The Hundred Dresses: Day 24

I said there would be a lot of Simplicity 1577s this week, didn’t I? Here’s another one:

scissor Simplicity 1577 bodice

It’s from this Yuwa fabric that I bought back in 2009.I probably held on to it for at least two years before it became this dress.

I’m not happy with the collar. I know there’s some kind of undercutting trick you can do to keep this from happening, but I can never seem to find it. Does anyone have a link?

Scissors Simplicity 1577 collar

Here’s a fairly fuzzy view of the front:

scissors Simplicity 1577 front

And the side zip, this is a strong B, I think:

scissors Simplicity 1577 zipper

Back view, inadequate pressing:

scissors Simplicity 1577 back

And closeup back view … I almost got those stripes matched! (Actually, I am pretty sure this was inadvertent.)

scissors Simplicity 1577 back closeup

I love this dress but man oh man, are those colors hard to match. They’re all slightly off from any cardigans I actually have, so I end up wearing this dress only when it’s warm enough to go sans cardigan. (I do have one beige cardigan that matches, but … eh, beige.)

The scissors print still makes me happy … I’d love to have another scissors-print dress, maybe one with a more scattered layout? Haven’t seen any scissors fabric that I like as much as this, though.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 23

I think this was the first Simplicity 1577 I made — I can’t be absolutely sure, but I’m within a reasonable margin of error.
cityscape Simplicity 1577 front
The reason I’m fairly sure that this was the first 1577 is that this fabric is pretty much my “ideal first try for a new pattern” fabric. First off, it’s quilting cotton, so it’s easy to sew and medium weight. Also, with most quilting cottons, if I make the dress within a year or so after buying the fabric and end up *really* screwing up, I can generally buy more on Etsy or Ebay, even if the stores are sold out.
cityscape Simplicity 1577 collar
Also, it’s really busy, so any weird seam bobbles or fitting issues tend to get lost in the print. And if I end up having to do some repairs, as I did here, they blend in a little better, too:
cityscape Simplicity 1577 zipper
The perfect fabric for a “wearable muslin” is something where, if the dress is a success, I will be happy to wear it, but if it ends up in a tear-stained wad on the sewing room floor, I’m not inconsolable.
Occasionally I try out two new things at once with a new pattern, like this pocket piping — it’s called the “What the Hell Effect“: I’m already trying something new, what the hell, let’s try two things!
cityscape Simplicity 1577 pocket piping
I would say my wearable muslins have about a 60-70% success rate, in terms of ending up with a wearable garment. My “I’m just going to jump right in with some fabric that I really love and see what happens” first tries have about a 40-50% success rate. So I do try to make up a new pattern in a less-dear fabric first. Ideally, it’s a fabric I like, but that I bought for $1/yard and have ten yards of … that’s perfect, since I can get two or three muslins out of something like that.

This one turned out to be really wearable — I’ve worn it a LOT.
cityscape Simplicity 1577 back

Do you have a “wearable muslin” strategy?

The Hundred Dresses: Day 22

This is one of my very favorite dresses, in that it’s a very cheerful dress to wear. I mean, how could it not be, it’s covered in bicycles!

bicycle print Simplicity 1577 front

Here’s a better view of the fabric (Michael Miller It’s A Boy Thing Bicycles) which, by the way, is still available in several colors:
bicycle Simplicity 1577 bodice

I have no idea why “It’s A Boy Thing,” but I do know that when I wear this dress while actually riding a bicycle, I get lots of friendly waves from little kids. (And if you do not wave back to small children who wave at you when you are riding a bicycle, well, that’s between you and your total lack of joie de vivre.)

The zipper on this one is a strong B:
bicycle Simplicity 1577 zipper

And the back:
bicycle Simplicity 1577 back

This is another Simplicity 1577, of course, and I hope you’re not tired of these yet as there’s a whole bunch more a’comin. I didn’t remember until I started sorting out dresses for photographing 1) how many of these I’ve made and 2) how nicely it works in quilting cotton. There may be some stashbusting sewing coming up, now that this has been brought forcefully to mind.



