One of the two that I made for the Simplicity blog hop/giveaway promo, according to the comments that post received, this pattern was a suprise to many, not least to me.
I used Simplicity #2282, a crazy concoction of a dress pattern with some outlandish details to pick and choose from. I chose to make a version that included the peplum (in my opinion, the bestest part of this pattern) and the cap sleeves. Usually I’d be drawn to the puff sleeves, but something about the proportions of the rest of the dress and my fabric choice warned me off from fear of it looking too 1980’s.
Well, having recently started paying more attention to how I can affect the fit of a garment BEFORE I actually start to sew, I traced out the pattern and made some alterations. I used the size 12 for the upper bodice, and blended that out to a size 14 for the hips and bum area to account for all that I have been blessed with in those departments. I also folded out 2cms from the length of the bodice because I’m short-waisted and this looks verryyyyy long in the body. It was important to make these changes before cutting out the fabric, because the construction process of this dress pattern means a simple ‘pin it in here, let it out there’ along the side seams isn’t an option.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it?
Kind of, although mine turned way better than the pictures! The pattern envelope photos and illustrations also don’t really show how A-line this garment actually is. I ended up taking the skirt in at the hem quite a bit, and would have liked to have made it even more pencil skirt shaped, but I would have had trouble walking and sitting without making a back vent, slit or pleat and I didn’t have the time or patience for going back and addressing that.
Generally yes, they were easy to follow, as I’ve come to expect from modern Simplicity patterns, even if I don’t agree with the construction method being explained. However, I did find the diagram and explanation of a couple of the trickiest sections of this make a bit lacking, and I was left quite confused at points and on my own to figure it out.
The difficulties come from trying to attach the front bodice, which has been attached to the back skirt pieces, to the side bodice, which has been attached to the back bodice pieces. At this point, you’ve already made the front skirt pleats and attached the peplum section, but that peplum is obscuring quite a lot and it’s difficult to work out where you are aiming at with your stitching line. The construction method for this section made neatening the seam allowances very hard, but doing so was essential for this project because my chosen fabric was a massive fan of fraying.
I love the peplum. I think a lot of women would fear a peplum, assuming it’d make their hips look super-wide. But I really like the way the peplum exaggerates an hourglass silhouette. I think the jury is out on whether a sizable peplum like this would suit all body shapes, but personally, I’m sold.
I dislike the funny flap version of this pattern, but I can easily avoid that by simply not making it! Having said that, maybe someone could make a version in red with contrast navy piping and a gold anchor button on each flap and I’d be sold!
I’d prefer to have this pattern with a pencil skirt and without the front pleats. Those pleats seem to be a bit unnecessary considering you’ll have either a peplum or funny flaps hiding them, and I don’t think the bring much to the party, shape-wise.
I think you’d need a team of scientists to figure out what on earth this fabric is! The closest to a description I can come to is ‘some sort of matelassé/brocade-y stuff’. It’s black with gold spots (or gold with black spots if you used the reverse) and I found it in a bargain bin of a fabric shop in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco about five years ago, shortly before having the best nachos of my life. The fabric is quite narrow so I bought way more than would normally. As precious as it is, this had been in my stash for long enough for me to go crazy and make this dress without first toiling it up. I still have a fair bit left. This pattern is pretty fabric efficient.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
No, I don’t think I’ll sew it again, not because I dislike this dress at all or don’t think I’ll get any wear from it, but because it is such a distinctive design that more than one would be a bit pointless. If I were more into the puff sleeves or the funny flap alternatives, maybe I could make another that looked sufficiently different.
I would recommend it to others; I think those who are brave enough should attempt to rock the peplum! This dress received a lot of compliments when I wore it to the opening bash for the Super+Super HQ, a new creative hub here in B-town.
Well. It’s not a subtle dress, so I think you really need to be committed to carrying off the look with strong hair and strong makeup and high heels. I’m not sure how you could make a subtle version of this dress so I think that formular should probably be prescribed to all who make it!
I had a great time at the party with Rehanon (in her eye-popping 'Joanie' Mad Men dress), Kirstin, Sarah, Patty and others. I got some killer photos but for some frustrating reason the file containing them was corrupted and I couldn’t open it, so much of the craziness will have to be consigned to memory. The dress felt very special, and wasn’t as itchy as I had feared. It IS pretty tight though, so it’ll probably best be worn whilst enjoying cocktails standing at the bar rather than sitting down for a meal!