In All Its Long-Awaited Splendor…

Photo Apr 25, 11 10 53 AM

The long-anticipated shoe dress!

I could apologize for my long absence, but I recently joined a softball team and learned that softball means never having to say you’re sorry – so there you go! I also completely uprooted my life to move to New York City in the interim, so I’ve decided to cut myself a little slack and focus instead on the positives, namely: I’m back! I’m going to try to make blogging a larger part of my life, largely because I’m so madly in love with the sewing blog community and want to be a part of it, but also because there are only so many times I can shove my me-mades in my friends’ faces and demand they tell me how clever I am. The goal is to post a minimum of once every two weeks, as I’m hoping low expectations will easily help me to meet them, but in honesty I’m hoping to post much more often than that. Especially in the beginning, because I have some fun projects that have gone unblogged for too long!

This dress, of course, tops the list. This is my take on Simplicity 1196, a pretty little fit and flare dress with bracelet-length sleeves, double bodice darts, and a three-panel gathered skirt. The fabric is a patterned flannel from Joann’s (they may no longer carry the exact pattern, but this is similar). I no longer remember exactly which size I made, and am too lazy to dig through my patterns to see which it was, but the fit was spot-on – except for the sleeves! As you see above, I chopped them off above the elbow, which unfortunately meant I didn’t get to include the very pretty button detail at the cuffs. The sleeves were waaaaay too narrow through the elbow and forearm, even for my skinny arms, and if I make the dress again I plan to grade the sleeves up a size or two starting from the armpit.

Photo Apr 25, 11 13 46 AM (1)

The impromptu lopping of sleeves left me in a bit of a pickle, since they wound up exactly the length I wanted – so I zigzagged the edge and called it a day. Not the most permanent solution, but I never have gotten around to binding them with bias as I probably should. C’est la vie.

One of the major changes I made to the pattern was to the neckline. I decided I wanted a v-neck, front and back, so I basically just folded both pattern pieces to create a slant instead of a curve at the neck. I adjusted the neckline facing accordingly, and then gave the whole a double line of topstitching to hold down the facing and give the neckline a little more definition.

Photo Apr 25, 11 11 09 AM

After wearing the dress, I discovered my v-neck alteration may have made the neckline a bit too wide, with so much missing fabric at the back neck, so if I make the pattern again I may take an inch or two out of the center back to reduce the width across the shoulders. However, as you can see in the picture above, I also didn’t insert a hook and eye at the top of the zipper, which leads to some noticeable gapping – I’ll be testing how much that helps before I make any major pattern changes!

You can also just see, in the picture above, the extra inch I added to the waist – when I first tried the dress on, I didn’t like where the waistline fell on my long torso, but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut an entirely new bodice. Instead, I rather clumsily inserted a strip of fabric between skirt and bodice as a sort of waistband – I don’t love how it looks, and the pattern matching is non-existent, but the bodice is the perfect length now and I know how much I need to add to any future iterations of this dress.

All in all, this turned out to be a bit of a wearable muslin, but that’s all right – the fabric was cheap and pretty, and it gave me a chance to test out a pattern I wound up liking quite a bit. With my knowledge of the alterations required, I fully intend to make this dress again.

Plus, shoes. Who doesn’t love shoes?


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