Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Simplicity 2281 modified

I bought  this striped linen at the beginning of the summer from Fabrics Galore as part of an unplanned fabric splurge. I was drawn to the dark indigo colour and the crisp shiny finish. I thought it would be well suited to one of the designs from Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic, which I have yet to try. However my summer was overtaken by wedding planning and all of a sudden it was August and the fabric was at risk of being relegated to the stash until next spring. After all the effort and painstaking hand sewing that went into my wedding dress I needed to do some simpler sewing from commercial patterns to get my wardrobe back on track. This was neatly brought home to me by a friend asking to borrow a dress for a wedding and me providing a shamefully low number of options- What exactly have I been sewing all this time?

So I decided to make Simplicity 2281 with a few modifications. I made this dress in black linen (see here) and it is a dress  i wear a lot and I knew I could make in a weekend. 

I made version C without the sleeves and substituted the tulip skirt with a full gathered skirt. The bodice of the first version I made was not well fitting and gaped under the arms. This time around I made it more fitted. I had annoyingly lost the pattern piece for the front bodice lining and so redrafted the pattern piece to the size I wanted. The bodice front neckline is gathered to fit so I did not need to change that pattern piece. I also took the side seams in slightly. This ad hoc approach caused me a couple of issues, mainly in areas where I think the pattern is flawed. Firstly the taking in of the bodice meant it would be difficult to get the dress over my head if the top of the side seam is sewn together above the zip as it is in the pattern. I am not sure why this dress does not just have an invisible zip at the back so that it opens up with the neck ties. I am suspicious that the bodice was originally so baggy to allow it to go over the head. I opted for a couple of hook and eyes above zip so that the side opens fully and it is much easier to get on and off.

The back bodice is gathered along the bottom where it joins the waist band and this looks slightly strange with a fitted bodice, but not enough to bother me. I joined the bodice to the neck ties more closely than on the pattern to reduce the neck opening, which again I think was unnecessarily loose. I had planned to line the skirt as well as the bodice, but ran out of time.

As a side note I did not wash the fabric and plan to dry clean this dress in order to maintain the colour of the dress as linen fades so quickly. This is not usually an issue as it is so easy to dye, but doing so would undoubtedly cover the stripes. Does anyone have a better solution to this problem, as I try not to dry clean if possible?


  1. This is really beautiful, and it suits you perfectly.

  2. Thanks Dibs, I really enjoyed wearing this dress.