Added Jul 16, 2011
Simplicity 2281: Cynthia Rowley Design, Misses dress in two lengths with sleeve variations.
The instructions are relatively easy to follow. However, there is no explanation regarding the construction of the neckline for the view that I chose. I believe that this is a major oversight by Simplicity which may frustrate some beginners.
I really did not make any substantive alterations to this pattern. However, because my fabric shrunk both in width and length during my initial wash and dry, I only had room to use a size 10 sleeve. Turns out, the sleeve is probably a bit oversized if you want to wear the dress as it is shown on the pattern envelope. I happen to like the little flutter sleeve to fall off the shoulder, and so it turned out perfectly. If I was to make this again, I would probably use a size 12 sleeve to ensure that the sleeve stays off the shoulder throughout the day.
Something to be aware of with this pattern is the torso length. I always have to add at least 3/4" to the torso length, but this pattern is too long in the length for me! If I make this up again I will shorten the midriff pieces by 1/2".
The bodice is lined (which I did not realize when I purchased the pattern). The bodice lining actually helps make the dress more wearable because the gathered front bodice piece is lined with a darted section to help hold everything in. That being said, a strapless bra works find with the construction because the armholes are not too deep.
Because I had limited yardage, I was unable to cut the neck-blinding on a true bias. This ended up being a good thing – I am not sure why this piece is not cut on the grain to give it a bit more stability.
I used a french seam on the non-zippered skirt side seam, and finished my zipper seam with rayon seam binding, as usual!
I would suggest the addition of a couple of ribbon hangers at the side seams. Yes, the flutter sleeves are stabilized, but I do not think you do yourself any favors when you hang the weight of a full length dress by a delicate, small sleeve.
This is a very easy to wear pattern, and I am very pleased with my finished product. I may even use this pattern to make a blouse at some point, we will see . . .
*Stretch Rayon *Cotton quilting for lining *Invisible Zipper