Here’s my newest dress – and my favourite yet. The universe puked up all over it forgodsakes.
The pattern is Simplicity 1651 from their Project Runway series, which as far as I can tell means that you get a lot of variations in the pattern envelope in order to ‘design’ the dress yourself. This one has two options each for the sleeves, front bodice, back bodice and skirt. I bought it because it has all sorts of cool details like the double-layered cap sleeves and the strappy back. I quite like the twisted front version too for another time.
The fabric is repurposed from ahem, a kids’ duvet cover. You may recognise the same one from Emily’s Elisalex dress – she took my idea and I pinched it back :) I was a bit worried about the quality and drape initially but actually I think it suits this pattern very well – anything drapier would have made the back droop and lose the skirt shape. Plus at a tenner and with only half of it used, it must be the thriftiest dress ever.
I spent ages getting the fit just right, after an initial panic on realising that Simplicity patterns are way off RTW sizes and the biggest size in the pack I ordered, a US 12, was only just big enough – I’m usually US 6-8! Anyway, the size 12 ended up fine – the front bodice darts fitted well with no adjustment and I got no neckline gaping for a change. The back was a little trickier, but I knew it would be as my spine’s slightly curved and normal dresses rarely fit properly, never mind with weird straps thrown into the mix. I just tried the dress on after the zip was fitted and pinned the shoulder seams and back straps in the right place. I’ve never done so much baste-and-try-on, but it was worth it as the dress feels well-fitted and comfortable.
Other small modifications: I reduced the circle radius of the skirt a bit as I didn’t want it to be stiff and lampshade-y, and I made the front neckline a curved scoop shape rather than the angled line of the pattern. I did the double cap sleeve option, which I think suit the whole galactic theme.
It’s the first pattern I’ve bought from a big pattern house rather than an indie designer, and I found the flimsy tissue paper and lack of attention to detail rather off-putting. At least one piece was mis-labelled and the paper was really hard to cut cleanly in one direction. Having said that, the instructions are pretty well laid out with a good level of detail, and I didn’t have trouble following any of the steps.
Space guts! The dress is fairly tidy inside, and I’m especially pleased with the side zip, which is just a regular one (all my local shop had) but looks concealed thanks to this brilliant technique I stumbled across. Using sticky tape for sewing feels so wrong but it worked great. I successfully installed neckline facings on the front and back for the first time too. It could actually do with being fully lined but I’m not quite smart enough to figure out how to do that yet. Maybe next time…