Sunday, December 14, 2014

Simplicity 1776

Since I made a dress for my engagement party, I figured I should also make a dress for my bridal shower, which was in October.

The pattern is Simplicity 1776.  I made the sleeveless round neckline version.  The bust and hips are a size 10, the waist is a size 8, and I chopped 6 inches off the bottom.

Bust: 35"
Waist: 31"
Hips: 38"
Length: 30"

I used a shimmery black rayon/linen blend from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I know linen is a summery fabric, but I feel like this dress is totally appropriate for fall and winter.  I apologize for the wrinkles; the hot iron melts the shimmer finish, so I am trying to avoid ironing this dress as much as possible and I took these photos after wearing this dress all night at my bridal shower.

Total Cost: $7.15
  • Fabric: $5.40
  • Zipper: $1.75

I originally sewed this dress in August 2012.  I made a size 8, which was too small, and the zipper was a mess.  So I went back and took it out at the side and shoulder seams.  Let me tell you, fixing a dress is way harder than making one from scratch.  Thank God I didn't trim my side seams.

I faced the neckline and used single fold bias tape to finish the armholes instead of doing a full lining as called for in the pattern.  Don't judge me for this mediocre display of sewing.  This was one of the first times I'd used my serger, I made this over two years ago, and I whipped this dress up in like two hours.

I like the silhouette of this dress.  I think it's really easy for shifts to look boxy, and I don't think this one does.  Probably because I took it in at the waist.  And I like the length; it's just short enough that it doesn't look frumpy, but it's not too short. 

The neckline has a tendency to gape a little bit, but I don't know why.  I don't think that facing the neckline instead of doing a full lining would cause that to happen, but maybe that has something to do with it.

I took out the old invisible zipper - which was an ugly ecru color - and I replaced it with a hot pink zipper because I knew I would be wearing this dress with my hot pink heels or my black heels, which have a hot pink sole.  And I like contrasting zippers anyway.

Here is a picture of me and my maid of honor, Simone at the shower. (She took my engagement photos and is wicked talented and you should look at her website:  She's wearing the bridesmaids dress, which is from ModCloth.

And here are some action shots from the shower:

That's me and my mom!

And, of course, Sox:

I've started packing for my move to Fresno and it has made me realize how much sewing stuff I have.  I think I bought every single thing in the Jo-Ann notions aisle.  Really though.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Engagement Dress

I got engaged!!!!  To Bruce, the soap on a rope to my loofa and the recipient of the crocheted earflap hat.  I went to visit him at his Naval base in Pensacola for the Fourth of July and he proposed!  It was romantic and fabulous.  He came home to visit in August so I obviously had to make a dress for the engagement party and photos.

My lovely maid of honor is a professional photographer, so she took the photos for us.  She is so talented! If you live in the New England area you should hire her to photograph your events.  Check out her website (and more pictures of me and Bruce) at

Now, about the dress:

The pattern is McCall's #7575 from 1995.  My grandmother volunteers at a secondhand shop in Kansas and collects old sewing patterns for me.  She also got me Simplicity 5357, which I made in the spring of 2013.  (Side Note: Simplicity just re-released 5357 so now it's available to the general public, which sort of makes my sweet vintage halter top less special.)

I made the size 8 with a 35" finished bust measurement.

The fabric is a cotton border print from Journal Fabric in the LA Fashion District.  I bought it in January 2013 when I was out there visiting a few of my sorority sisters.

I bought 2.5 yards of this fabric (well, I only paid for 2 and the guy at the store gave me a half yard for free because I saw a spot on the fabric - yesssssss) and I was really cagey about how I used and cut it for this dress.  To conserve fabric I used muslin from my stash to line the bodice and for the back and side back.  So I think I have enough fabric left to eke out another dress.

Total Cost: $13.25
  • Fabric: $12
  • Zipper: $1.25
  • Muslin: stash

The pattern called for armscye and neck facings, but I decided to fully line the bodice since it is a bra-less kind of dress.  I actually started this dress in May of 2013 and had everything done except the sleeves and when I went back to sew it I decided I wanted it to be sleeveless.  So I pulled apart the bodice and lining and I'd already trimmed my seam allowances and the moral of the story is that I have visible side seams.

The bodice front has two waist darts, which is why I chose this dress pattern for this fabric.  I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the floral pattern, so I didn't want to make a dress with princess seams or with bust and waist darts.

The skirt is a 60" x 20" rectangle.  There is an invisible zipper at center back and I used three hooks and eyes on the back waist to keep it from gapping too much.

I love this dress so so much.  I had a lot of fun making it and I got lots of compliments at the engagement party.

And here are a few photos from our engagement shoot:

And a couple photos of Sox getting involved in the dressmaking process:

Bruce has been stationed in Lemoore, California and I am moving out there to join him at the end of the month!