Simplicity Blues, or, ElleC’s Revenge


Remember this pattern, Simplicity 6710? No? I don’t blame you. I probably wouldn’t either, except that it’s been kicking around the corners of my sewing room, leering at me, for three months. Well, in the wake of the Fishing Vest, I’ve been in a light-weight, puttery sort of mood, so I’ve been trying (in my half-ass way) to tidy and clear some things out in the sewing room. I finally stitched up the Young Image racerback tank in Syo’s size, which I cut out (at Syo’s request, I will emphasize) weeks ago. I’d blog about it but it looks basically identical to Tyo’s. Tyo is not pleased about that, by the way.

So, why did this project slip into UFO-dom? Well, it was a combination of factors. The single biggest is that, when I decided to make it up, I wanted a mini-dress length. I figured adding a couple of inches to the tunic length on the pattern should be good. When I got to the point pictured above and could actually tried it on, I realized we were still well within tunic territory, and at lest three or four ย inches shy of mini-dress length (and that’s without considering hem allowance.) All of a sudden my excitement for the project went down the toilet.

Expecting, much?

Aside from that, this is that poly crepe and holy &*($ does it piss me off. It’s got gorgeous drape and I love the colour, but damn—it shifts, it wriggles, it slips, it frays, and it DOES NOT PRESS. Urg. Obviously there was a good reason it was at the thrift store. Also, while the drape is beautiful, it has a bit too much body for the gathers on the front (the photos are after I pressed the crap out of the gathers to flatten them). Anyone looking for a gorgeous 70s maternity dress, I think I have just the pattern for you. Which is probably at least partly the pattern’s fault—I’m thinking this is a case of excessive gathering.

And then there was the zipper. Part of a gift from ElleC this spring (I also got the pattern from her, way back when. Do I sense a pattern? ElleC, are you out to get me? Wait, don’t answer that.), it was the perfect colour, so I figured it was kismet. Or some other mythical force. Anyway, I already knew I could wriggle into the dress top sans zipper, so obviously I was just looking to make my life difficult. It was a disaster. It’s been a while since I tried to insert a centred zipper, and the crepe wriggled and slid and bubbled and bulged and, well, by the time I got it all unpicked I was thoroughly pissed off and chucked the whole thing in a corner.

The good?

But now that I’ve whinged thoroughly about the bad, let’s move on.

I made my usual changes for fit:

  • petite bodice (1.5 cm) (this required petiting the sleeves as well, which I did by just taking a fold out of the middle, on grain.)
  • square shoulder (1 cm)
  • swayback (2 cm straight across the CB piece, angling from 2 cm to nothing in the side-back piece)

That vintage look (courtesy of Picasa filters)

I even remembered to add the length I took off the back in the swayback adjustment, back on to the hem of the back pieces. Now if only I’d added a few extra inches of length all around. (And even more in the back…)

Apparently my square-shoulder adjustment was, for once, unneccessary. *headdesk* There’s some distinct drag-lines from the shoulder that go away if I pull upon the outer edge of the shoulder. I blame this at least partly on where the pattern (which has really narrow shoulders, as you can see) sits—right at the base of the neck, over my trapezius, which is the one part of my shoulder that does slope.

Back view. Definitely not dress length.

I wasn’t convinced about the sleeves, but figured I’d give them a try, and it turns out I quite like the long, swingy flutter-shape, and how they’re inserted forward of the side-seam, which I think is rather slimming. There is possibly a bit of the linebacker look happening.

Linebacker look?

I opted to line, carefully modifying the front panel so as not to add bulk, but the ย broadcloth I used (because it was the right colour and handy) was not a good choice, either. A remarkable number of bad choices for one garment, don’t you think?

Not feeling like messing with the rolled hemmer, I used Sherry’s handkerchief-hem method, which worked astoundingly well aside from the fact that my hem edge was distinctly uneven and very ravelly after three months on the floor. If I had trimmed it first so it was nice and even, it would’ve been awesome. As it is, like so much of this project, there’s room for improvement.

So, in the end? Not sure how I like it. There’s a lot of little ย things that annoy me, which may or may not fade after some time in the Magic Closet. But a lot of the issues were self-inflicted. With the right fabric (a scrumptious lightweight silk or rayon or even cotton gauze, maybe) and a bit less fullness in the front, this could still be an awesome dress.



