Here is the dress with a crinoline (tulle petticoat).
I took the above picture yesterday, but the rest of the review was written last week. I’m not wearing the petticoat in the pictures below.
(Picture taken by Seb 2 weeks ago)
Dresses have empire waists and gathered bodices. The dresses’ skirts are shaped by pleats, and come in full and slim skirts. Optional belts for views A and B. The bodice is fully lined.
I made view C, the full-skirted version.
6-14. I made a 6 all around except for the front bodice which I graded into a 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were excellent. The writers made an effort to add useful tips on top of the basic construction instructions.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: Oh, I love this pattern. You know, when all the different companies’ autumn collections came out, this was my must-have! It is just perfect for me:
- I’ve always liked jumpers: they mean you can wear a pretty dress but still stay warm in winter because you can layer it. I’m glad that jumpers are back into fashion!
- I am fascinated by the fifties fashion.
- I love empire waists.
- I adore full skirts.
- Finally, I really, really like how the waist is shaped with all those darts.
I am so grateful to Simplicity for re-releasing that pattern! Merci, Simplicity !
Dislikes: The empire seamline was too high, and I found the armholes were too narrow, as well (too narrow to wear a blouse or a top underneath anyway). See alterations section below.
The petite adjustment was ridiculously insufficient. Or, maybe I am ridiculously petite? (154 cm, i.e. not quite 5’1″)
This was my splurge of the season. I bought a black suede embroidered and appliquéed with flowers, in a variegated black-grey-white thread. I really loved that pattern and wanted a fabric to match, as this was meant to be the piece de resistance of my autumn/winter wardrobe.
Using suede was a first for me. I so did not want to mess it up! This is why I basted everything by hand beforehand. I was afraid ripped stitches would leave small holes in the fabric so I wanted to avoid having to rip seams. Making a muslin and hand-basting the dress were therefore compulsory!
Since some flowers are appliqueed on the fabric, I had to cut out those which were located on seamlines or which would be enclosed into the darts.
I realize in the pictures that the hem seems uneven at places where there are flowers on the fold of the. I need to press the flowers to the inside.
The dress’s success depends largely on the darts’ accurate shaping, in my opinion. This is why I used the tip Christina posted on her blog about basting darts with a ladder stitch (thanks again, Christina!). The process was time-demanding, but the result was perfect!
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
Yes, I altered the pattern somewhat.
– As always, I cut a six for the back. I cut either a 6 or an 8 for the waist and hips, and my muslin revealed a 6 was better all around this time. I cut a 10 for the bust and graded the pieces’ lines.
– The empire waistline seemed too high to me, and an entry on Sew Retro confirmed my doubts. I made a muslin of the upper bodice and ended up adding 1.5 cm (5/8″) in height.
– On my muslin, the armholes seemed narrow for a dress that is supposed to be worn with a top or a blouse underneath. I was afraid it wouldn’t be very comfortable, and this is a case where wide armholes are better than narrow since there’s no risk of bra showing, etc – this dress is
designed to be worn over a top.
I therefore added 1 cm to the shoulders, back and front. You may want to consider this if you plan on layering this with a blouse that has wide sleeves, like the one I’m wearing in the picture.
– Petites beware! It was a nice surprise to see that the pattern came with an optional petite adjustment. However, even with the adjustment, I still needed to remove 13 centimeters to the bottom hem to have the same length as in the model picture!! That is more than 5 inches. OK, I know I lengthened the bodice, but by only 1.5 cm (5/8″).
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Okay. I very rarely sew patterns twice – there are so many out there that I want to try! Besides, this one was very work-intensive because I so wanted to do it right. While I was sewing it, I wasn’t planning on sewing it again. BUT. But, once I’d tried it on for the final fitting, I thought, now I want one with the slim skirt! So we’ll see about that. I would like to sew it again – now to see if I manage to fit another version into my ever-expanding list of projects!
I warmly recommend the pattern… but I also warmly recommend you make a muslin of at least the upper bodice.
This is truly a beautiful pattern. I had high hopes about that project, and am not disappointed in the outcome! Even with that beautiful fabric, the dress ended up costing less than 30 euro (including the price of the pattern). I didn’t even pay that in reality, because I had a 15 euro coupon at the store when I bought it! I don’t think it’s that bad considering the price of RTW today! And this is not RTW, of course. 🙂 I really like the combination of a vintage patten and a fashionable fabric.
ETA: I wrote that review last week, but Summerset started posting a series of posts comparing the Simplicity 2007 re-release of the pattern, and the original pattern. I find it fascinating.
In particular, what I altered in the pattern (high bustline, narrow armholes) was even more emphasized in the original pattern.
I stated the instructions were excellent; but the earlier instructions were apparently even better, giving tips for a more couture finish.
(ps: I might look a bit like a little girl with that blouse. That is Seb’s opinion anyway. But I don’t really care. That blouse is one of my favourite garments ever. I bought it for a pound in an op-shop in England when I was 14! The sleeves are cut in eyelet fabric and the princess seams and collar are gorgeous. Can you tell I was already fascinated by interesting fabrics and tailored details? 😉 I’ve worn it a lot over the past 11 years, but have taken care of it, too.
However, I want to make a trendy knit grey top to create a different look! I have the fabric, but am still undecided about the pattern 🙂 )