Friday, 5 May 2017

Wrap dress, Simplicity 2369

After my success with my first wrap top I was inspired to make another garment in the same style and chose one of my other patterns, Simplicity 2369. I do like to wear dresses for work. It is so much simpler to pull on a dress in the morning rather than trying to find matching separates, I think.

I chose this fabric because it was unusual. I had never seen anything like it before and I was really taken with it. It has an old fashioned vibe. The large pale flowers are overlaid with lines of hearts which change colour, from black through purple to red, according to the flower colour underneath. The fabric is a T-shirt weight jersey knit and much lighter in weight than the fabric I used for the knit top. This material was unusual so this was always going to be a bit of an experiment.

I had a look at lots of versions of this dress that other bloggers had made (thank you so much for your advice and experience) and I really didn't like the longer raglan sleeves. I thought they would annoy me and be difficult to fit inside a cardigan when the weather was cool so I opted to make the short flutter sleeves.

I cut out a size 14, which most closely matched my measurements. I had a brief panic after I stitched the centre back seam. The back looked so narrow and I was sure that the dress was going to be too tight. In order to check and decide how much I would need to let out of the back seam I tacked the side seams and roughly put the dress together to try it on, but I had a lovely surprise, it fitted perfectly! So I carried on and sewed it together on my machine.

The instructions with the pattern were clear and easy to follow, except that they were sometimes a bit vague about whether a stretch stitch or regular straight stitch was needed. I used my sewing machine over-lock stitch for all of the side seams and centre back seam but have used a straight stitch to stitch the ties and the neck seams. I will need to see whether these seams last or whether they pop. They feel OK at the moment.

The neck was finished with the same technique as my wrap top but this time it went together much better and there was no need to use stay tape. It was very important to cut the facing across the grain as the pattern instructed. I cut my first facing piece along the grain by mistake and it didn't have enough stretch in it.  The facing had to be stretched quite hard to fit along the neck edge, but now that it is sewn in place it provides tension which holds the cross-over in place without any gaping at all.

The blind hem stitch on my sewing machine was ideal for taking up the hem. I chose not to turn over a double hem on the sleeve edge as the pattern instructions advised but turned up a narrow single hem and finished it with a small zig zag.

I have really enjoyed making this dress and have used a lot of new techniques including sewing facing on a crossover neckline. I especially like the centre back seam and the flattering shape that this creates. I had one of those magical moments where I started with several pieces of limp jersey and as I stitched the pieces together there was a point where they became a three dimensional piece of clothing. I never fail to enjoy this when it happens and it is one of the real pleasures I have in making clothes.

I am so pleased with how this dress looks and feels. It is soft and light and floaty. I love the print and the style. The curved back seam is flattering and I like the short flutter sleeves. The weather has been a bit warmer over the last few days. I have not worn this dress out yet but I am sure that it will become a wardrobe staple in the summer so I am looking forward to some warmer weather soon.

I would really recommend this pattern. I can't understand why I have taken so long to try a wrap dress but I will now be making more!

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