Saturday, 9 September 2017

Project Runway Style in Vintage Fabric: Simplicity K2444

Hi everyone!

My making this year has been half decided by pattern and half by fabric, as I’m determined to use up some of the lovely pieces I’ve bought over the last two years and make sure that the rest all fits in one place (and is no longer spilling over into random bags and boxes)!

This dress falls into the latter category, and is another vintage piece of fabric given to me by my ex-boss. I think it might be my favourite piece from those she donated - the colours are so lovely, and the print abstract enough that while it gives a vintage feel, it's not too dated.

The pattern is Simplicity K2444, one of the Project Runway patterns which I believe was popular a few years ago just before I started sewing, and fell into my hands at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2015 when I bought a £5 bundle of back-issue sewing magazines. I was tempted by Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity 1873, but annoyingly the copy I have is in the smaller size range. My measurements fall in the middle but just on the large side (but apparently that dress comes up big so maybe I’ll get away with it for next time!).

I didn’t toile the K2444 but decided to apply some adjustments straight off the bat and hope for the best:

  • A 1” FBA. I’m not sure entirely what I did - as the bodice has angled waist darts, it’s not the most straightforward of FBAs and I didn’t want to add in side darts, so I ended up just easing in the extra length I added to the front bodice into the side seams, which does make it a bit baggier than ideal

  • Pinched a tiny bit of excess out of the neckline (which I remembered to adjust for in the facing, but not the collar stand, which is why I think it’s a bit flappy

  • Took a small wedge out of the lower back bodice as a swayback adjustment (looking at this I could perhaps do with less fabric in the upper back too)

  • Had to take a wedge off the side seams at the bottom of the skirt, as my fabric wasn’t quite wide enough (which has resulted in a hem that slightly curves up at the sides, giving a very soft tulip look, whoops).

I also made some minor non-fitting related changes:

  • Added a cotton lawn skirt lining as the fabric is slightly sheer in strong light (I had meant to do a full lining but was guessing the quantities and didn’t have buy quite enough fabric)
  • Omitted the pockets. I cut them out, but wasn’t sure how they’d work with a lined skirt.

I’m quite pleased with this. It’s not as easy a make as I thought it was going to be, as I had several fitting tweaks to work through, and then ended up having to make a few on-the-fly adjustments that caused some stopping and starting in the making process - like having to go out and buy lining and adjust the pattern to omit the pleats in cutting it out.

I also encountered a small setback when I thought I had the right zip in my stash, but after insertion it turned out to be way too short, only making it down to the waist seam. I very nearly just left it at that, but realised I’d be condemning myself to a life of struggling to wriggle in and out of the frock and would therefore never wear it, so I resentfully decided to be sensible, unpick my work and buy a long enough zip for the job.

Funnily enough I’ve not made a dress that’s only lined at the skirt yet, so this was a small learning curve for me - there are things I could have done more neatly if it had been the plan from the start, but it looks fine really. The lawn lining is very lovely to wear, and gives the skirt a nice bit of additional volume without being too bulky.

I wore this out for a stroll round the neighbourhood on Saturday afternoon, after some photos in the park I played a spot of ping pong (which taught me that the sleeves do restrict my arm movements a little, so not the best sporting attire) and then had a beer in a local railway arch brewery where I got a couple of nice compliments, so, job’s a good’un!

I hope to have a couple more occasions to wear this before the weather turns too cold.. I actually still have a list of summer clothes I’m yet to make that I’m desperate to get done this year (and I’m depressed about some of the things that have had to be taken off due to time constraints). England’s seasons are all over the shop and I have a little holiday coming up, so I imagine I’ll get a couple more warm “windows” until I officially have to box up all my light cottons and short sleeves again.

Are you clutching onto summer or desperate to get going with the next season's sewing?

NorseOtter xx

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