Thursday, 12 January 2012

Simplicity 2917

While I am taking a break from Lutterloh, I thought that I would sew a dress that I tried to make a couple of years ago (when I was making the lounge cover). It didn't work for me as I couldn't work out how to do the neckline properly. I also forgot to interface some of the facings (read got lazy instead of forgot - but at the time I didn't fully understand the importance of interfacing and thought the pattern company was going overboard). Hence I didn't finish the dress and packed it away with my Janome.

I dug it out and considered it a "muslin" and learnt from my mistakes with that version to help me create my new version.

I liked the shape for my body - didn't look like a tent.

Here is the first version (from a couple of years ago). Note the gaping armholes and the extra material above the bust. I didn't bother hemming it as I am not going to wear it. I intended to wear it with a jacket (don't like my chicken wings showing).

I cut the shorter version.

New version - I added sleeves:

(Disregard thread hanging from hem - I have cut it off now!) The hem looks a little uneven in some pictures but it was very breezy when the pictures were taken.


I think I still need to do some work on fit. I think the shoulders are too wide for me. That could be because I didn't use the standard 5/8 inch seam allowance but skimmed it with overlocker. The muslin was a bit tight so thought I would give it a bit of ease by doing that. I should have still sewn it with the 5/8 inch as the material has stretch - oh well - you live and learn. I also want to take it in a bit under the arms.

Speaking of learning... there were a few things I learnt today.

1. Let's face it - I HATE FACINGS. The facings took the most amount of time. This is because I cut them and interfaced them but as I did not put in a zipper - the facing's were out in size. I had to add to the facing to make it fit. While I did that I taped the front and back facings together to cut as one - giving only one seam on the facing - at the back. I saw this tip in Threads DVD.

2. When you change the cotton on the needle on the overlocker - REMEMBER TO PUT THE TENSION BACK. I changed the cotton on the outside needle at the begining of this project and didn't realise that I forgot to put the tension back to 3 after ---- hence ---- the whole dress is sewn on 0 tension on the outside needle. I only noticed when I was hand hemming. I thought - why do the stictches look so funny... I take comfort from the fact that the other needle was on the right tension.

3. I LOVE my overlocker. Takes so much tedium out of sewing and gives a much better result.

First version - without overlocker

With the ELNA

4. Fitting a garment during sewing doesn't mean to throw it over your head with side seams unsewn and pinch it together with your fingers!! It really does need two people or a dress form!

5. Taking things out of a pattern (like zippers) has an affect on other parts of the pattern! Duh!

Pattern review:

Pattern Description: Misses or Plus Size Dresses, Tunic, Skirt and Tie Belt

I used C dress and added sleeves

Pattern Sizing: 10 - 28 in 2 envelopes

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes - but of course bigger!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Instructions were good. I didn't follow all of them - no zipper.. I also sewed in the sleeves in a different way. I sewed in the cap and then sewed the sides of the dress and up and then the sleeves in one go.. Can't remember what this is called but the only way I was shown before my sewing teacher retired .... Anyone know a good sewing teacher near inner west Sydney????? And can anyone tell me what the advantage is of sewing the whole sleeve and then inserting it?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the princess seams, the options for different lengths. Went together easily.

Fabric Used: Cotton Sateen from Spotlight

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't put in a zipper (which played a bit of havoc with my facings), I added about 2 cms to the sleeves and I removed about 2 cms from the above the bust.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes - I plan to sew this again (taking in the lessons learnt with this one) Yes - I would definitely recommend it.

Conclusion: A good shaped dress and relatively easy to sew - Hey if I can do it ........


  1. Looking good BeaJay. We all learn something new with most things we sew, regardless of how long we have been sewing. Just when you think you have it licked.....along comes a 'lightbulb' moment and you learn there's a better way. It's all good! In my opinion (and I'm no expert) the clue to how you put in a sleeve, either flat (as you have done) or set-in depends on the shape of the sleeve head. If the sleeve head is elongated with a gentle curve and you were sewing a t-shirt or sweatshirt, I would sew that flat ie stitch the sleeve head to the armhole, then stitch up the side seam of the garment all the way around to the side seam of the sleeve towards the cuff. If the sleeve head has a deep curve and/or you are using woven or non-stretch fabric, I would always set-in the sleeve. I do it this way to improve the fit of the sleeve in the armhole. HTH

  2. I think this is great...and I feel the sleeved version is much more you (or us I should say).
    When I change my tension I have a little pad of postie note thingies - and stick it onto my machine to remind me that the tension is changed, or that the needle in is for knits etc. Visual reminders are helpful...well, we just can't remember everything!!!
    Pam has some great points about the sleeve construction - I am going to copy these down....

  3. Thanks for the kind words. Pam - great info on the sleeves. Next time I make this dress I will try the set in sleeve as I think that may account for all the extra material around the armhole. Doobee - I will definately do the post it notes - good idea.

  4. Hi! You stopped by my blog on a post about having troubles viewing and commenting on some other blogs.
    Well, I thought I would drop by yours and thank you for letting me know that I am not the only one. I sure hope whatever it is fixes soon!
    I like the dress you made. :)
    Thanks for the compliment on my tatting! I really enjoy it and am glad that I happened to learn about it from a website that I wandered onto a couple years ago. :)
    Have an awesome day! :)

  5. The dress has turned out really well, although I think the first one could easily be saved (yeah, I've never thrown any fabric away - I either save it somehow or make it into something else).

  6. It's a nice dress and it does suit you. And wow you have great legs!! :)
    Set in sleeves are a doddle once you get the hang of it. Now before getting too excited about a dress form, you won't be able to fit your clothes on one, I'm telling ya up front. We lasses of largesse in particular need to consider ease, and that depends on the pattern and the fabric. The best way to fit is to run those sideseams up on a big machine stitch, try on, and adjust. Then resew. And remember that set in sleeves change the fit a lot. Once you get to know your shape and your adjustments, this gets easier and quicker too. My second make of that Burda pattern is in a 5% spandex cotton mix and so I reckon that I will take more ease out of it than with the striped one as I won't need it. That kind of thing.


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