Friday, 16 October 2009

A LITTLE TRAUMA WITH CYNTHIA ROWLEY FOR SIMPLICITY DRESS

I had a bad time with this one and I really don't think it was my fault! However, Cynthia, all is forgiven because you are a wonderful designer and in the end it didn't turn out too badly. Without further ado let me show you a picture of the finished dress

I used some quite expensive crepe backed silk-satin purchased from Mood Fabrics on a trip to NYC and it's made from this pattern
Starting at the beginning, fitting a muslin didn't go too badly. I made an fba by creating a dart and rotating it into the waist gathers and I cut about an inch out of both the width and length of the back because it seemed unnecessarily long and droopy. Also the neckline, which is pretty low anyway, was gaping at the front so, to preserve modesty, I went against all the rules of these things and just pinched in the pattern tissue at the neckline and smooshed it flat with the iron. I have since discovered that what I should have done is made a little dart there and rotated it down into the waist gathers. Well now I know! but my quick-fix did the trick. So, all set to sew ...

Instruction step number 1: stay-stitch bodice front and back necklines 1/2" from cut edge. Except, and the sewing gods must have been looking down on me here, when I was cutting it out didn't I notice that the seam allowance round the neckline was only 3/8"? So, I'm issuing a PATTERN ERROR ALERT here - you need to stay-stitch 1/4" from the cut edge.

Next, I have a confession to make. I left out the pockets. It's not that I don't like pockets, I do. But I have to be honest and say that because there is a side zipper in this dress the instructions for inserting the left hand side pocket into the seam alongside the zipper was all too much for me. Probably, if I'd really applied myself to trying to understand it, I could have managed it - I can't blame Simplicity for their instructions - the fact is I just wasn't willing to work that hard. Shame on me!

So, here's where it went wrong. The very last thing you have to do is make the neck ruffle and stitch it on the dress. I joined the two pieces together and made a beautiful narrow hem all around both sides, I gathered the ruffle and attached it to the dress. Wow! It was beautiful and it was glamorous ....... until I turned round -


See how the ruffle flops down at the back and shows all the insides? Of course, it mightn't have been so bad if I hadn't used crepe backed silk which has a very obvious difference between the two sides but I didn't expect this to happen. Both silk and crepe are fabrics that Simplicity recommends for this pattern and, look, here is their line drawing of the back and the ruffle quite definitely sticks up.

I told myself that perhaps, if I wore it, I could stay standing with my back to a wall but, after putting it aside for a couple of days, I decided that it just wasn't good enough. So, I took the whole ruffle off, I unpicked one row of the stitching for the narrow hem but couldn't unpick the rest so I cut it off. I then recut the ruffle, which now had to be narrower and slightly shorter, but this time I cut the back neck so that it started to narrow in from the shoulder and became very narrow at the centre back and didn't flop down.
I think that looks much better!

Trauma now (almost) forgotten I do like the dress but Mr Fabulous says I look like a chocolate eclair in it - all brown and glossy. Now I love chocolate eclairs but do I want to look like one - I'm not so sure? However, next time I'm invited to a fancy dress party all I need is a can of spray cream and I'm good to go ........

18 comments:

  1. You look ravishing in this dress! I am partial to ruffles. I love them. You did an amazing in pulling this all together in spite of Cynthia.

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  2. WOW I love this seriously , I have to buy this pattern. I love this on you !!!!!

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  3. Beautiful! I've loved this pattern since I first saw it and almost bought some emerald silk tafetta for it but decided against it since I have so many other things to sew. Thanks for the warning about that back... I'll definitely have to keep it in mind when I eventually make this. :)

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  4. Beautiful dress! Excellent fix on the ruffle.

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  5. Beautiful dress and great fix the ruffle. Sometimes you just have to make the garment and then fix it. You did a fabulous job.

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  6. I personally don't think this is at all pastry-like. When I saw the first picture I was thinking that it will be a traffic stopper! I'm suprised DH doesn't love it. I just don't think men *get* ruffles.

    Thanks for the helpful review; this one is in my pattern stash, too.

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  7. You are mesmerizing in this dress! I adore the style and fit on you. I am so glad that you overcame the ruffle trouble to create something more enticing than Rowley's version. Maybe your hubby was rhyming ruffles with truffles and hence, started thinking about chocolates. I hope you wear your beautiful dress and party! Also, enjoy the the many compliments that you will receive!

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  8. This is a beautiful dress. You did a wonderful job and the ruffle in the back looks great the way you did it :)

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  9. Love it! You did a great job on the ruffles and neckline. To be honest, I skipped over this pattern because it is so low. Now I think I'll have to take a second look at it and know I can simply raise the neckline and all the ruffles will line up. Great color on you as well.

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  10. A great rescue for your dress! Altough it didn't look that bad to me before you changed it. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with chocolate, right? It's a lovely dress, enjoy wearing it. By-the-way, thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. You were the very first one to do so!

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  11. I think its a very pretty dress and there's no need to cart the can of spray cream with you...people might get ideas! :)

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  12. I am impressed. Great looking dress in a hard to work with fabric. Just lovely.

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  13. A fellow blogger Cybergirly told me about you having problems with this dress. I just posted up a few patterns I was thinking of making and this one was one of them.... Mmmmm I am having second thoughts now. thanks for the tip!

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  14. I love that dress on you. I love it in that fabric. I did this dress on my blog! It is a fun one, it turned out really cute. You should check it out!!

    http://cottonandcurls.blogspot.com/2010/12/emilys-new-red-dress.html

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  15. Beautiful dress. Your modification on the ruffle is more flattering than the original design. And the chocolate brown fabric makes the dress look rich and elegant.

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  16. That first one is adorable. Love the fabric and even LOVE the puffy sleeves.
    African Fabrics, African Wax Print

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  17. great job.thanks for the post. We have a great collection of African fabrics. Good quality at lowest price. For whole sell price Visit us hope you guys love them.
    Sequin Fabrics

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