Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238

Here’s a more true-to-life (or at least, true to the pattern illustration) version of Simplicity 5238:

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 dress

I actually bought this fabric yonks ago. I bought it in early autumn and thought it was too summery, and then it suffered from a lot of being “too” other stuff, as well. It was too heavy for a regular shirtdress, and then too stripey for some patterns that would have required more matching than my laziness allowed, and then once I started playing with Simplicity 5238, I was all, “hello there, sorry you’ve been languishing in the back of the fabric closet, time to come out and play!”

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 bodice

Even though it is VERY stripey, it’s not too bad to match with this pattern:

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 center bodice

The major departure from your bog-standard Simplicity 5238 is the addition of front slash pockets, of course:

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 pocket

I’ve decided, after a few iterations, that center back zippers are horrible. At least, my implementation of this one is:

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 terrible back zipper

Center back waist turned out mostly okay. Go figure.

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 okay at waist

The stripes did something interesting (I’m CALLING it interesting, therefore it is INTERESTING and not ‘off’) on the back bodice:

Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238 back view

I’m also telling myself that the V there makes my back waist seem smaller (although honestly, I gave up really trying to optically-illuse my Actual Body™ away ages ago) and also that nobody will notice the weird hiccup at the bottom of the zipper because the pattern is so darn busy.

I ended up calling this the Cinco de Mayo dress because I coincidentally wore it for the first time on Cinco de Mayo,  running errands in the Mission, so I got a  lot of very nice compliments on it from people who were, for the most part, only MILDLY inebriated. I believe this would an excellent dress to attack a piñata in, should you be so inclined — the armholes are very deep, so you should be able to get some good whacks in without worrying about tearing out a sleeve. Also, you’ll match both the tissue paper AND the candy.

Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaid

Been forever since I posted a new dress, huh? I’ve done a teeny bit of sewing since October, but only got around to taking some pictures last weekend, or maybe weekend before last?

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This dress is all sorts of mashup. The bodice is McCall’s 6727, only with the neckline taken up an inch or so. And I didn’t do a facing — instead, it’s a mitred bias binding (first time I’ve ever tried this):

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The fabric is wool, maybe with a little cotton in it — bought it so long ago I’m not sure. I believe it was an Anna Sui bolt end from Fabric Mart Fabrics. (It gets a little linty, as you can see here.) Pockets got piped in the same binding — it’s a really nice twill binding I bought at Britex.

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I could have done a better job matching the plaid, especially along the back center. I kind of just said “eh, I’ll hardly ever see it, whatever”:

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The skirt is a heavily modded Simplicity 5238. Honestly, I’ve traced and altered that skirt pattern so many times now that I’m not sure I can call it Simplicity 5238 now. I think I would have to call it “from the school of Simplicity 5238” at best.

Zipper:
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This dress is *warm*, and very comfortable, and the longer skirt length is nice with boots.

Lots of things have been keeping me away from blogging, but I did write a little thing here at The Pastry Box you might enjoy.

(Oh and the titles are from here.)

Dots at Liberty

Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) bodice

I don’t think I’ve posted about this yet — it’s a hybrid Frankendress of Liberty Schlesinger (which I’ve used before and still think looks like a cricket-ball print) with the bodice from Simplicity 2452 and the same skirt (only deeper pleats) as this dress (Simplicity 5238). Okay, that was confusing. Perhaps the pictures will make it easier:

Here’s the (added) side pockets and side zipper:
Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) pocket

The deep back pleat in the skirt:
Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) back skirt

The collar (you can see the mustardy bias tape I used to finish it — probably should have used gray. (It matched more in my head.)
Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) front collar and facing

I used the Fashion Incubator method on this collar, and it rolled really nicely at the edge:
Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) collar

Here’s the whole back view:
Schlesinger Liberty (Simplicity 2452) back view

I made this three different times early this spring but I suppose I never got around to posting them? A search doesn’t turn anything up. I have pictures of the other two as well, so I’ll try to get them up soon.

Piping Merrily Along

This dress is all about the piping:
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 piping closeup

Okay, it’s also about being in one of my all-time favorite Liberty prints, Mark, but mostly it’s about this gathered-shoulder silhouette:
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 bodice with piping

And if you’re going to pipe the shoulder seams, you must pipe the pockets as well (it’s the law):
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 pocket

The shoulder piece makes this really nicely satisfying curved seam at the back neck (ignore my rolling-facing issues):
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 back bodice closeup

The shoulder/sleeve has a turnunder for hemmish purposes, which is a feature I always like. Makes things simpler:

Here’s the back view, a bit wrinkly as I wore this for a few hours before taking these pictures:
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 back view

Last but not least, the full front view:
Liberty Mark Simplicity 2389 dress

This pattern is Simplicity 2389 (well, for the bodice, the skirt is that much-adjusted Simplicity 5238). (All rollover text in this post from the Piping Design Handbook.)

There’s still something wonky going on with the side bodice seams, and the fabric is a bit light for the deep front pleat, but I really like this dress. It’s very light and comfortable without feeling skimpy (although the front V is slightly lower than I usually wear). The sleeves are great for full range of motion (have you realized that too-tight armholes are one of my pet peeves, yet?)

There’s another version of this in a heart-print voile, that’s in pieces on my sewing table — hope to have it finished and posted soon.

