Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simplicity 2373 Pattern Review

During my blog hiatus last month I did something it took me a long time to work up the courage to do.  I made a dress for myself.  Using a REAL pattern even!  During one of Joann's big pattern sales several months back I picked up Simplicity 2373

I loved the dress so much.  I even went to the trouble of ordering the same fabric online.  Then the pattern and fabric sat in a box for awhile, because I was too scared to attempt it.  After a month or so I finally decided to attempt a muslin mock-up.  It turned out horrible. So I tried again using some quilters cotton I had an abundance of.  It came out even worse.  It was too big and looked horrible. This was probably a combination of a couple things, such as the sizing I went by on the back of the pattern, and that the pattern on the fabric was HORRENDOUS. Neon rainbow stripes horrendous.That was enough to scare me into putting the pattern away for a couple more months.

But then the warmer weather started making its appearance here in Oregon, and I wanted some cute dresses to wear.  So I decided to toss caution to the wind, try again, and even use my nice fabric for it.  The gamble paid off, the dress turned out and I love it!

The dress on Monica.  Yes, I named my mannequin.
 I made several changes to it though.  To fix the size issue, I looked towards the bottom on the back and looked at the Finished measurements, then went with that size, rather than looking at the top tables and going by what those measurements said.  This gave me a much better fit. With the practice dresses I made I felt like the bodice came too high up on me, so rather than adjusting the pattern to make it lower, I just omitted the top band.  To sew the bodice this way, I sewed the main fabric bodice pieces together, then the lining bodice pieces together, and basted them WRONG sides together.  Then I attached black single fold bias tape on the vertical seams, and used black double fold bias tape at the top.

One of the problems I encountered on my practice dresses was the gathering on the skirt part.  A search of the world wide web for reviews turned up that I wasn't the only one who had the problem.  It made the dress look very maternal (and the woman wearing it look very pregnant).  Not so much the look I was going for.  Several of the reviewers suggested trying pleats or darts instead, so that is what I did.

There might be a better way to figure out pleats, but I don't know it.  I laid my bodice out flat (the front and back were sewn together at one side at this point, but not the other) and then laid out my two skirt pieces (that I had sewn together on one side and already hemmed) right below it, matching up the side seams.  Then I just pinched the fabric and formed/ironed the pleats until the front skirt was the same width as the bodice front, then same for the back.  From there I pinned the pleats and sewed them down a couple inches. 

When it comes to attaching the zipper, I have an easier time doing the zipper first, then sewing the rest of the side together, so thats what I did. 

The straps seemed too wide to me, so I trimmed them down, and then just used double fold bias tape on the edges so I didn't have to turn and top-stitch them. After trying it on I decided it still didn't look quite finished, so I added the black band right under the bodice. 


I love it!

In fact I loved it so much that I made another one the next day, in this super cute cherry fabric.

Overall, I think it is a great pattern and I really love the style.  The instructions were hard for me to follow, which very well might have just been my inability to read a pattern, so after the two practice dresses were FAILS, I ditched the instructions and used my knowledge of garment construction to figure it out myself.  The sewing techniques required for this dress aren't very hard at all. I used my serger for some things, but a serger definitely isn't required.  The only stitch I used on my sewing machine was a straight stitch.  I think this dress would be fairly easy for someone who has basic knowledge of garment construction (or can read a pattern and follow directions better than me!) and knows how to use bias tape (if you do it my way instead of theirs and using ribbon). 

Good luck!  I hope my review and breakdown of adjustments I made was helpful to you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crayon Roll tutorial

This tutorial has been moved over to my craft blog- Cautiously Crafty. Come on over!
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