This pattern was one that caught my eye while trawling through the Simplicity website when they had a sale on earlier in the year. I liked the loose fit of the top and the pencil skirt, and jersey is always comfy to wear! A winner!
I soon began to wonder if this might be the pattern for my Christmas outfit. Last year I made a sequin top and crepe skirt combo but this year I fancied something very different.
Now, I have never bought fabric online, preferring to see it in person before buying, however I keep an eye on certain sites especially if they have a sale on! I was on the Minerva crafts website and saw a pink stretch fabric with a slight sheen to it which immediately made me think of this pattern and guess what... it was in the sale! Bonus! It was only £2 per metre which makes this dress a bargain!
One night I took a look through the instructions and pattern pieces and decided it looked simple enough to dive right in. I took my measurements again and compared to the size chart as I expected to have to make a different size top to bottom, considering the ease in the top and close fit in the skirt.
There are only 8 pattern pieces, with the skirt being 2 in 1 - the two lengths in one piece. That meant I had to fold the piece at the bottom line for the short skirt before cutting. Problem was, I didn't pay enough attention and folded at the hem fold line so making the skirt shorter. In the end this wasn't a problem and I just folded a small hem which puts the length on the knee.
But on I went with the sewing. First I attached the front top to the back at the shoulder seams after ironing on stabilising tape. Then I put the neck facing in. This isn't a very attractive photo but it looks better now I've sewn the sides down and given it a good press.
Then I attached the sleeves at the shoulder and pinned and stitched the under arm seam from cuff to waist.
Then I gathered the fabric of the sleeve and attached it to the cuff. I think this part looks gorgeous!
At this point the top is finished and I had to get on with the skirt. This photo gives a great representation of the actual fabric colour.
The skirt was simply 1 piece for the front and two identical pieces for the back. I started with sewing the two back pieces together down the centre back seam then I laid this on top of the front piece. I was worried about the fit of the skirt so I measured my hips again and measured the skirt. I then tacked the side seams where I thought they should be stitched and tried it on. I was impressed with how close I was! All I needed to do was take one side in about half a centimetre and I was comfortable with the fit. I stitched it and tried it on again just to check.
Then the complicated bit began. I had to gather the bottom of the top by stitching two rows of long stitch then gather it to evenly fit the skirt. I pinned the skirt to the top and stitched along the seam allowance. Then I had to stitch again 1cm inside that to create a casing for elastic. The fabric was moving all over the place while I was stitching this and, I think, looks a mess from the inside but it's not visible from the outside. I inserted the elastic and sewed the ends together. Sorry there are no photos of this boring part!
The hem was the last thing I did. I decided to hand sew it with a herringbone stitch so I pinned all along the bottom, tried it on to check the length and then started. It was quite therapeutic actually! And didn't take as long as I thought it might. The photo on the left is my stitching which you can just see along the edge obviously I used black thread) and on the right is the right side of the fabric where you can just see where I've pulled at the fabric from the other side. I'm quite happy with the end product and think it looks better than a traditional machine stitched hem.
So here is the final dress! Sorry about the dodgy photo, it was taken at about midnight! The top and sleeves are voluminous and it only needs shoulder pads to look like something straight out of Working Girl, but I like it! It's a gorgeous colour and is really comfortable. I think this might be my Christmas Day dress!
Happy Christmas everyone!