It’s the end of May, and although I’ve not been too active on here in terms of blog posts, I have been avidly following everyone who has taken part in Me Made May this year! Such a variety of outfits, style and stories behind each piece. Well done to everyone who took part, I’m hoping I can get my bottom into gear, make some clothes and be able to make a pledge next year!
Anyhoo, I’m guessing you’d like to see my entry into the Simpliticty Blogger Challenge! I love a good challenge, and I needed a boost to get me into sewing something more substantial than cushions or dress refashions. I’ve been busy with my latest move, and getting my fitness back on track with my running so my sewing corner has been a little abandoned…When I found out that Simplicity were challenging sewing bloggers so that they could crown 3 people as Simplicity’s Star Sewists, I instantly wanted to get involved! I sent in my details and confirmed I wanted to participate in the “Best Dressmaking Project” and I was sent a free pattern of New Look 6145 – Misses’ Shift Dress.
This pattern is fantastic as it has a variety of sleeves (including sleeveless) and the option to include a collar or go collarless.
The challenge allows you to do whatever you want to the pattern, if you choose to, and to experiment with fabrics and trims. There are no rules (except the ones you set yourself), so you can literally do whatever you want. I read some previous reviews on this pattern and measured myself against the finished measurements on the back of the pattern. This pattern was probably going to come up quite big, so I cut the size 8 out and decided I could use a smaller seam allowance around the hips if necessary for my peary-ness. I also decided to go for the plain short sleeves, the pleated sleeves looked good in the photo but I really wanted to make something that I’d LOVE to wear and these sleeves will be much more me. Plus, with the fabric I’d chosen, the sleeves might have been a little overpowering. In my opinion, a simple shape and sleeve would be much more suited to this fabric:
Beautiful, isn’t it? Shift dresses although simple in shape and loose fit are always best suited in bright colourful fabrics, in my opinion. I saw this fabric on a trip to Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, London and fell in love. I almost walked out of the shop empty handed, but then turned back and asked for 2 meters of this and a jersey onto knit. I knew this fabric would be perfect for this pattern, I’m not really sure what it is but it’ll be comfortable to wear for work and is dressy enough to be worn out for dinner and drinks! I hadn’t made a note of the zip length required for this pattern when I went into London, so I visited my local haberdashery for the concealed zip… And then they didn’t have any! Never fear, I picked up a regular one in purple and decided I wasn’t too bothered if you could see the zip, it could be a design feature!
I cut out the relevant pattern pieces, placed and pinned them onto the fabric and then realised I’d never really worked with patterned fabric before… And so the challenge began. I unpinned all of the pattern pieces and re-folded my fabric so that the pattern would symmetrical on the front and back of the dress and on the sleeves. What a bloody close call that was!
The next part of the challenge was following the instructions. I know how to draft patterns (I specialised in menswear pattern drafting but haven’t had the space or time to draft anything for womenswear just yet so I know I need a little practice) so in regards to make-up I just kinda went with the flow and made it up as I went along. I wanted to see if I could follow instructions (I can but I’m not very good at it) and how lazy I would normally be in comparison. What I didn’t count on was the fact that not everything is spelt out. There were some edges they specifically told you to edge finish but everything else was upto you… Which means, in my excitement, I didn’t think about how I’d be finishing my seam allowances on the shoulder and facing seams. It was only upon reflection that I realised I was supposed to make this decision! I decided, seeing as I’d be using a white thread for my hem and cuffs, that I could add some top stitching detail onto the shoulders, and I actually quite like it! All other edges were finished on my handy little 3-thread over locker. I did need to reduce the seam allowance slightly from the hips to the hem just to give me a little extra wiggle room (AKA ease to sit down) and I also cut quite a lot off the length and eliminated the pleat at the CB, I wouldn’t be needing that anymore.
This dress was fun to make, and quick and easy too! I’m looking forward to making different variations of the sleeves and maybe I’ll give the collar a go one day too. Most of all I’ll be taking this on holiday with me in 2 weeks time, the colours are summery and fun and I’ll be able to show off my unique creation. So here is the finished dress and some detail shots, including my little label on the back neck facing:
I took my time stitching this garment together, and tried to make the finish really neat. Most importantly, I’ve learned a lot following this pattern; yes I can still put a garment together in a few hours but there is so much more that goes into making a beautiful garment and instead of rushing something for a quick finish, you can actually enjoy each stage and be truly proud of the finished item!
Part of me does wish I’d been more creative with the pattern itself, but I’m really happy with the finish, the fit and the fact whenever I put it on, I just want to dance!
Time taken to complete: Approximately 9-10hours, spaced out over a few evenings.
Cost: Pattern: Free from Simplicity; Fabric & Interfacing: £10; Zip: £3.50. Total: £13.50!!!
Sewing playlist: Anything from the KISSTORY app to R1 Dance Anthems to Friends and Dinner Date as interesting background noise.
In the run up to the deadline (which incidentally is today! Oops!), I’ve seen so many amazing entries on Instagram and in my WordPress Newsfeed, and this challenge has virtually introduced me to even more sewing bloggers. I’m so happy I took part, and would like to wish everyone good luck with their entries!