I love this dress. No, I adore this dress.
What do you get when you put a fabulous piece of fabric togther with Simplicity 3833? This gorgeous dress is the answer. The fabric is buttery soft, was a dream to sew and this pattern is just incredibly flattering.
My new favourite dress.
I found a small piece (1.2m) of this beautifully soft cotton twill in my favourite fabric shop here in Chania. The label said Dolce and Gabana and as to whether it really is or not I don’t know but it is fantastic quality for sure. I love the print and it was a dream to sew and absolutely gorgeous to wear. I’d say it’s a jacket weight twill really but as I had just over a metre to play with I knew I’d only have enough for a skirt or maybe a dress. I wanted to really show off the fabric so Simplicity 60s vintage reissue 3833 it had to be. I’ve always loved shift dresses but I’d also come to the conclusion that they didn’t look that great on me. This baby, however, is extremely flattering and it really is a fab pattern.
I made quite a few alterations as usual – broad back, low round back/protruding shoulder blades and swayback. I started with a 10 shoulders and bust and a 12 waist and hip. My measurements are a 14 for waist/hip but the dress is plenty big enough. What’s interesting is that I didn’t have to shorten the bodice between shoulder and bust which is pretty much standard for me. They obviously really did draft things differently back then and I’m pleased they didn’t change the original draft when they reissued it.
High necklines don’t do me any favours so I lowered it a good 2″ and I shortened the dress 3″ from the longest cutting line.
I had issues with the bust dart seam. A case of extremely pointy bust dart points right over my bust point at the muslin stage told me that I needed to shorten the dart and seam lines. I thought 1/2″ would do but no, the pointy problem was still there and very noticeable! I really thought the dress was going to be unwearable and that I’d ruined my lovely fabric but I persevered and I took the dart back as far as I could (another 3/4″). Pressing the seam open helped too but I had almost no seam allowance to play with after shortening the dart so I had to press the seam upwards as instructed. I will shorten the dart on my pattern by 1″ I think and redraw the dart seam and it should be perfect.
I didn’t have enough fabric for the facings (and it would have been too bulky anyway) so I used bias binding and adjusted the seam allowances on the neckline and armhole accordingly (1/4″).
I used Grainline Studio’s method which in essence treats the binding exactly as you do a facing, understitching and all.
I added twill tape to the shoulder seam and I had to add a 1/4″ bias binding extension to my CB seam allowances. I’d trimmed all my seam allowances down to 3/8″ to fit the pattern onto my fabric but forgot that a lapped zip needs 5/8″. I think it looks quite pretty though.
My zip went in fine apart from me bodging the top a bit. I had to hand sew it to get it to look ok-ish and I added a hook and thread bar at the top. I never know how far from the top to place the top stop of the zip and even more so here because I only had a 1/4″ seam allowance. Anyway, I think the rest of the zip looks lovely.
The last thing I did before hemming was to take 5″ or so of fullness out of the skirt. I wanted a bit less drape and a bit more 60s. I think view C on the pattern envelope give a true representation of what the final skirt part of the dress will look like.
I will definitely make this dress again and here is my cunning plan….
…….. I’ll make up in a less show-stopping print, perhaps colour-blocked
…….. I think a lining (perhaps a one piece facing and lining combination) would give the shoulders more support.
…….. Stay stitching for the armholes as well as neckline is a must.
Well, that’s it. I love my dress and I feel fantastic when I wear it. Two side notes before I go – have you heard of Oonapalooza organised by the Sewcialists? Sewing projects inspired by Oona are popping up all over the place and it’s lots of fun I think. Secondly, have you noticed how my fabric is weirdly similar to view B on the pattern envelope just with a 2014 twist. Maybe my dress was just meant to be!