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 Highly recommended. With any luck this should solve some of the “stuck” posts issues and commenting problems … please let me know if not!)

The Hundred Dresses: Day 43

This is another Simplicity 5723 (I posted it earlier, with terrible pictures):

Despite really liking 1) this pattern and 2) green denim I’ve been a bit “meh” on this dress. Although one of the things I like about sewing with denim is how it whitens at the edges with wear:

green denim Simplicity 5723 neck view

Here’s the zip, which is really not good. I should re-do it, but I’d have to redo the seam on the other side to get the ease to fix it, and … well, it hasn’t made the top of the to-do list yet. (It hasn’t actually gotten ON the to-do list yet.)

Simplicity green denim 5723 side zipper

My favorite part of this dress is the camouflage pocket linings:

Simplicity 5723 camo pockets

I was going to make camo bias tape for the sleeve finishing as well, but, um, I didn’t.

green denim Simplicity 5723 sleeve finishing

Here’s the back view, which, in line with the rest of the kind of lick-and-a-promise I gave this dress, didn’t get settled on the dress form properly.

green denim Simplicity 5723 back view

I can’t believe we’re this far into the the hundred dresses posts … getting close to halfway! And thanks to you all, The Hundred Dresses book is doing nicely, too — some very kind reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 12

Today’s dress is a survivor dress. It’s a Simplicity 1577, made in mid-weight dark blue (almost black) denim:

Denim 1577

But wait, you say. Didn’t that Simplicity 1577 pattern have a collar? Why yes, it did:

Denim 1577

And I did a nice Liberty-print undercollar for it, too:

Denim 1577

And the pockets:

Denim 1577

But unfortunately, I didn’t think to use Fray-Check and the collar raveled pretty much immediately. (Moral: always use Fray-Check
on raveling fabrics!) No worries, I just took it off and finished the neck edge with some bias binding.

But that’s not the only reason why this dress is a survivor — it also made it through a bike accident I had in SF last year. Here’s where I landed in the street — my keys were in the pocket and keys+acceleration+denim+tarmac = abrasion damage:

Denim 1577

I was pretty lucky — the driver stopped, I had no injury other than a few scrapes (I was wearing a helmet, of course!) and I even got right back on my bike and rode the four more miles to my meeting. (For the SF-curious, this was in the traffic circle on Townsend … which I walk my bike through now.)

Here’s the back — you’d never guess anything had ever happened, would you?

Denim 1577

I still wear this all the time, even with the little bit of fraying on the skirt panel (and a bit of fraying up near the top of the pocket, although I can’t blame that on the bike accident). It’s nice to be reminded both that 1) you’re tougher than you think and 2) be careful!


Olive Drab Simplicity 5723

I have a couple more Simplicity 5723 exemplars to post — here’s one, in a dim and fuzzy photo:
Simplicity 5723

The pockets on this one are lined in camouflage:

Simplicity 5723

Ignore the unclipped threads, if you please. They’re gone now …

Simplicity 5723

That’s more what the color looks like — it’s green denim from my trusty friends at FabricMart Fabrics.

I’ve been wearing this one with a bright orange sweater and belt — that’s my idea of fun. This dress in denim is a dream to wear, very comfortable yet stiff enough to hold its shape. I have some maroon denim that will soon find an incarnation in this pattern, and I’m really, really toying with the idea of a white denim dress. I don’t think I’ve had an all-white dress since high school graduation. I’m completely sure that after ten minutes on my person, it would no longer be an all-white dress, yet still I persist in this fantasy of a white denim dress. Talk me out of it?

Another Favorite Redux

Remember Simplicity 1577? I made it in heavy seersucker a while back, and have nearly worn that one to death, so I figured it was time for another version: 

Although I'm not a jeans person, I do like heavy denim dresses. They feel very utilitarian-competent. I'm pretty sure I could shingle a roof, raise chickens, or rivet a fighter jet in this dress. There is one problem in making them — you can't self-face collars in heavy denim, so you have to find some other fabric to use:

Good thing I have lots of Liberty scraps lying around, right? 

Ditto for the pockets: 

It's a dark black denim (cue Michael Penn) and I've been wearing it with bright long-sleeved t-shirts in rose or teal underneath. With stripey socks. So I look a little like a Raggedy-Ann doll in it, but it's so much fun to wear that I don't care.

I've also made this in black plaid low-wale corduroy (part of the Japan fabric haul) — pics of that soon!

A La Lam

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 6.46.15 PM

I really like this Derek Lam denim shift dress. By "really like," I don't mean "am willing to pay eight hundred dollars for it at Net-A-Porter" — "really like" in that price range is more along the lines of "was willing to rip the page out of Harper's Bazaar and blog about it". 

The jeans stitching and the cap sleeves are lovely. (How lovely? Net-A-Porter even has a video — for eight hundred bucks I think the model should have done a little soft-shoe act, too, but what do I know?) I do wish — wait for it — that it had pockets, but hey, probably the bepocketed version costs $900, right?

Does anyone know of a commercial pattern that is similar? I wanted to say there was one on BurdaStyle, but I can't find it now. Pointers gratefully appreciated.