Friday, 26 August 2016

Entering the Simplicity Sewing Challenge - Part 1

As usual, time has run away with me. I was watching the Olympics and I had to finish both Joanne's culottes and Jack's shirt for their birthdays in the middle of August (didn't manage to finish either in time!).  Then I was going away for a few days,  camping, then helping my mother move. So a very busy time.

I saw this Simplicity Sewing Challenge advertised and decided I'd do it as I liked the dress. My sewjo hadn't returned and this seemed like a bit of a challenge, complete with deadline,  but for something I'd wear, to spur me into activity.

I thought I had until the end of September for this challenge but noticed tonight (Monday 22nd August),  to my horror, when I was showing the info to Dan, that the poster said end of August. I emailed Simplicity for clarification when I got home. Simplicity responded quickly and I had a satisfactory reply at breakfast time next morning. The deadline was extended to 30th September. Thank goodness! I simply wouldn't have been able to finish by the end of August.

We cancelled the camping trip as neither David nor I were very well which gave me a few days to sew.  I hoped that would be enough time for my challenge (and finishing Jack's shirt!). I planned out how I might achieve this and although I now have a month, I think I'll follow the same plan. Over a longer period of time, allowing some golf, housework etc too!

So my challenge is Simplicity 1458,  an Amazing Fit seamed princess shift dress. I like this dress as I think I will suit the style.  

This is the envelope for the smaller size range

I do like the ines
It's similar to McCall's 6028, which I like a lot,

I loved the look of this

Great lines

I entered this into PR's Little White Dress contest. 3 stylings - daytime here

This is more of an evening look

Dress in the unadorned state

and to the Mother of the bride dress that I didn't get around to making!. The princess seams allow a lot of flexibility in fitting. I can add extra space just where my derriere needs it! I certainly needed to add in this area on my most recent toile when I was trying to modify the MOB dress. On the other hand, this dress has A-line flares below the hip line so I may not need to adjust as much as I do with a sheath dress.

Those of you who know my blog will know that I am tall, a plus sized pear shape, a bit of a perfectionist and usually make multiple toiles. I don't have time for that. So I plan to follow the Amazing Fit pattern method more closely than usual! But not to the letter.

I chose the larger size range (20W-28W)as I thought this might mean that fewer pattern adjustments are needed, although I fit into the top of the smaller size range,  too. I note that the larger size range has a longer back length but I'm not sure about bust apex position. Standard cup size in the smaller size range is B but it seems to be C in the larger range. The pattern has cup sizes, so that's a bonus. I'm hoping starting with a size 20 won't be too big at the upper bust area. When you read some suggestions regarding sizing by upper bust measurement, my size would be 18. On the other hand, I am 'big boned' and 5'11" so the larger size might be ok.

  • Cut out tissue based on my high bust measurement (or size 20) but using multi size to accommodate my larger hips.
  • Use pattern recommendations to choose bust cup size (the pattern is multi sized)
  • Use pattern recommendations to choose curvy or average for hips (certainly not slim!)
  • Pin tissue together and try on.
  • Likely changes needed
    • Bust apex position (may need lowered)
    • Waistline position (may need lowered/lengthened)
    • Waistline position (may need altered for forward tilt)
    • Hip shape (full high hip)
    • More space for derriere (not a sway back alteration)
    • Skirt length - may need to be longer
  • Based on alterations made to tissue,  cut out and try on a toile. I plan to insert piping so I need to get the fit sorted before I do that. The pattern method doesn't actually include a toile so an extra stage but I think worth it.
  • Adjust toile and adjust pattern pieces
  • Cut out final dress with larger seam allowances as per Amazing Fit method

I have sufficient calico for a toile and David will help me with the tissue fitting
I will use double crepe for the dress and single crepe for the piping. I need to buy some black cord for the piping filling. These are the fabrics I had intended for the MOB dress.

I'm not sure about a full lining at this stage.The pattern doesn't specify a full lining but I added one to McCall's 6028 and liked that. Unlike many people,  I quite like facings, so I have a decision to make. I'm much less keen on a bias tape finish to neck and armscye edges. I tried it out on my previous toile for a modified 6028 (MOB dress) and while it was okay I didn't like it as much as either facings or a full lining,  both of which I've done.

Can I do it in time? I hope so! At least I have a month now not just 3 days! Well, 3 weeks, really , as I'll be away for around a week from Monday, helping out my mother. I feel really guilty that I didn't help her enough first time she moved, due to the wedding sewing (is that a factor in her not settling?), so she has to come first this time! At least because we downsized last time, there is less to deal with.

My next planned post will have details of fitting a toile. Hopefully in about 2 weeks time. Really the final making takes least time - I find that all my time is taken up in fitting.


  1. I think this dress has great classic style lines. And you work very hard for that perfect fit and it always shows!

    I like to line dresses when I can but in the Southern US it is so very hot and lining adds extra layers.

    Good luck -- looking forward to hearing about your progress!

    1. Thank you, Annie, for your kind comments. We don't have the heat of the Southern US to deal with here! Lining can be useful to add a layer for heat! Seriously, we have had a few hot days, fortunately (my view) not anything like further south.

  2. It's a good choice Anne, for you and me with our relatively larger hips. I would like to do it, but am short of time at the moment. I love you in the white dress with the slimmer skirt too. It is very stylish and youthful. The unadorned look is very pleasing, isn't it? My hunch is getting the bigger size is going to a nuisance in terms of fitting. I usually buy to get a good fit in the upper chest/shoulders/bust as the hip is very easy to expand a little. However I am always keen to see if it works better another way so I will be watching your fitting experience with interest.

    1. Thank you. I hope to get started on Friday. I fear I'm overall rather big at present!!


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