The more garments I sew for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network the more I enjoy it. Choosing from their extensive range of patterns and fabrics started out being totally overwhelming but I’m now slowly starting to know the patterns/designs that suit me and which fabrics would work well for them. This month’s choice was heavily inspired by Trine’s awesome version.
Last month was all about kid’s pjs so this month I made sure to get in a little selfish sewing…and boy am I glad I did! This dress is definitely in my top five favourite things I’ve sewn for myself!
Dress: Simplicity 1652. Size 12, Cup C, Front – View A, Back – View B. Fabric: Black/white pinstripe cotton-linen blend. Buttons: self-covered with Liberty scraps. Tights: hand-dyed ombre tights ‘sunset’ from BZRShop. Boots: Camper Annie Ankle Boots.
Simplicity 1652 is part of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit collection. What this means is that you have multiple choices for not just the size of the dress but also the bust size (and in some cases, the fullness of the skirt). This allows you to mix and match thereby giving you an amazing fit. Well, that’s the idea anyway.
The dress has three sleeve options and two back options. I went for View A in the front (short sleeves and button tabs – just say NO! to chunky chains sewn onto clothing!) and View B in the back (cut-out triangle).
This dress also has really great pockets that are sewn into the front section seams – easy to do and makes it a bit more interesting than pockets along the side seams.
For this dress I chose a versatile black/white pinstripe which is a cotton-linen blend (click on photo to learn more about it). I love this fabric! It’s easy to work with (yes, it frays so make sure to finish your raw edges) but it’s a great weight and is suitable for cooler weather (tights and cardi!) or just as is with sandals in summer.
Also, with this fabric there were lots of options in terms of how to lay out the fabric (ie, which direction you want the stripes to go in for each pattern piece). I had fun sketching out all the different possibilities and finally decided on doing vertical stripes for the main bodice, skirt and sleeves, horizontal stripes for the button tabs, and bias cut stripes for the side bodice and back.
I’ve made a Simplicity Amazing Fit dress before (Simplicity 1800 – you can see it here) so I should have been fine with the method of construction. But, alas, much time had passed and I’d forgotten just how mad this method it! I don’t think you’ll find any sewing blogger writing about the Amazing Fit collection without referencing the odd construction process.
In short, you sew the bodice pieces together and then you sew the skirt pieces together – this part is pretty straightforward – but then you sew the bodice to the skirt inside out (so, you sew with the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other) with a large seam allowance in order to tweak the fit. Then you have to take it apart, make your adjustments and then put it back together the right way around.
Some other notes on construction:
- The front bodice is unlined. I didn’t really like this and next time would try to draft a lining.
- I added a lining to the skirt. The fabric is rather sheer so opted for a lining here. I drafted the lining based on the assembled skirt pieces and then attached it along the skirt/bodice seam line.
- The sleeves were trickier to set than I expected. You are instructed to set the sleeves after the side seams are sewn and lately I’ve been setting sleeves into an open side seam and then closing the side seam and sleeve seam with one line of sewing. Next time I’ll do it this way.
- For the buttons on the tabs I made my own covered buttons with scraps of Liberty print fabric.
Sizing and Fit
The last time I made an Amazing Fit dress I made size 12 with a D cup. After sewing it I thought it fit well but now that I’ve worn it for a while I realise that it’s actually too big in the bust (but I’ll still wear it!).
This time I made size 12 with a C cup and this worked *much* better. I’ve actually worn this dress a few times already so I feel confident in saying that I’m happy with the fit.
The only issue I have is that there is a bit of gaping in the back along the top of the zip. I’m a bit stumped about how to remedy this – if I were to take it in anymore then I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to move my arms!
So, I guess the final question is – Is it really an amazing fit? The short answer is yes! I didn’t really make any adjustments from the size 12, cup c pattern so, for something so closely fitted around the bust, is pretty amazing! Now that I’m happy with the fit I want to rush out and make more from this collection (before I forget all the details of construction). I already have Simplicity 1882 in my stash so I really should get sewing!
…and my photographer… (follow me on Instagram if you’re interested in seeing more behind the
hedgerow scenes shots!).
Start ‘em young!
If you’re inspired to give this pattern and fabric a go then you can buy the full kit here. It includes the pattern, fabric, interfacing, zip, lining and thread. It also includes yellow buttons for the tabs. If you want to do covered buttons (which are surprisingly easy to make and very effective) then you can find everything you need for that here.
Thanks for reading