Kelly’s “Happy in the Navy” Sundress

Here’s my contribution for this week’s “Sew Weekly” challenge, “Hue of Blue”.  This dress was made early/mid summer of 2011 and was the first project I picked up after too long of a remission from sewing.  I had just recently found a place for my old Singer sewing machine and, of course, I needed to see how it worked, he he!

I hope you can see by the pictures that I am very happy with this sundress.  The navy and white flowered rayon is super soft, easy-to-wear, flowing – everything I could want of a summer dress. I feel great wearing it!

Needless to say, I’m now a big fan of this pattern, Simplicity #2362.  It is a very smart, slimming, cute, and feminine – all in one dress.  The open, hidden-in-the-side-seam pockets are a clever design and were fun to sew.  Yay for pockets!  It’s a shame the print hides the cool details.  All those inverted pleats took time!

I made view B nearly unaltered.  I graded the pattern, like I always do now, and I am glad I made the sizes I chose.  With the full lining in the empire waisted bodice, it fits WELL, and any tighter it would probably fit like a corset.  The fact that the lining is cut of completely different pattern pieces which fit like a bra keeps the center bodice pleats in place nicely, no matter how snug it fits.  So smart!

I sort of feel bad making something directly from a pattern without adding something of my own to it (silly of me, I know).   So, as a discriminating artist, I did find two problems with this dress which I fixed before it was considered fully “done”.

Problem #1) The sleeves had the tendency to droop off my shoulders.  The way I fixed it was to make a band out of the dress material, and fit it across the back between my shoulder blades.  I sewed the left side down on the one inner strap edge and other side closes with two waistband hooks on the right strap edge.  I figured I didn’t want my add-on idea to make the dress harder to get into, as there is already a back zipper. Does this make any sense?  If I still want the look of the original back, I can simply unhook my added-on band and tuck it under my shoulder strap.  It’s a pretty non-committal adjustment I made.

Problem #2) This dress has a cleavage exposing bodice.  Why didn’t I figure this out earlier!? Oh well.  I half mind this “problem” (but the hubby probably doesn’t) so I sewed an insert along the neckline edge to raise it up by just over an inch.  This fix is not as professional as I would like it to be, yet I think it works very well because the busy print hides most of the seams and stitching.

I also handmade the netted, clip-on hair flower on my hat as well as my earrings!!!

I merely cut out my own extra wide single fold bias strips of the dress fabric, folded it over for a finished edge, and mitered the center for an arch.  Then I top-stitched it just under the finished edge of my dress.  I really didn’t want to cut a whole new bodice just for a small adjustment when the garment as whole turned out so well.  I just wanted to wear the dress…and I have been wearing it LOTS since last year.  It’s better to just enjoy the fruits of my labor rather than get hung up on trying to be perfect with my sewing, I figure.

By the way, does anyone else have any suggestions on how to keep the edges of my bias ruffled sleeves from rolling?  It seems like when I do those turns on the grain, my hems never lie flat.  That doesn’t keep me from loving such ruffled sleeves though, because I plan on doing a 1930’s dress soon with very similar details 🙂


FABRIC:  100% rayon challis (the soft and luxurious stuff) from my stash and some cling-free polyester lining from the stash for the inner bodice

NOTIONS:  I bought 1 zipper and a spool of navy thread

PATTERN: Simplicity 2362, year 2010

FIRST WORN:  to church and then to our local public library

TIME TO COMPLETE:  I don’t remember anymore, but not too long – at least 6 hours and probably more