Orange. Very Orange. Simplicity 7881 midi skirt

img_2738Pattern Description: Simplicity 7881 (OOP c 1997).  From back:  “straight skirt in two lengths has back zipper”.  Variations include accessories, slit placement.  I made view A, with modifications.

Fabric:  Italian all silk jacquard weave brocade from Emma One Sock (still some left as of this writing).  The lining is silk crepe de chine, also from Emma One Sock.

Pattern Sizing:  Size H 6, 8, 10.  I’m approaching a size 14, so I added a quarter inch to each side seam (1/2 inch total each side) and sewed 3/8″ seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, mostly

Instructions? fine, I think.   Didn’t really follow them.

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Just a basic skirt with straight lines, amenable to all kinds of changes.

Pattern alterations or design changes?  Increased the size to roughly a size 14.  Underlined the skirt with silk CDC to add a lining and protect the jacquard weave from wear and tear.  Inserted an invisible zipper.   Shortened the skirt to midi length (about 3-4 inches below the knee).  Interfaced the waist facing with pro-weft medium fusible facing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  Made a slit opening in back instead of a flap/vent.

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  This is my second take.  I made E before – several years ago and still love it.  It’s a bit 90s in feel, so alter to update.

Conclusions?  A basic straight skirt.  It’s not lined, the only drawback.  But quick and easy.  It’s very orange, so I’ve paired it with a navy silk DVF jersey top.  I also wear navy kitten heels. A bit dressy, but school colors. (The fabric will wrinkle.  Photos taken after being worn, and tossed aside for a couple weeks.  I only lightly pressed it again.  And yes, this was started in December, finished early January – life was/is crazy lately).



The Luau Maxi Dress that Wasn’t

IMG_0005Because I didn’t buy enough fabric and I ran out of time. The party was two weeks ago. I finished it yesterday.

IMG_1674The inspiration and pattern choice: I had a vision of what I wanted from this dress, and I almost got there.  I’d seen the Sloane maxi dress from Lily Pulitzer and thought I could make something similar.  I liked the midriff, the v neck and back and overall shape.  I thought that Simplicity 1102 could be altered to be close, though the skirt would definitely be fuller.

This dress doesn’t look that great to me on the envelope cover.  But when I looked at the line drawings, I saw possibilities. The bodice is fitted, eliminating gapping, the midriff was about what I wanted, only the skirt was too full.  The sleeves are awful, but I thought I would work with view C and lengthen to maxi.  Of course, I bought the fabric requirement for view C without thinking.  That’s okay – I like it, even though I didn’t do as well a job as I would like.

IMG_1636The fabric!  This is from Gorgeous Fabrics, called Boldly Go, in a silk-rayon matte jersey.  It has a nice hand, drapes well and is easy to sew.  I was nervous about the bold print on my body, so perhaps that’s why I’m okay with the shorter length.

Changes and Construction Notes:   I made a muslin of the bodice. Since I’m smaller through the shoulders, with a smaller bust, I was worried about fit and gaposis.  What surprised me was how modest the V was!  I ended up lowering the V by about three inches and widening it by folding back the pattern from the bottom of the V up to the shoulder line (and narrowed the shoulder on the inside by about 1/4 inch).  The pictures show some gapping on one side – this is a function of how I’m holding the selfie stick. This was a very clear case of less is more when it came to the dress – less coverage was definitely more flattering.  I also wanted to see if I could eliminate the zipper – but could not.

I wanted to remove some of the weight of the skirt.  I feared that much gathering would bring unwanted questions about children.  I liked the skirt from McCall’s 7121, but didn’t want to go quite that narrow (I laid the matching pattern pieces on top of this one to get a sense of what I wanted).  I carefully folded out 4 inches, along the grain.  I did this by folding out one inch midway between the CF and side seam and CB and side seam.  So far so good.

I had also seen a dress in a window in Santa Fe that had concentrated the gathers at CF.  So I did that as well.   This was a mistake.  I didn’t make adjustments for the grain, and now the skirt side seams hang forward, toward the front.  I should have tested this with a muslin.

Ugh! I didn't like this insertion method for the invisible zipper.
Ugh! I didn’t like this insertion method for the invisible zipper.

As for the instructions – they are fine, but if I make this again, I would not follow them, as I think they lead to less than professional results.  The lined bodice (lined with a sold out Gorgeous Fabric knit lining and the tricot interfacing from Fabric Sewing Supply) is finished almost completely before attaching the skirt and zipper.  By completely, I mean the lining is stitched down to the fashion fabric at the midriff.  This means that the zipper is inserted so that you can’t stitch the lining to the zipper tape and hide it.

Other changes:  I did the ruching and the underlining by hand using a small running stitch.  I also did a narrow machine rolled hem instead of a 1 1/2 inch hem.

IMG_1673Final notes:  I love the fabric and it’s so comfortable to wear.  Doing the muslin for the bodice meant the perfect fit there.  I have so many other things I want to make, but I might revisit this one down the road.  I wore it to the salon today and received many compliments!