Added May 16, 2011
My newest sewing project: a pretty little 60s-inspired dress from one of the new Lisette for Simplicity patterns: the Passport dress . The unusual dart configuration (at least for a dress pattern from Simplicity!) really drew me to the pattern initially; it reminded me of some of the illustrations in a 1960s dress pattern drafting book I have. For the fabric I used one of the sheets I thrifted earlier this year (though to be honest I still have a good 1/3 of the sheet left…), underlined the bodice and lined the skirt completely. Those eagle eyes will spot that I used a natural-colored cotton for the lining; the was a little bit of “color alteration” on my part. The sheet itself was a bright white, which never flatters my skin, so the creamy tone of the underlining softened the white in a subtle way. (I wore this Saturday and had my hair in a fabulous 60s beehive ponytail ‘do, but alas the weather turned bad and I didnt’ get any snapshots until Sunday–at which point I did not feel like redoing my hair for the day. hehe!)
I used a couple of techniques I hadn’t used on an actual garment before: piped bias facing around the neckline, and a scallop-hemmed skirt lining. The latter was inspired by the hem of a Anthropologie garment in my closet; I loved the idea of using contrasting thread and the scallop stitch on my machine to create a finished lining edge. I just stitched the scallops at the level I wanted (about 5/8″ shorter than the shell hem) and trimmed the edges. I still need to apply a teeny bit of Fray Check though. The piped facing was something I’d been itching to try (as seen in a couple of my vintage sewing manuals), and was quite fun to do since it gave a decorative edge finish and faced the neckline all in one go! Since I thought this was such a neat technique, I documented how I did it and posted it on my blog . Another minor adjustment I made was to move the zipper from the side seam to the center back; it was just a personal preference on this particular dress and echoed some of my favorite vintage 60s day dresses.
Thoughts about the pattern? I was highly impressed with how well this went together, the drafting (I cut out the bodice based on the finished bust measure, and miracle of miracles! it didn’t have the enormous amount of ease that the Big Four tend to draft into their patterns. Yay!), and the instructions were impressive as well. I usually have to do some major adjustments (lengthen the bodice, shorten the skirt, adjust for a small bust, etc.), but because finished measurements were included on the pattern pieces, I was able to cut between a couple of sizes and only had some minor fitting to do. Sarah mentioned in her post on making the Passport dress (absolutely adorable version in yellow–you must go take a peek!), that this would be a great beginner project, and I couldn’t agree more. Though it may look complicated because of the darts, it’s really easy and thoroughly explained. Quite a difference from the usual ho-hum drafting and instructions I’ve come to expect from the big commercial companies. Bravo, Simplicity! I think the only thing this dress needs now is a little white bow belt … (But then again, I think everything needs a belt… so I’m a little biased.)
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