Filed under Sewing

31 responses to “Simplicity Blues, or, ElleC’s Revenge

  1. I see you have grasped my evil plan. As you received the pattern and zipper in separate packages with many months between them, I was certain you would never catch on. Oh well.

    Seriously though, the top came out really well, I love the sleeves, which surprises me, I think they are flattering on you too. For the next time, if there is a next time, couldn’t you move the gathering to the sides and leave the center front gather free? Do you think that would help with the maternity effect?

    • Nope, you’re TOTALLY busted. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well, the gathered section is only at the centre front, so there’s not much room for moving stuff around. I think less to gather, and a fabric with less pouf, would be the answer. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Pleats are the answer-big flat pleat will tame the excess fullness problem. I hope ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. why did you think it needed underling? doesn’t that make the gathering even bulkier? when you raise your arms do you give a ‘free show”? LOL.
    lastly, i think it has wonderful potential for color blocking. black and white would look very smart.

    • Lining, not underlining (this time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I was aiming for a dress and was a little worried that the fabric wouldn’t be sufficiently opaque in the light. And, well, I like a lining. A lot of times I even like a broadcloth lining (like for my last couple of dresses). Just… wrong for this fabric. /sigh.

  4. in all my curiosity, i forgot to say how pretty it is. i think it’s a very flattering length and shape with the gathers pressed that way and the feminine sleeves. will you do this again?

  5. Shams

    Sorry this gave you problems, but it sure is cute on you!

  6. You can rock the maternity top. I think this is the wearable muslin.

  7. Oklahoma Mom

    I hate when clothes give me fits you did a great job though.

  8. Sufiya

    Yes, this WOULD make a great maternity pattern! But aside from that (“empire” style tops ALWAYS tends to give off “expectant”-ish vibes; I would definitely try deep-sixing a good bit of the gathering if possible) it doesn’t look too bad, actually! You might want to take a few extra measurements to keep on hand , such as from “just under the bust down to wherever you prefer your minidresses”; that way you can easily check to see if something is LONG enough while it is still in pattern form!

  9. I really like that top – it looks so comfortable, floaty and pretty and you could totally dress it up with pants and heels if you wanted to

  10. The sleeves are very fluttery and lovely with absolutely no linebacker vibe whatsoever. If you do make it again ditch some of those gathers for sure and my vote is for a gorgeous light (pressable). Yes siree … though the colour here is just purrfect I agree.

  11. I am in love with those flutter sleeves! I can kind of see what you mean about the maternity top look, but I don’t think I would really notice if you didn’t point it out. Definitely wearable muslin!

  12. I thin kit’s really cute- I like the ties in front- maybe a frisky obi belt……

  13. I get why you don’t like it too greatly, but I think it looks better than you anticipate. And I don’t see a hint of linebacker (I’m inclined that way myself so I understand the fear, but I don’t see it here). To me, the odd hemline is really the only hinky part — too short for a dress, a little too long for anything else — but I think you can rock it with fitted pants.

    • As I said, I *think* I’ll like it better once I get over the construction trauma ;). Thanks for the vote of confidence re linebackerism. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The length is a little odd, but I actually don’t mind it visually. I just was hoping for a dress. /sigh.

  14. Joy

    I think it’s very doable tied in front. It’d be great as a maxidress.

    • Yeah, it would be an awesome maxidress. /sigh… I do like the knot in front, although I should’ve added a little more length to the ties. I think it distracts from the gathering, plus I don’t have a big knot in my back when I sit down. ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. Margaret

    Could you please explain what a square shoulder adjustment is? Thanks!

  16. Amy

    I like those sleeves a lot, how they seam toward the front. I never think I’m going to like butterfly sleeves but once I put them on I’m always sold. This is definitely a fun pattern–I hope you go after a mini-dress version. I’d be wearing something like that all summer. Rayon challis has a way of being kind to gathers, too ;).

  17. That looks very Tru Blood (the HBO version-I haven’t read the dead tree version) XD.

  18. I hope time in the Magic Closet does the trick! It really is beautiful on you…

  19. Pingback: Close Encounters of the 4th Kind | Tanit-Isis Sews

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