I’m back in action and wearing green!
I’ll speak more about my absence at the end of this month, in the roundup post. In the meantime, let’s get back to the good stuff on Making the Flame – new garments!
Have you ever come across a pattern you just had to master? That is how I felt about Simplicity 2406. My prior attempts in gold and copper ITY simply didn’t work. The ITY – intentionally different from the recommended fabric – was too droopy. The copper dress wasn’t well sewn at all, and the slit in the back bodice was too long. The sleeves were well done on the gold dress and I shortened the slit, but otherwise it still wasn’t awesome.
So I had an axe to grind with this pattern. I also had some cotton taking up space in my stash that seemed the right weight and crispness to do Simplicity 2406 justice. I figured I had nothing to lose since I wasn’t crazy about the fabric, and got down to business.
When done right, Simplicity 2406 is a cute Cynthia Rowley dress pattern. As a loose fitting A-line dress with pockets and a sash, all of the shaping is concentrated at the gathered front and back necklines. There’s a long slit/opening at the center back, which is great if you have pretty bras or if you can comfortably go braless. The size range is 6-22, which covers bust measurements 30.5″-44″. There is 6″ of design ease at the bust for all sizes, and even more at the waist.
I significantly shortened the center back opening and overlapped the edges before tacking them together, so it’s not obvious there’s an opening in the back of the dress. I’m not modest, I just have ugly bras, haha. This dress is very easy to slide on and off, despite not having any closures, because of the wide neckline and the loose fit.
A dress like this is generally a difficult style for a plus sized, pear shaped woman to wear, but I wanted to see if it could be done! Last time I graded this pattern up, I made it pear shaped (to match my body) and felt that that ruined the design lines. So this time, I graded up 10″ overall from the size 22, without making any adjustments for my shape. After the dress was mostly sewn, I threw pleats into the front neckline because it was falling off my shoulders. I also threw an elastic at the center back waist as a sort of cheater swayback adjustment. When you can’t do a real swayback adjustment, try gathering the excess fabric so it fills up the hollow at the swayback.
Like with most patterns, I traced this off and then put the original pattern away. But when I went to cut it, the back neck area looked fishy. Pulling out the original pattern to compare, I discovered I’d traced the front neckline onto the back pattern piece! Ahhh! Calamity!
But a glaring error like that is a wonderful opportunity to use creativity to save the day, and that’s what I did. I traced off a back yoke piece, and cut it and the sleeves out of contrast fabric, to make the mistake look intentional. For the finishing touch, I made some bias binding from the contrast fabric and top stitched it over the yoke/back seam using a decorative stitch. So the ugly seam was hidden by pretty bias trim, and the yoke looked like a design feature. Voila!
Aside from that error and the sleeves*, this dress is super easy to cut and sew. You don’t even need to follow the instructions* (I didn’t) because it’s so straightforward. There are side seam pockets, but I’m pretty sure they’re always sewn the same way, regardless of the garment they’re in. So if you’ve ever sewn side seam pockets, you could handle these easily. (*Definitely follow the instructions for the sleeves!!! They are tricky! Everything else is easy.)
I was initially dubious about this dress for several reasons: prior failure with this pattern, its challenging silhouette, the not-quite-my-style fashion fabric, and the fact that I accidentally ‘dyed’ the contrast fabric neon green (pro tip: don’t pre-wash yellow and blue fabrics together). But I always try on my finished garments at least once. And in this case, I was surprised to find that I love this dress. :)
The neon green isn’t too green, the yoke is cute, the belt pulls it together, the sleeves fit like a dream, and the silhouette looks totally natural on my plus size, pear shaped body. Just in time for spring, I have a bright new number for my closet!