The Floral Sundress of Near Perfection

I lied. I’m so sorry. I actually do have a little something to say about my recent Simplicity 2209. A couple of little somethings, actually.

This is the pattern, if you remember, that I adjusted within an inch of its life in order to fit me. I was so pleased with my first that I decided to make another one. I think the whole process took me about six hours–this includes a healthy dose of hand sewing. I also made a panic-run to Jo-Ann’s for the belt fabric and of course arrived just behind the lady with–and I am not exaggerating here, folks–about twenty bolts of fabric to be cut. The lady helping her was super chatty, and they talked on and on about horse-riding lessons (I feel like there’s a better word for that–can’t think of it. . . ) while I silently stewed at the pattern book table. However, I had arrived just in the nick of time to catch the tail-end of a Simplicity sale. I limited myself to five. Because I’m disciplined like that.

Stop laughing.

When I got home there was dinner to be eaten. And for some reason I’m remembering baking a cake, but I don’t think that really happened. . .

All that to say that construction went remarkably well and pretty quickly. It’s the little things like finishing seams and tying off threads that seems to take forever.

This time, I used a cotton poplin, and let me just say that I am a fan of poplin. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it when I received it. It was so much stiffer than I expected. But the stiffness makes for a very clean, crisp dress. And it doesn’t wrinkle that badly.

But, here’s the thing with poplin. Things like this happen:

The horror!

I’ve never had trouble with my seams coming apart, so I wasn’t even really paying attention. So, it wasn’t until everything was finished that I noticed the problem. There’s really nothing to be done except rip the bias tape out and sew that seam with a little more vigor. . . and backstitching for Pete’s sake.

This brings me to my next issue. The left arm pulls against my shoulder when I reach forward–know what I mean? I’m thinking maybe I was a bit over-zealous with my armscye darts. I think I need to shallow those up just a bit.

And that’s the end of my whining. I love everything else about this dress.

You know how you see something and don’t really notice it, but your brain files it away for future reference? Does this happen to anyone else? Well, I wasn’t happy with the pleats on my first 2209 and mentioned that I might make them tiny little tucks instead.

That’s not what I did. The smart voice in my brain (the one that stays silent most the time. Dumb voice. . . ) piped up just as I was about to pin my pleats and said, “Hey–why don’t you sew them together instead of just ironing them down and basting?” So, that’s what I did. (I would explain exactly what I did, but when I tried, I sounded like a crazy person. I didn’t take pictures of the process. And I’m sure most of you already know how to do it.) The thing is, I know I must have seen this done somewhere else–I just don’t know where.

It’s easier to see how great they are when I’m actually wearing it, I guess. . .

Compare the above pleats to these. See the difference?

Anyways, the result is that the pleats lie down so much nicer! It reduces volume around the waist. And some of us don’t need extra volume around the waist, knowwhatI’msayin?

I didn’t finish the belt in time to wear with the dress for its First Day Out–as it was, I was sewing the hem until 1:00 a.m. I did go back later and make the belt I had in mind.

My first idea was to make another bow belt like I made in blue for the first dress, but after thinking about it, I decided I wanted to try something different.

I started with the basic fabric belt–basically following the instructions from Tilly’s bow belt, because seriously, is there a way to do it differently? You can’t really beat the long, interfaced rectangle for a simple belt. Instead of using hooks and eyes which I HATE sewing with a seething, burning, boiling hatred, I pulled out my rubber mallet that I hadn’t gotten to use yet and pounded on a couple of snaps. It was tremendous great fun.

I decided that I wanted flowers on this belt. So, I cut a couple of lengths of fabric, Sewed the two long ends together with a basting stitch, gathered the fabric, and started rolling it until I achieved a rose-like shape. Then, I just hand-sewed the flower together to keep its shape and hand-sewed the flowers to the belt.

Okay, this picture is crazy blurry–I don’t know what happened. I just don’t have it in me to try to fix it.

Making this belt was such fun, I think I’m going to make several more in lots of colors. I may even play with different fabrics and maybe various flower shapes.

And then I’ll have to make a dress to wear with each.

Nope. No lofty sewing goals here. Not me.

. . .

Stop laughing.

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