Another Frankendress

Liberty Matches Frankendress

So this is the same pattern (or lack thereof) as the last dress, only in this Liberty fabric that I adore. Look, they’re little matches! (It’s called “Strike” and Shaukat still has some in the green colorway which is *almost* as adorable.)
Liberty Matches Frankendress Bodice

Because Tana lawn is so light, I piped the pockets:

Liberty Matches Frankendress Pocket
The zipper’s not terrible:

Liberty Matches Frankendress zipper

Unfortunately, this dress suffers from some of the same problems as the last version. Plus a few more, for variety!

Something is wonky with the back neck:
Liberty Matches Frankendress Back Neck

And oh lord the hem. This is terribly wrong:

Liberty Matches Frankendress Hem

 

This bodice is the one from my old friend Simplicity 1577, minus the collar, plus this new heavily-altered Simplicity 5238 skirt that I am obsessed with. (You can see yet another version here.)

I haven’t yet followed through on all the suggestions from the last post (THANK YOU THEY ARE SO HELPFUL) with the exception of having purchased and read the Betzina Fast Fit book, which I think will be very useful. Especially for that back hem thing, which is even slightly worse on, if you can imagine it.

I managed to take a lot of long-overdue pictures this past Sunday, so you’ll be seeing some new dresses this week!

Conscious Incompetence

photo by LESLIE DELA VEGA
This photo was taken last Friday by the very nice Leslie Dela Vega, of OZY, for this article. She was super-nice about taking photos, and I hope I was nice back, even though I really really hate having my picture taken.

I’m glad she took this photo, even though I don’t think it’s all that flattering, because now I can show you this style of dress I’ve been working on, badly!

So for year and years and years I’ve been doing really only minor alterations to patterns, switching out a skirt here, adding pockets there. But lately I’ve been SERIOUSLY modding patterns, and doing it … badly. In other words, I am at the stage of “Conscious Incompetence” as laid out here.

The dress above (in a just-enough remnant of Liberty poplin) is the bodice from Simplicity 1577, with added length (and sadly, added girth, more on that in a minute) and the skirt from Simplicity 5238, with added front-slash pockets AND added girth AND added depth of front pleat AND a slight adjustment to the back skirt length to account for some junk-in-the-trunk issues.

If you can ignore the fact that I’m pulling the side seams askew by shoving my hands in my pockets like that, you can see that this dress is still a little off. I don’t think I’m good at the alterations I’m trying yet, and it’s irritating. I know that the only thing to do is to DO IT MORE, and PRACTICE MORE, and READ MORE TUTORIALS ON THE INTERNET, but … I don’t have that much time, and I had to update my wardrobe a bit because of some aforementioned girth issues.

[Short aside on girth issues … I had some back/hip pain, which led me to start lifting weights to strengthen what they so cheerfully call my “core”, which always makes me think of nuclear reactors, somehow, which led to me slacking off on running, which means … girth. Back pain is mostly gone, hip flexor pain is mostly gone — if I don’t do stupid things — and I now can back squat and deadlift 200 lbs, always fun at parties … but I’m a good bit heavier than I’d like to be. All my extra fat seems to have huddled in my midsection for warmth and protection.]

And it’s remarkably hard to find instructions on how to adjust bodice patterns for a large waist! It’s not quite just adding inches to the side seams, somehow. I think there must be some way to add to the center front and back as well without messing with the bust darts too much, but it’s eluding me (and my large library of alterations books). Conscious Incompetence, again! Anyone have any hints, pointers, lovingly-created diagrams?

After doing about half a dozen of these full-teardown altered pattern mashups, I think I really, really have to put in the time and effort to make a sloper. (And relatedly, start running again!) I think a lot of what I’d like to make would just be easier if I were working from a sloper, instead of sort-of-sloping-off a bodice pattern I like. Any pointers to the most painless sloper creation, while I’m here asking for helpful suggestions?

I’ll try to get a few more pictures taken this weekend of some of the other teardown/mashups — I’ve done three now with a collar (pattern reference eluding me at the moment), and two with the bodice from this pattern (the no-collar version), which is really nice.

As abashed as I am about the not-quite-rightness of these new mashup dresses, it is a little exciting to be trying new things again. I love a challenge, even when I’m not exactly rising to meet it …

Kicking the tires

Hey, a new dress:
Altered Simplicity 5238

This is Simplicity 5238, with a few little changes. Mainly, pockets:

added pockets Simplicity 5238

I tried plain side-seam pockets first, but they hung badly, and lately I’ve been really into this style of pockets (inset? not actually sure what to call them). They can be a bit of a pain to add, especially if the skirt has pleats or gathers, but they’re worth the munging and hacking.

Here’s the pattern pieces (the dress above has v1):
pocket pieces

Oh I suppose you want to see the (badly pressed) back, huh? I don’t usually do a center back zipper, but:
back zip Simplicity 5238

I also had some fun with the neck and sleeve facings:
inner facings 2 Simplicity 5238

This is an incredibly comfortable dress — really easy to wear (especially with the deeper pockets). I have also made it in dark denim and am thinking about another color of denim, or maybe even liberating some of my stash of Liberty twill.

I’m also looking for a dress with similar lines to this one to make in softer fabrics, like silk — something with scoop pockets but gathers, I think, and a soft kimono-sleeved bodice. Anything come to mind? (Remember, I’m awfully lazy and hate drafting things …)

(Also! This is the first post at my  new blog host, the very very nice WPEngine.com. Highly recommended. With any luck this should solve some of the “stuck” posts issues and commenting problems … please let me know if not!)