Pattern: Simplicity 1877 (Leanne Marshall design)
Fabric: Linen/rayon blend from Joann’s, current season
This was easily my favorite of the new Simplicity designs. I’m a huge Project Runway fan (though not so much lately – it used to be better!) I loved Leanne’s designs during her season, and I’ve wondered why we haven’t seen more of her. She uses a lot of pleating and sculpted ruffles in her designs, yet they aren’t over the top girly. This dress is a great example of her style. I made version B, the more simple of the two (I plan to make the other as well, but I’m still looking for a fabric.)
I’ve had really good luck with the linen blends at Joann’s – they don’t wrinkle badly, they sew beautifully, and they hold up pretty well over time. I thought this one looked like a stylized woodgrain, and the idea of using something so plain for a very feminine dress appealed to me! The two most interesting bits of this pattern are the shoulders and front pleats, both of which you can see below:
Yes, I am so pale that I actually repel all light! I would have used a different photo, but this one shows the details well. As you can see, the shoulder treatment is usual. There are no sleeves – the sleeve cap is wide and extends over the shoulder. There is a double sided flounce sewn into the shoulder seams – it’s quite unusual, but I think I like it. I did not interface the ruffles due to the weight of my favorite. The shoulders and neckline are wide – I could have gone down a size in the bodice. They do not slip off, and the neckline doesn’t gape badly or show anything it shouldn’t (but be aware – I am immune to cleavage on account of not having any, but this is quite a low neckline. You may wish to raise it a bit if that is a concern.)
You can also see the pleating above. There is a bit of chalk remaining on the stitching line – oops! The pleats are unusual. They are made of the inside, and I don’t think it’s terrible clear what you are to do – they are not like normal pleats. After they are sewn (not basted, sewn permanently) you topstitch over them in a triangle pattern (the chalk line above.) This is actually a great feature – it allows the front to lie flat and not pooch out, in spite of the volume of the skirt (seen below.)
The skirt is both pleated and gathered, but it is saved by the front. It’s actually quite flattering! Something else to note above: I did not install a zipper. Due to the wide neckline (and the slightly large bodice) I was able to slip it over my head. I love when I can get away with that! You can see where the shoulders a touch wide, but it doesn’t bother me – to be honest, I wanted a looser modern fit for this project. It’s just as well for one reason – my usual method of adjusting doesn’t work here. The side seams on the skirt and bodice do not line up, so all adjustments must be made early on. I tried on the bodice and determined it fit, but after all was said and done I might have taken it in an inch. Ah well – I am not bothered!
About the instructions: the pattern was very well drafted, but as I mentioned above I feel that the instructions for ruffle application and pleating could have been more clear. For that reason I wouldn’t recommend this to a beginner, but it should be fine if you have a little experience.
I shortened the dress by 1/2 inch and made a narrow machine hem. I wore it today (with the belt in the first picture) and was very happy – it’s comfortable and easy to move in, and it barely wrinkled!
Yay for spring dresses (and spring weather – 80 degrees today!) Thank you for your votes on my next project – I’m going to tackle the McCall’s, but it was close in votes – quite a lot of you loved the vogue. I have a concert this weekend with orchestra dress rehearsal on Saturday so I don’t know how much time I will have, but hopefully I can get a start!