Geometric 70s shirtdress: Simplicity 2246

We have a new record! Forget the Olympics, this is the fastest time ever between me posting about a potential sewing project, and actually making it. Normally there’s a time lag of at least 6 months. Here’s my shirt dress:

So, you might have noticed that Simplicity 2246 has an A-line gathered skirt, while this one is, well, a pencil.

I did actually sew the original pattern shape. I only just managed to squeeze it out of  two metres, which is why the back skirt panel has the little ‘A’s going right side up, instead of upside down. I don’t think anyone will notice though, do you? I find people pay a lot less attention to minor clothing details than you’d think (apart from fellow sewists, they’re a bit tricksy like that).

So anyway, I made the original A-line skirt version, put it on and looked in the mirror, and just HATED it. It was those mimsy little gathers at the waist. They looked so home-sewed, so apologetic, so little-girly. The geometric fabric just did not like them.

Normally what I’d do is stuff the piece away somewhere until I could face dealing with it. But because I’d already blogged about this I felt a weird obligation to finish the damn thing.

So my solution was to re-make the skirt entirely. This involved a lot of seam ripping (including all the overlocking, which was just as fun as you’d imagine). Then I took my trusty pencil skirt pattern and traced it on to the pieces, moving the darts a bit so they matched the bodice ones. Sewing it all back up didn’t take long, and then I overlocked the hell out of everything.

I figured the print was so blinding that it needed ultra boring detailing, so I just went for brown top-stitching and some very plain buttons.

This Lisette pattern is nice, but there’s a few annoying things about it. There’s way too much sleeve cap ease, which as we all know, is totally bogus. I really hate those tiny little gathers at the top that you have to do to make it fit (I’m being super harsh on gathers today, I know.). Also, it instructs you to cut out 4 placket pieces which just takes forever. There is no need for this! Cut the placket and the facing all in one, ladies!

Hmm, what else. Oh yes, I combined the bodice darts into one really massive deep waist dart, which came out a bit pointy but you can’t really tell in this fabric. I also added a little pocket with a button and cuffed the sleeves above the elbow.

So what do you reckon? I think this is one of those fabrics that you love at first sight, but become steadily disillusioned with over the course of sewing. I’m not sure if a plain sheath dress would have suited the print better. But I’m still pleased with myself for salvaging a potential disaster into something totally wearable.


29 thoughts on “Geometric 70s shirtdress: Simplicity 2246

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  2. Alice September 5, 2012 / 1:14 PM

    This is so cute! I’ve been at different versions of this dress of the blogsphere before making a start on my own, and your version is really cool! I love the geometric prints 🙂

    • yesilikethat September 5, 2012 / 1:36 PM

      Hey thanks! Good luck with your version, it is a nice pattern.

  3. Minnado July 4, 2012 / 9:12 AM

    I like it – think it has good winter/autumn potential too with a cardigan (of course) and boots. I had thought the waist gathers on the 2246 view c would look really mumsy and frumpy on me – I like how you salvaged it though. I tend to leave projects like that in the wardrobe, hoping they will magically resolve themselves.

    • yesilikethat July 4, 2012 / 1:25 PM

      Me too, this was a good lesson in forging through the pain and just getting it altered before I lost the will power. Need to do that more I think!

  4. prttynpnk July 4, 2012 / 12:49 AM

    This is so flattering and I like the print with it, its got a lovely 70’s feel. Nice!

  5. shivani July 3, 2012 / 1:37 PM

    this is amazing. love it.

  6. ooobop! July 3, 2012 / 1:01 PM

    Amazing dress! And totally the right decision to opt for a pencil skirt. More of a showcase for the fabric. I am joining your anti-gathering gang. I usually opt for soft pleats if gathering is called for. Much more flattering and easier in my mind. Also, didn’t occur to me about the ease on sleeves. You are absolutely right. I havent questioned it before but more often than not I have ended up with a poofy sleeve instead of a nicely inset one!! 🙂

    • yesilikethat July 4, 2012 / 1:25 PM

      Yeah, down with poofy sleeves! (unless intentional) x

  7. thesecretlifeofseams July 3, 2012 / 12:03 PM

    I love it! Fantastic print, I’d never in a million years noticed the back skirt was upside down. I think a belt might work nicely as well but then I’m a beltphile.
    Currently sewing this pattern up, sans sleeves but with mimsy gathers! When you sewed the placket and facing as one…I’m being dim and not following, did you just shave off 3/8 inch on one side and cut it out on a fold?

    • yesilikethat July 4, 2012 / 1:24 PM

      I do like the gathers on other versions I’ve seen, looking forward to seeing yours! I think for mine it was a mixture of this v geometric fabric, and the fact that my gathers were all, well, gathered in a big clump below each bust dart, it was not flattering. If I try and make it again I’d spread them out more. For the placket thing, I just worked out the finished width which I think is 2.5cm, doubled that, and added 1cm seam allowance on each side. If that makes sense. There’s an even easier way to do it here but you need to work it all out before cutting out… x

  8. Donna July 3, 2012 / 8:28 AM

    I’m glad you were able to slap it into submission and make it something you’ll enjoy wearing because it really is an awesome dress! I think the slimmer skirt puts the unique fabric in the limelight.

  9. Rehanon July 3, 2012 / 7:50 AM

    Cor what a banger! Nice work lady this is so funky. You be careful walking through Dalston the cool kids will have that off you back if you stand still too long 🙂 Super well done for time between inspiration and inception I’m normally a long lead kinda gal so I know how nice it is when you get it done.


    • yesilikethat July 4, 2012 / 1:21 PM

      Hi Jane, it’s from Ditto fabrics in Brighton, can’t see it on their website tho unfortunately. Apparently it was ex-Christian Dior! It was about 7 quid a metre I think.

  10. Sam July 3, 2012 / 5:37 AM

    It looks fabulous! The print is amazing, but I can imagine it would be one of those prints you have to be in the right mood to wear. Glad you’re falling in love with it again after photographing it.

  11. gingermakes July 3, 2012 / 3:50 AM

    This is way cute! I think you’ve worked through the issues you had brilliantly, and it looks super RTW (in a good way, ya know?)!

  12. lizzylikescake July 2, 2012 / 9:28 PM

    Awesome dress which I can confirm looked fabulous in person. You are a very clever lady. x

  13. Melizza July 2, 2012 / 9:22 PM

    How funky fresh! I am so impressed that you managed to match the pattern so well. Or is it an illusion? No matter. The dress looks great!

    • yesilikethat July 2, 2012 / 9:48 PM

      Hey thanks but I’m afraid it’s an illusion! That’s the advantage of using crazy fabrics like this, no straight line prints for me any more 🙂

    • Melizza July 2, 2012 / 9:57 PM


  14. stirandstitch July 2, 2012 / 9:18 PM

    i think it’s brilliant! and i like the opposing pattern on the back – it adds a subtle contrast which is really cool.

    • yesilikethat July 2, 2012 / 9:49 PM

      Aw thank you, that’s a good way to put it and what I will say to anyone who notices!

  15. Chuck July 2, 2012 / 9:16 PM

    I love the fabric at first sight! I can imagine that constant exposure might be rather wearing. Maybe put it a way for a while and come back to it? I think it looks great, the pencil skirt was definitely the right choice. X

    • yesilikethat July 2, 2012 / 9:48 PM

      Thanks dude! Taking these photos has actually has made me fall in love with it a little bit again. x

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