Usually when a modern pattern is made, one doesn’t sew it so it can look dated. In this case, I think doing so does this pattern and my chosen fabric better justice. Besides, it’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of a frizzy, uber-curly hair day for a total 80’s look!
I used my shoes to help the highlight color in my fabric “pop” – is it coral, or is it an orange tone or just something in between? Whatever it is, it’s fun! This was a project that was such a totally good surprise, one I didn’t see coming until it was finished. You see, I was on the fence about this fabric when I bought it, hubby was plain out negative, but the fiber content won me over to buying it because it’s my favorite blend. The blend of pima and modal in a knit is so soft and luxurious. I was doubtful about the pattern, too, but somehow the combo of the design and the fabric, or maybe just the way I laid it out, turned out a winning dress in the end. This is my favorite go-to winter dress…not only do I feel awesome in this but it is also so cozy warm!
FABRIC: A pima cotton and a rayon modal half and half percent knit. The lining knit is a sheer lightweight polyester leftover from this 1940 suit set meant to add warmth and prevent the fashion fabric from clinging too much.
NOTIONS: I had everything I needed – thread, seam tape, and elastic
PATTERN: Simplicity #1716, year 2012
TIME TO COMPLETE: The dress was finished on February 15, 2016, after about 8 hours to make.
THE INSIDES: Neither the cotton/rayon fashion knit nor the poly lining fray, so the raw edges are left basic and, well, raw.
TOTAL COST: This cost just under $15
Ever since sewing my first knit top with a twisted neckline detail, my 1935 blouse, I’ve been on a quest to find the right design that I am perfectly pleased with. Then, I tried Simplicity #1613, but that turned out o.k., not fabulous like I’d hoped. Now, this Simplicity #1716 rocks my boat and is my perfect twisted neckline detail top, even if I did go and turn it into a dress. Third times a charm, I guess.
I am very happy with the pattern. The design is great and turned out exactly as shown. The clear, concise instructions made a tricky and semi-complicated detail easy to accomplish. The neckline was just enough of a challenge to be satisfying, too. It is so very important to be precise here, I think, for this neckline to turn out well. All those markings are important in the end, and even though it was hard to find and sew in certain spots, by exercising patience (with some venting of non-child appropriate words) I was able to somehow gather and stitch in certain seemingly non-stitchable spots. My double layered fabric was the limit of what this neckline design can handle, and I think thinner, non-bulky fabrics are ideal to make this easiest to sew, I think.
For the rest of the dress, I went up a size. I’m glad I did for I think this pattern runs small and I didn’t want a body suit sort of fit. To turn a tunic into a dress, I added about 12 inches to the bottom. I kept that extra foot of skirt rather straight and slim, just how I wanted it.
The longest sleeves are a weird bracelet length – in between ¾ length and a full long sleeve. I added on plenty of extra inches to end up with a long, long sleeve, much like the sleeves on this Burda dress. My sleeves reach down to my knuckles. This was on purpose because I like how the draping fabric bunches up around my wrist, but the sleeves are skinny so the extra fabric does look bulky. The fabric is stretchy enough that I can still push them up to ¾ length easily. My only complaint is that the shoulder seam is very short and doesn’t reach to where it should. I didn’t think to check this ahead of time because the shoulder seam is a spot that I rarely have issues with for fit. However, the generous upper sleeves and stretchy fabric makes the shoulder tops still fit and the busy print hides the ‘fault’. Add on an extra inch or two to the length of the shoulder seam coming from the neck if you make this…just an f.y.i!
The print, to me, is like a hybrid cross between a hounds tooth and stripes. It’s like somebody was either scatterbrained, or went psychedelic, or perhaps was just plain inspired when they designed the fabric print. It changes design slightly every 12 inches or so in a rectangular block. Something in the back of my head led me to line up those design changes in the print at the main body points – bust, hips, and knees. I think this is what made this outfit work! It was my way to make this tube-style dress body be even more complimentary!
Speaking on complimentary, I cut the semi-diagonal chest/neckline panels on the cross-grain direction to highlight this feature, otherwise it would have been lost in the print. I think this touch makes it look like more of a wrap-and-pulled down sort of neckline. You sort of make an open cowl neck turtle, and then the diagonal panels coming out of the front armholes extend out and over the cowl neck, get tucked in, gathered and stitched down. This neckline keeps my neck and chest warm without being completely covered up.
My post’s title comes from hubby’s summary of the overall “look” that strikes him with this dress. He said it reminds him of 1980’s era business attire. I took it to the next level and thought “secretary” in my mind. There is the traditional winter’s black in the print after all, with enough ‘pop’ to break the ‘boring’ category and keep it on trend. To match as our background, we chose a late Mid-Century Modern office building that is a landmark in our town (which unfortunately needs rescuing).
This dress is another one of those projects that reminds me why I sew. I can make exactly what I want to wear as well as something that caters to my needs. The ultimate perk is that this dress, and most of what I make, makes me feel like the best kind of me when I wear it. Not that I need this dress or any specific clothing to be myself, but many people who only have ready-to-wear hate the way the way they look and feel about themselves in what they have on. It seems to affect how often they go out and what their persona is out in public. This is why there are “makeover” programs like the newest one I’ve seen, “What Not to Wear”. A half of an episode was all I could stand to watch…I was yelling at the television. The people on the show just don’t get it. There is nothing more empowering than being self-sufficient, capable, and creative enough to sew, choose, and make what you or others wear. It’s like artwork you can put on, and have others see the real you! Sewing rocks!