Fellow sewists, I don’t know about you, but before I buy a pattern (and , to be honest, even afterwards) I generally Google it. It’s useful to see how the design has turned out on normal bodies, as opposed to models, what kind of fabrics, they’ve has success with, what sort of problems might have come up (and of course, any solutions I might need to know about).
It was while I was researching Simplicity 1873 that I stumbled on this post on Peneloping and fell in love with her dress, which she had based off the Mia Dress from Dear Creatures. And I figured I could do it too! My version, I decided, would have sleeves, because I don’t do the sleeveless thing so well. Something about the tops of my arms and shoulders is weird. So I opted for the very cute pleated cap sleeves. The fabric I used was a navy stretch acrylic, so I totally nixed the zip, and also the lining. This meant I had to figure out a new way to finish the sleeves- the pattern calls for fully lined sleeves, and I considered doing a lining for *just* the sleeves, but then realised it would probably be a bit bulky. Since I was doing the striping around the neck with bias tape, I decided to finish the sleeves with it too, for a matchy effect.
Doing the neckline was a bit tricky, since I was working with a photo and had decided to go with the higher neckline, instead of the scoop.My bias design is a bit higher over my bust than the original (and the original copy). I don’t think it makes thaaaaaat much of a difference and I luuurve the high neckline (but only ‘cos it’s in stretch. High necklines in woven fabrics make me panicky and claustrophobic).
(Excuse the wobbly photo, I was in a rush to photograph this so I didn’t lie it nice and flat). As you can see I used my twin needle to attach white cotton double fold bias tape, which I had measured and basted pretty much by looking at the photo and guessing where to put it. It’s a bit bumpy when on the hanger, But on my it stretches and fits exactly right.
I had finished the dress- right up to the blind hem (number 2! and still without a blind hem foot) but it didn’t feel quite done yet. Upon reflection, I decided that it was because the extra bias tap on the sleeves had started a “theme” that wasn’t carried all the way through the dress. The solution? 2 nice nautical stripes of bias tape around the hem. I din’t have enough- I realised I’d need almost 6 metres of the stuff- so the dress was out on hold until I could head over to the Cape Sewing Centre.
I used the line of my hem to line up the top stripe, then measured a space of just under 1cm with my gauge and some chalk all the way around to use as a guide for the second stripe. I hand- basted both stripes in, then sewed them in with the twin needles again. It was much harder going because of the extra thickness from the hem, so my stitch lengths were a bit varied.
The hem stripes had an unexpected advantage, because they added a bit of structure and fullness to the hem, So it hangs almost like I’ve got a petticoat under there, and is super-twirly. I’m really happy with the way this dress turned out, and I can’t wait for it get warmer so I can actually wear it.