My first make for 2014. I kinda made most of it last week, which was also last year, but I didn't get around to finishing it until yesterday.
I live in maxi dresses in summer. There's something really nice about putting on a long, flowy dress with straps. You can wear it to the beach, picnics, barbecues and even the pub!
I was eyeing off Amy's top she made from this pattern because it would fit my taste and wardrobe so perfectly. I despaired a little when I found it was out of print until I raided my pattern stash and realised I already owned it. Huzzah!
The pattern has you fold and baste these centre bust pleats and it's the first thing you sew together in the construction of the dress. It took me two goes to get them perfectly matched but it was worth it. And really that's the hardest bit of the dress which is a major win in my book.
The pattern does call for long pockets that are much like the pockets on Simplicity 2591. I'm not sure if this is a thing or not but I just don't understand pockets in a maxi dress. Fair enough for a shorter dress, I love them. But it really threw me to see pockets, much less these type of pockets, on a maxi. No thanks. So I got rid of them.
Because the voile I had chosen was a little sheer I decided to line it in a lightweight cotton. I spent a long time thinking about how I was going to line something with pleats though. I really wanted the lining to be folded with the regular fabric so the pleats would have a bit more body and hold properly but I really didn't want to treat the fabric and lining as one particularly when sewing the front piece to the side pieces because it could easily become bedsheet-ish. I tried to outsmart the pattern I really did but I couldn't think of a way not to sew the two fabrics together. So I did.
The pattern called for a dress that just dropped to the floor but I much prefer having a ruffle along the bottom. My favourite RTW maxi has the same kind of ruffle along the bottom and although I'm not one for ruffles I have discovered that this is their place in my wardrobe - on the bottom of my maxi dresses. So I ended up sewing the ruffle to the fabric and lining together in a french seam to keep it all enclosed while the rest of the seams are sewn regularly with overlocked edges.
My only gripe with this pattern is the straps. I wasn't sure when I read the instructions that the straps were going to work out but I thought I would put my trust in Simplicity. Wrong.
Look at that twisted mess!
The pattern piece asks you to cut the fabric on the bias, fold it in half lengthwise, sew along the edge, turn it right side out and sew it on to your dress. How this is meant to produce a perfectly flat and straight strap is beyond me??? Anyone on Simplicity's side here?
So if you happen to make this don't cut the strap on the bias unless you want a wiggly mess.
Apart from that one gripe I'm really pleased with this pattern. I have a deep red wine rayon voile to use for my next version. The fabric has this ridiculously delicious drape to it - I can't wait to wear it!
Also after putting this dress on I realised that there was a way to sew it all up without having to treat the fabric and lining as one. If I just ignored the order of sewing I could have sewn the front skirt piece to the back two skirt side pieces for both the fabric and the lining. Then I could treat them as two single panels I could line up and pleat. So that's what I'll be doing for my next one.
Maxi Dresses Ahoy!