pleats won't behave, sigh. I love the look but I didn't want the frustration of trying to work out how to make the pleats sit better.

Summer Flies said...

I also must agree that I love the dress - the colour is great on you and the style is soooo flattering. You look positively tiny! I think it looks great.

Mel said...

Like many others my initial reaction was WOW! You look fantastic in it! I think its one of the most flattering dresses you've made.

Carol said...

One of the many patterns I own with side pleats has the top half going up and he bottom half going down and I like that best of all. I can't recall the number off the top of my head, but I can pull it out when I get home if you're interested. You may be able to franken pattern two together to get what you want??

Jenny said...

Gorgeous dress! Love the fabric you chose and the style is very flattering!

Heather said...

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've commented on your blog. I had to delurk to say that I LOVE this dress on you. I think it may be my favorite look I've seen. It really, truly looks fantastic.

Kyle said...

It looks amazeballs! It also looks a lot like NL6000--though NL6000 doesn't have the waist seam.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog a lot. This looks great! So flattering

Uta said...

I also say, absolutely fantastic! Great shape, beautiful color on you. Couldn't this be a Burda mag pattern? :) Great dress.

AllisonC said...

I think this looks fantastic on you, maybe those disappearing stripes have affected your eyesight! I've never noticed this pattern had a waist seam before (maybe I have eyesight issues too!).
Speaking of which - Argh what is up with the blogger word verification now requiring you to read fuzzy house numbers!!

ana5059 said...

Gorgeous dress, fits you very very well.
Love ths side pleats, but I'm beginner for a proyect like this.

Sue said...

ditto - it's a shame you are not happy with it as it shows off your slim figure really well!

velosewer said...

This is a wow dress and style.

Lori said...

I think this is a wonderful dress on you.

Kristy said...

You achieved a really great fit in the back which I think really helps this dress look great but I see what you mean with the puffiness at the bust and the bottom pleat too. Like a few others have already mentioned, New Look 6000 is a similar style and I found it to be an awesome fit even for an extreme pear shape like me

mary said...

this dress looks awesome on you!!!!!! I am a lurker and have never commented before but just had to on this one! The fit is fantastic!

Lynn said...

You must be the most stylish lawyer in your office! A great dress...and by the way, I'm making that Simplicity top you posted earlier.

kathy said...

My first thought also was "wowza". Then you look and see that annoying crumb catcher at the bust and the weird swish at the hip. I wonder if these pleats would lie nicer with a fabric with more drape?
I agree on not wasting the wool on this unless it a special wool with all sorts of drape.
I like your slight neckline adjustment - just right.

Anonymous said...

Make it up in the wool because this look is amazing on you! I too have read and enjoyed your blog many-a-time but this dress is the one that prompted me to post. FABULOUS!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I wonder if the "crumbcatcher" effect is most notable to the wearer who is naturally looking DOWN at the pleats? Because in the pictures this dress looks great.....perhaps you would like it better in a softer draping fabric?

Cecilia

ELMO said...

Perfection!! What a lovely fit you've achieved.

Vicki said...

Very nice. The fit is perfect.

Pliszka said...

very nice dress, it looks geat on you :)

Noile said...

As a fellow shortie, I'd never have considered this dress, but I think it looks wonderful on you! You've gotten the fit down perfectly; the pleats are unusual, but I think they work fine, just as they are. They are design features, after all!

It would be interesting to see this dress in a light, soft, wool, too, and, as noted, that might make you feel more comfortable with the pleats.

But it looks smashing on you!

HeathersSphere said...

Wonderful looking dress on you, Trena! Very nicely done as always.

liza jane said...

I would not have noticed there was a waist seam when I looked at this pattern. But that's good to know. I'm learning that a waist seam is a must for me, too. I love your shoes, btw!

Karin said...

I think this is very flattering on you. The first thing I thought when I saw your opening pictures, was wow! I didn't know her waist was so slim!
I think the colour of the fabric is nice with you skin tone too.
I'm glad to know that this pattern has a waist seam, I always look for those too.

Joy said...

I love this! And I think the pleats are actually very flattering. I made a side pleat Burda dress a while back and the pleats really do poof out in the tummy a lot. I never wear it, heh! But in this case, the pleats just look like pleats, not poofiness.

Valerie said...

I have to join the chorus--my first thought when I saw the top pic was WOW, great color for you and nice dress.

Roxy said...

I just finished sewing this dress this weekend as well. I did the version with the short sleeves. I have also made the full length one shoulder version. (Blog post to come this week). I think it is a flattering dress that comes together surprisingly easily. It looks fantastic on you. I agree with everyone else. This dress loves curves for those who have them and creates curves for those who want more.

Just a tip for the upwards pleats. You could turn the pattern the wrong side down when you cut out. The inside of the dress has the pleats facing down. So you could put the inside on the outside. :-) I definitely recommend a ponte knit for the dress. It drapes beautifully.

Mrs. Micawber said...

It's really stylish, and your stomach looks disgustingly flat in it! :)

I wonder if eliminating the bottom two pleats would help any? I suppose that would mean a bit of redrafting. Since this dress is already made (and looks so fabulous), maybe a bit of tacking will hold the errant pleats in place.

I agree with everyone who thinks a knit fabric might give even better drape.

tigergirl said...

I have to agree with everyone else, I think this is one of the most flattering dresses I've seen you in, it looks fantastic.

SEWN said...

I think this dress is amazing. Love it. Very flattering.

Julie said...

Trena, this dress looks fantastic! I'm so impressed with so many of your creations. If I ever lose this belly weight, this is a pattern I might like to try.

Diane said...

I agree, dress is very flattering on you. I am making it for my niece in a satiny poly, but I am stumped on step 8 for the one shouldered version. in step 7, stitched the neck and arm with the interfacing, but step 8 seems like I should have done this before 7. Could you take a look at the pattern instructions and see if it makes sense to you. Many thanks.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Diane-

Step 7 is stitching the facing to the fashion fabric, step 8 is understitching. You are stitching the seam allowance to the facing as far as possible. It has to be done after the main seam is sewn--otherwise there's no seam allowance to stitch the facing. The instructions are in the correct order.

Understitching is a finish that keeps the facing securely in place. For a project like this, where the neckline and armscye facing is all-in-one, there is no danger of the facing flipping to the wrong side and I usually skip the understitching.