“A” Is For “A-Line Dress” and “B” Is For “Bouffant Hairstyle”

This sewing project is my sun-shiny ‘never-give-up’ dress.  I persisted in finishing my yellow retro/modern dress when some unexpected, time consuming correction measures were needed on it.  Now I have a very cool and classic style to get me through the summer.  With the right hairstyle, I can definitely rock the 60’s era in my dress!

100_1391a     There was some great teamwork with my husband in order to repair my dress’ original sizing problems, maybe that’s also part of the reason why wearing it makes me happy.

Really, though, things just fell into place last year when I whipped up my dress.  The week before Sew Weekly had “Yellow Inspiration” my dad “happened” to find this 2 yd. cut of yellow, and I had a newly bought pattern perfect to fit my idea.

I literally cut it close (which I do too much) to make my chosen pattern work for the fabric.  With hardly any scraps leftover I had to cut correctly.  All the finished garment sizes led me to cut my first non-graded pattern, straight bust size only here.  Little did I suspect, there was a mistake waiting to happen.  After all, there are no real mistakes in sewing, merely design opportunities…right?!

So you, the reader can understand what’s going on, I will give you, without further adieu-

Simplicty1878THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  light yellow rayon ‘linen-look’ blend, in a 2 yd. cut (rayon ‘linen-look’ shreds like CRAZY when you sew or cut it, just an F.Y.I. even though it’s carefree to wash and wear)

NOTIONS:  had thread and interfacing; merely bought a zipper and 2 packs of bias tape

PATTERN:   Simplicity 1878, designed by Lisette, year 2012

TIME TO COMPLETE:  finished on August 5, 2012, after at least 8 hours of sewing;  then some more fitting sewing was done this April, 2013

FIRST WORN:  to the license office, to get my official picture taken for the renewal of my driver’s license

Lisette’s pattern is easy to put together and effortless to wear.  I would definitely recommend this pattern, just be ready to do some fitting on it perhaps.  It would probably also look great in a big bold print as the fabric.  I’ll list some of Simplicity 1878’s strong points:

1) The notched neckline adds such charming character to design of the dress.  It wasn’t that hard to do either.  I obsessed a little when I was sewing the front, worried about getting the two notches even with one another and the points sharp, but I am content with how well I met my own strict expectations.

2)  The top stitching detail over the front seams is fun and I think emphasizes the A-line shape.  Besides, it shows off all the extra stitching and seam lines.

Some of the front details can be seen in our close-up.

100_13943)  The sleeves are comfortable, not baggy bell shape nor a tight cap.  The longer sleeve version turned out an awkward bracelet length on me, so I just shortened them to above my elbows.  The sleeves also were a bit snug at first in my armpit and by my back shoulder blade, but sewing a smaller 3/8 seam gave me just enough room to move my arms comfortably.100_1386

4)  It’s so smart to have the dress shaped by two long darts in the back of the dress.  Those darts work better than ties and leave the front looking great with nothing to take away from the design.  Please pardon the wrinkles along the back – I hadn’t given my dress an ironing job across the darts.

Once the dress was done, I tried it on and – Oh no! – from the bottom of my bust-line down to below my hips it fit me like a tight bodysuit.  My punishment for not grading was all the extra seam ripping and re-sewing I had to do to my yellow dress.  I was so ready to bury it in my UFO pile but I actually felt badly doing that, and besides my husband came up with a great idea to extend the sides.

I unpicked both side seams of the dress up to 2 inches below the armhole seam (left that intact), then sewed tan single fold 1 in. bias tape down the whole length of the side seams.  The bias tape is about 3/8 over the dress’ side seams, then I sewed a second strip of bias tape inside so the raw edges aren’t showing and the side seams will be strong.  I hope what I said makes sense.  Either way, hubby’s idea was the perfect fix.  Now I have just enough room together with a not-too-eye-catching but still retro appearance.

Megan's Mad Men yellow dressYellow is a color I have never really liked on myself, however now I’m a convert.  I know many Sew Weekly participants felt the same way (a slight aversion) about yellow.  Personally I love the deep mustard yellow that Megan wears (see left picture) in the 100_1402TV series “Mad Men”.  I have yet to make a peplum skirt, top, or dress, but this project is on my wish list for future projects, as long as I make it out of a golden, mustard yellow fabric (preferably real linen, too).

I will say “see you later” with my favorite photo of my best 60’s look pose and a shot of my bouffant, which, while not my best, I’m proud of how close it is to Joan’s amazing pouf of hair (aka. “Mad Men”).


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