The Hundred Dresses: Day 18

Here’s today’s dress:
Simplicity 1577, no collar

This is another collarless Simplicity 1577 — when I had to do the collar amputation on the denim one, I thought, “Hey, what if I did this on purpose?” and voilà:
Simplicity 1577, no collar

The bias binding for the neckline is a slight bit lumpy. The fabric is a lighter twill, so it showed through more than I thought it would (better image of the fabric below). I’m very happy with the pocket lining (it’s Liberty, natch):
Simplicity 1577, no collar

Here’s the back where you can see exactly the spot I missed while pressing this before taking pictures:
Simplicity 1577, no collar

And the zipper, which is truly terrible, a C- at best. For some reason this dress came out smaller than I thought it would so I have to go back and undo both side seams and cheat them out a bit, and do the zipper “right” in the process. Needless to say this has not happened yet. At all.
Simplicity 1577, no collar

I tend to wear this dress in the winter (it’s warm) with black boots and a black sweater (or brown boots and a brown sweater). It’s a good traveling dress, too, since I made the pockets extra-deep. Now if only I managed to get this on to the top of the pile for fixing …


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!


The Hundred Dresses: Day 5

Ready for day five? Vroom!

Cars 1577 front view

This is a 1577; it’s from fabric I bought in Japan; and the cars on the collar are upside-down:
Cars 1577 collar

Which I’ve decided I like, in a way.

I wore this on Wednesday and really liked it (that was its first outing). I wore it with plain black Keds and a bright orange v-neck cardigan from Lands End Canvas.

The pocket linings and collar facing are just plain black cotton:
Cars 1577 pocket -- lining
Cars 1577 collar

Side zip? Why yes, there is one!
Cars 1577 side zip

And the back:
Cars 1577 back, take 2

As always, the 1577 is so easy to wear (probably because I make the pockets extra big). This fabric is a little bit heavier than quilting cotton (think light denim weight) and so this version seems a little sturdier.

Every time I make one of these, I think, “why don’t I make this dress all the time?” So maybe I’ll cut another one out in the next couple of weeks or so …

Yesterday's Dress

New claret-colored 1577

I got all excited about fall and made a new Simplicity 1577. I really like this dress for fall/winter because I like wearing them with long-sleeved tees underneath and I think the shape/length goes well with my favorite roper-style boots. (I just found a pair in olive green & I can’t wait for them to arrive …) The skirt length plus the boots has this kind of Edwardian schoolgirl feel that makes you want to go off and have adventures, all E. Nesbit-style.

This fabric makes me very happy. It’s a midweight denim in that nice claret color — not really maroon, more of a deep red — and it hangs well without being heavy and doesn’t wrinkle. I had a very long day yesterday (longer than usual) that included carrying my bike up four flights of stairs (in addition to the usual flights at BART stops and whatnot) and it pulled through like a champ.

Every time I make one of these I wonder why I don’t just wear this dress all the time. It’s wonderfully comfortable, has huge pockets, and fits exactly. And it’s easy to make. (For this one, because of the weight of the fabric, I faced the collar and pockets with scraps leftover from the brown dress in this post — it has a claret-colored stripe that matches perfect, which pleases me even though no one else will ever see it …

New 1577; Same Old Me

I know this is a terrible picture, but here it is anyway:
Simplicity 1577

Note to self: ambushing sleepy twelve-year-old son on first day of summer vacation, saying “hey will you take a picture of me?” does not result in quality photoblogism.

But, this is a new Simplicity 1577, made in a few hours over the weekend. It’s blue chambray purchased at Fabric Outlet in the Mission *last* weekend, which is probably one of my fastest fabric-purchase-to-garment-sewn turnaround times in years. It’s really, really nice fabric — not terribly wrinkly and super-comfortable, especially since it seems to have no stretch to it.

Anyway, you’re seeing a picture of me in it since I have been really lazy about wrasslin’ my dresses onto the dressform for Proper Photos. By the time I get one made, I just want to WEAR it, and then I have to remember to go back and take the pictures, and that means waiting for good light, which means the weekend, and … with one thing and another, it just becomes TOO MUCH. So I figured I could either get over my laziness when it comes to new-dress dressformage, or I could get over my apprehension that posting pictures of myself leaves me open to “helpful” feedback on my weight and general appearance in the comments. (Which has actually never happened that I can remember, so … bad pictures of myself it is!)

Accessories here are a pair of Liberty Bensimons and one of my favorite Swatch watches (it has a really difficult clasp and the face is hard to read, but other than that it’s a very nice watch). I was going to wear this with a pink sweater, to match the shoes, but I ended up taking it off — the weather was gorgeous here today. The pockets are lined in a different Liberty fabric — when I do get this one onto the dress form, I’ll show you.