Tag Archives: Simplicity 5549

Funnygrrl’s Dress (the Making Of)


Pattern & Fabric

Whew! That Promaballoona really took it out of me. I need a weekend after my weekend.

Ok, so, finally, here is the actual post about the making of  Simplicity 5549, view B, otherwise known as the Funnygrrl Dress.

This dress was perfect for several reasons—cute, shaped empire waist, relatively straight hem, and, most importantly for this project, it would fit on the 1.5 m of fabric I had at my disposal. WIN.

I made the size 12, with all my usual alterations—petite (both at the shoulder and 3 cm  removed above the waist in the skirt), square shoulder, and swayback. Lots and lots of swayback. I probably could’ve gotten away without the square shoulder—I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t bother with that one for strappy, narrow-shouldered patterns. Other than that, the alterations worked great!

I cut out the bodice in my “lining fabric” (aka white bedsheet from the thrift store) and basted it up quickly to check the fit, making a few minor tweaks. The most significant was to lower the neckline. I dropped it 2 cm, and widened a little bit as well—3 or 4 cm would’ve been fine. It was very, ah, demure. I should probably have paid a little more attention to the length of the “shorter” skirt on the model, as well. It reaches easily to the bottom of her knee, which is a good two or three inches longer than I like. I don’t usually pay attention to skirt lengths since I always figure I’ll just hem it at the end, but of course that’s not how it works with a border embroidery motif. D’oh.


Obviously, the dress needed black piping on the bodice to go with the black embroidery on the skirt. Pipe, pipe pipety pipe.  I am pleased to report that not only has the last of the black piping Claire sent me last winter been used up, but it was used up with only inches to spare (as you can see in the photo). I tried to be very careful not to stretch the piping while sewing, this time, lest I end up with puckery fabric. This worked well, but since I ended up with a fair bit of gapiness at the underarm, I’m thinking some pulling might’ve been in order, at least there.


I confess, I did not even look at the instructions for this dress. I promise when I have a little more time for sewing, I will start reading instructions again. In this case, I figured a construction order just like the Sewaholic Cambie would work just fine (only backwards)—and it did. Did I mention I really like the back of this dress? The straps widen and angle in towards the middle and it’s REALLY CUTE. Not to mention bra-strap covering, for those of you for whom that is a major issue. Also, unlike the Spiderman Dress, I think I nailed the swayback adjustment this time. WOOT! Having the extra darts for shaping certainly helps, too.

Look at that back fit!

Halfway through construction I realized I had no idea if I had any kind of suitable zipper or not. Some diving through the stash produced another vintage, metal-toothed invisible zipper in an off white colour. Not perfect, but close enough for an invisible zipper, especially if the alternative was delaying construction until I can visit a fabric store. I am trying really hard to avoid fabric stores right now. I’ve started packing up my stash for our pending move, and it’s, ah, traumatic.

Full length

I did zero matching of the embroidered motifs. I considered it for about half a second, but frankly, I was lucky to get the dress out of the amount of fabric I had period. There was only about 3″ of wiggle room along the width of the hem, not enough to match anything


I gotta say, it’s easy to quibble about little things like the gaping under the arm and the length of the skirt, but really—I am so stoked over how this turned out. The back is AWESOME. The fit over the hips is close but good. It’s cute, not too over the top, and easy to wear. I love the back, not something I usually get to say. So yeah! I’m going to call it a win. 🙂

Nothing procrastinates like procrastination…

Thanks, Funnygrrl! 



Filed under Sewing

Funnygrrl’s Dress—The Meetup

Funnygrrl & I

My fellow Cow Town citizen, Funnygrrl, who blogs at Falling Through Your Clothes, and I first met up (after a LOT of missed opportunities) last spring, for a very exciting fabric-shop and coffee date, where she gave me a bit of rather pretty fabric and I talked her into buying a rather expensive serger.

Now, my fairly intense enabling aside, Funnygrrl first presented two pieces of fabric, both lovely linens with an identical embroidered border motif—one in black with white embroidery, one in white with black. I would take one, she would take the other, and at some point in the future we would have lovely “twin” dresses to remember each other by.


Well, as they say, The Future Is Now. A little while back, as the panic of my impending move descended, I realized if I wanted to have the twin dress meetup, as fantasized, before hundreds of kilometres come to separate us, I had better get stitching. So I put on my big girl panties and started cutting Simplicity 5549. By some miracle, Funnygrrl’s head was in the same place, and when I emailed her to let her know I was cutting fabric, we wound up being able to schedule a quick coffee to catch up and photograph our dresses together, as nature intended. Now, I actually have a whole post written up about the dress itself, but when I tried to glom the meetup onto it, it was just getting long, so I’ll post that one tomorrow. Or maybe after the Promaballoona dust settles.

I am an angelic presence, apparently. My camera really did not like the lighting in there.

Funnygrrl and I met up at a local indoor garden (actually the top floor of a mall) called the Devonian Gardens, where us pale, sun-starved northerners can go to pretend we’re somewhere, well, other than the cold and frozen north (which isn’t cold and frozen at this time of year, although it was chilly and rainy, hence my tights.) I was all excited by the name, and while the garden itself is beautiful, I must confess to a teeny, tiny bit of disappointment that none of my favourite transitional fossils were making an appearance.* But other than that it was lovely, especially since it was pretty grey and chilly outside.

Big Wall Of Green. Funnygrrl’s camera handles my dress somewhat better than mine.

Very big. Very green. Very wall.

Fun in the (artificial) sun

It’s probably just as well you can’t see my dress very well—I’d been wearing it all day and was definitely sporting the rumpled linen look, although it didn’t get quite as bad as I had feared it might.

Funnygrrl & Tanit-Isis

Funnygrrl even brought spanky blog shoes to change into for the photos—clever woman! I am wearing my ubiquitous, desperately-need-to-be-replaced ballet flats. In fairness, they didn’t need to be replaced desperately until last weekend, when I forgot my water shoes and wound up spending the whole day wading in the river, wearing them. Oops. Do you have blog shoes? I confess, I have a whole box.

Thanks, Funnygrrl!

Photo credit for these goes to Funnygrrl (except for the one where my dress is looking truly angelic), since a) her camera’s better than mine, and b) it’s silly enough having one person running around working the self-timer, never mind both of us. So I mostly let her do it.

Oh, aside from taking photos like a pair of tourists in oddly complementary outfits, we sat and talked. And talked and talked. Until it started getting dark on us, basically. I love hanging with sewing peeps.

Acanthostega, a Devonian tetrapod with gills, toes, and a tail-fin.

*Er. It occurs to me that that was probably even more obscure than my usual run-of-the-mill science jokes. So the Devonian Period is a stage of geological history that happened roughly between 400 and 350 million years ago. It was marked by the evolution of the first full-canopy forest ecosystems and, most interestingly from a vertebrate-centric point of view, the first land vertebrates. Panderichthys, Tiktaalik, and Acanthostega are progressively less fish-like examples of the fish-tetrapod transition, which happened in the late Devonian and has to be one of the neatest “events” in evolutionary history. And Acanthostega had eight toes. Does it get any cooler than that?


Filed under Sewing