This pattern is one that I am using to make an LBD for my wardrobe staples and although planned to make that dress first, time was of the essence, or lack there of. So I thought I would jump straight in and make it for my friends wedding with my metallic fabric.
There are no reviews of Simplicity 1354 that I can find but it is an Amazing Fit pattern and I have never used one of those before. I know this is a bit of a risk right! I made view B but opted for a pleated skirt rather than gathered as I think it is more flattering on my body. I was hoping that with all the princess seams and back opening that fitting issues could be tackled during construction. My fabric is 140cm wide poly metallic (100% polyester) with pongee lining (100% polyester) in nude.
A new to me, but not a new process by any means is chainstitching. I am making a concious effort to increase my productivity/efficiency and this has been a somewhat difficult habit to start. I tried to do it as much as possible in the construction of this dress but required a different level of concentration and organisation on my part to not get my pieces confused. Regardless, the dress got made and that is the bottom line.
The dress is unlined but I thought since it was a ‘special’ dress I would add lining and just as well because the fabric was so scratchy. I made up the lining bodice shell first to check the fit and just as well. Sorry there are no photos of this process but needless to say it was a tad tight all over although I felt the actual design lines and shape were a good fit. I figured rather than cut another lining I would decrease the seam allowances and unpick the ‘basting stitches’ and all would be good. So for my metallic fabric I cut the size larger and figured it would be easier to take in rather than let out. During the initial stages I had made the sleeves but wasn’t sure if I like them and they made the dress too matronly so decided that perhaps a cap sleeve was the way to go such as this inspiration dress although I don’t have sequins or a chiffon skirt and my neckline is not that low. So really nothing like my inspiration after all, I guess that’s why it’s called inspiration. After making up the bodice in my final fabric I decided to eliminate the sleeves altogether. There was so much going on with the metallic fabric alone and then the open back and pleated skirt, it just felt overdone. Keep it simple right!!!!
The metallic fabric frayed so easily so I tried to minimise handling and serged the seams as soon as the fit was right more so to strengthen the seams. My fit modifications were to take in the side seams, about 3cm from the underarm, tapering to nothing at the waist. The fit felt pretty good everywhere else and I figured I could alter the back once the dress was assembled and I was up to putting the zipper in.
In the process of adding the lining, I forgot the “burrito” method and should have researched before steaming ahead. I sewed up the side seams of both fabric and lining and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working, cue Google. I then had to unpick my side seams (straight stitch and serger) and then do what I was supposed to. It all worked out in the end so I’m a happy camper. Due to the addition of the lining, there were portions of the instructions that weren’t relevant for me but I think overall they were quite comprehensive. The pattern calls for a facing instead for the neckline. For a long time, I avoided adding linings to my garments if it wasn’t in the instructions as I wasn’t confident it would always work out but what I go by now is:
“If the seam is being attached to something, ie collar, sleeve, skirt, then the lining doesn’t need to be sewn to the fashion fabric at these seams”
So now it’s not such a daunting task and far more manageable, although at times head scratching still occurs. But I digress.
After attaching the lining, trimming seam allowances and clipping where necessary, I turned the bodice right side out. I understitched as far as I could around the neckline and armholes and am pretty happy with the result.
The skirt has pockets and I wasn’t sure about them in a more formal dress but thought if sewn correctly they should be pretty invisible and it’s a practical solution to have pockets in skirts and dresses with children to carry say snacks, snacks and more snacks to keep them quite during a wedding ceremony.
I didn’t even attempt pattern matching with this garment because of my busy, shiny fabric – it was too hard in my opinion and I was on a time restraint, starting this dress a week before I needed to wear it.
The pattern sequence of construction was okay overall to allow for fitting adjustments but because I wasn’t sure what skirt I would be making until the very end I changed up the order by fitting my bodice first and then attaching the skirt whereas the instructions get you to sew the bodice to the skirt and then baste the entire front and back of the dress together at the side seams to adjust fit.
I made self fabric buttons as none at the store were appropriate for the fabric.
After wearing the dress the lining of the centre front occasionally peaks out even though I understitched as far as I could. Realistically I don’t think it will bother me too much on subsequent wears. I also found that the back opening appeared to have stretched during sewing as it didn’t lay completely flat. From memory there was no stay stitching required on these pieces which have a bias edge but in future I will do this. I also should have added belt loops to the dress as the belt kept slipping up above my waist due to the slippery nature of both the belt and fabric.
Overall the dress was really comfortable and I will definitely make it again but with the gathered skirt this time. I would recommend this pattern because you really can adjust the fit to suit your body type.
PS. Sorry about the minimal photos. I lost my phone the day after I arrived interstate for the wedding and thus have only a couple of photos to share of the front view and perhaps not the most flattering. Not sure what I was or wasn’t thinking at the time but I left my dress there too so can’t take any photos after the event to show those details, sorry!!!