09 January 2008
Simplicity 3964: Built By Wendy dress
I'm pretty happy about this review... This was the second pattern I ever sewed on my own, in October 2006. I chose a ribless tan corduroy (mistake #1) and decided on size 10 (mistake #2) in view A, which is a mid-calf length dress with funky angel wing sleeves and a belt (mistake #3). See where this is going?
After hours of laboring under the mentorship of my mother, an accomplished seamstress, and ignoring her persistent and frequent opines that I chose the wrong fabric (which I did), I finished the dress. It was sewn really well but was too big, too bulky, and simply not flattering. But I sewed it with my own two hands and was determined to wear it! I did, and I remember feeling like people looked at me as though I were from Mars. It was subsequently banished to my closet, thus beginning a section near the front of the closet that I call "sewing lessons learned but never to be worn".
Fast-forward to December 2007. On the Web, I stumble upon an independent design label called Wiksten that seems to have produced some amazing and beautiful garments, and the young gal behind it, Jenny, has a really fantastic blog. And on this blog is a version of this same BBW dress I made last year, except *gasp* hers looks rockin'! She replaced the unbearable angel wing sleeves with very reasonable and fashionable cap sleeves, and the dress is above the knee. The best part? Jenny is a patternmaker and also has a blog post on converting "sucky sleeves" (love that) into cap sleeves. Inspiration AND instruction? Wow, that's a productive and valuable blog!!!
And so I was sold on trying this dress a second time. I knew it could look great for me. I'm better with measurements now, so I cut the dress three sizes smaller than last time. I pulled a light cotton shirting out of my stash and knew that the tunic would be the right length for an above-the-knee dress on vertically challenged me. I cut the pieces out after dinner, started sewing after kiddo's bedtime, and ended somewhere around 12:30 a.m. The last 90 minutes were focused on sleeves... I didn't have my serger available to finish any seams, and I wanted to finish both the sleeve hem and the entire armhole seam. Couldn't think of how to do both using the bias binding without adding lots of extra bulk, and I ended up sewing in the sleeves and then ripping them out three times, adjusting a little and changing the plan a few times. I ended up hemming the sleeves and bias binding the armhole seam. Whew!
The end result is: a dress I love, that fits me well, that looks good on me. What more can you ask for from a manic sewing session? Thanks to Wendy Mullin for designing a dress with no interfacing, no darts, and no zippers. Thanks to Jenny at Wiksten for her lovely blog and great patternmaking instructions (peter pan collar is next on my to-do list!). Now it is time to sleep...
Full review on Simplicity 3964 at PatternReview.com.