Sunday, April 24, 2016

Simplicity 8085 Orange Gingham and Possible UFO!

Be warned: I have not completed this dress as you will find out the reasons below. It may become another UFO (there definitely seems to be an X-Files theme going on here!) Also, we just got a new camera so there are A LOT of pictures on this post (thank you to my pho-tag husband).

So here is the nitty gritty on the dress!

But before the dress a doggy picture! We have recently moved into a new home, and I get a whole sewing room all to myself in the basement! Here is one of my little puppies Elvis that keeps me company. Notice how many beds he has out for him, spoiled much?

The Bodice-

The pattern was very easy to cut out. I added about 2" to the shoulder seam (bad idea as you will later find out) bc there was no other places I could lengthen the bodice. I wanted to make sure there was enough wiggle room in the arm hole to get my sleeve on comfortably. And being so tall I usually always add 1-1.5" to the bodice.

I created the pleats using the artist tape trick and reminded myself how rusty I have gotten with sewing. Apparently taking a year off sewing is NOT like riding a bike!

After I created the bodice pleats and attached them at the shoulder seam. I basted the sides to see how it would fit. I am always skeptical of a wrap dress fit that is held together with snaps. Like these better be some industrial strength snaps that would hold a sail down in a hurricane, and even then the snaps may not be strong enough to hold the dress on.  

Wanting to know the general fit of the bodice before adding the sleeves I "tried it on". This is an interesting dress because you put it on like a backwards bathrobe. After trying to get my husband to show me where the end tabs hit and how it wrapped I put it on my manikin to see the fit (now I am a little worried on how you even put on this dress). I am also concerned about the V at the back. I need to take out the side seams to 1/2" seam allowance (vs the 5/8") and I am worried the V will be too deep and it will show my bra, and who wants that?? (And this is the point I should have stopped and fixed the length)  

I basted on the sleeves i drafted using Simplicity 4116. The sleeve pattern had you gather the top, but I really dislike "poofy" sleeves. I just applied it to the arm opening. It was too tight to begin with. I have rather generous (I was trying to think of a nice way to say it lol) biceps so sleeves are always a pain. I unpicked the sleeve and tried again. The second time I added a line of basting to ease in the sleeve. I made some notes on placement, and third time was the charm with the fit.  Once I figured out how the sleeve went on I took it off and added bias tape at the cuff to match the other details of the dress. The remaining raw seam in the pit got folded over to match the seam allowance in the sleeve. 
Copied the sleeve from Simplicity 4116. I made it a bit longer as I like the top of my arms covered.

I wish I had mad sleeve setting skills!

I swear I do not sew in a real padded room, just an unfinished basement!
The Skirt-
I am not super pleased with how the seam is right in the middle of this skirt, especially with a pattern like the one I selected. It is too bad you can't cut the pattern on the fold but the skirt sweep is way too big. I basted the skirt to the bodice and then recruited my husband to help me test the fit. Trying to translate "does the right edge of the bodice reach the left dart?" into husband speech turned into "does this side hit that line on the left?" All was well in fit land so the skirt got put on permanently. 

After the "does this fit" dance with my husband I opted to use large hook and eyes for the 2 main closures. I figured if it took 2 people to test the fit, I may need to secure the dress with something a little more substantial than a snap.  And needless to say I wouldn't want a wardrobe malfunction on the dance floor! I used simple snaps for the 3 closures on the skirt. These really are only cosmetic as the 2 points at the waist band do all the structural support. I go and check how the dress would fit with the hook and eye closures and began to  question how anyone who is not a contortionist could easily get into this dress. I had to first do the inside clasp on without the sleeves up, turn the dress the right way, put the sleeves on, and then do up the second clasp. Not sure how one would do this with simple snap. 

Finally, the final details. Many people know I sew and when they find  "old" sewing items they gift them to me. Such was the case for these little snaps. Aren't they the cutest? I love vintage sewing packaging.  

I am also thinking that I am not going to tie a bow like the pattern suggests for the seam detail. I am worried that if I tie a bow my perfectionist will not like how it comes out and it may look a little bulky. But will do the bow trick I use for creating wreaths: make a fish shape and then put another piece of the ribbon, or in this case bias tape, in the middle. I tried to include a picture about what I am talking about.

So I finally  try it on again to make sure the snaps would sit correctly on the skirt. I was not pleased on how the outside clasp looked, on the pattern envelope it was one continuous line down the back, but mine has an unnatural turn. I am chalking it up to sewer error. This cress has a covered belt pattern with it so I am not too worried, maybe anther bow? After I got over the choppy line, I looked in the mirror and moved about. The back flaps looked like I was trying to take off! I tried to add a pleat in the back and it looked like I was just trying to fix a badly fit dress. I think I was in denial from the first fitting of this dress.  So I admitted defeat and put it away for the time being. I find if I take a break from a dress giving me a headache I go back at it with a better state of mind. So when I come back to it I need to  unpick shoulder, bias tape, and sleeve. Reduce the sleeve length at shoulder and ease sleeves back to fit the size adjustment. Then adjust the bias tape all the way down the back.

Unless all of you out in sewing-interwebs can think of some other ideas?? Anything?

Of note, my husband and mom think that this dress may cause a "flap" no matter if I even resize the shoulder seams because the dress has no real closures. Here is the picture of the flap I am talking about:

Ahhhhh my bra!! And a loose thread...  
So I have not completed the dress, I figured I would see if anyone out there had additional advise about the fitting, or if they think maybe it is the dress style. But here is the dress not hemmed and minus the cute bows.


  1. It's a great dress, but I see what you mean. Maybe if you wear it backwards your husband will have a different opinion - sorry I'm new here. I should mind my manners. Really though, the only thing I can think of is adding a narrow wedge shaped piece that would have the point up in the shoulder seam near the neck and the wider end at the tie. It would make the back a little busier - would have to lay the fabric and binding in for pretend to see what you thought. Also, love the dark binding strip going down the back. What an elegant flair.

    1. Haha I actually "LOL'd" with the turning around comment! And I was actually thinking about a "dickie" type insert for the dress! But then I thought it may take away from the back. I also just thought of wearing a camisole under it too!