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.

Haberdashery shopping in the USA

(You can sing this post title to the tune of the Bruce Springsteen song, if you try really hard)

I only visited one fabric shop on my recent holiday, which I think is fairly restrained. It was G-Street Fabrics, which is just outside Washington Dulles airport in a little retail park which also contains a frozen yogurt shop (where I dropped off my boyfriend).

G-Street is a nice shop, but in the end I decided they didn’t carry any fabrics I couldn’t find in London, apart from these bizarre 3D cottons:

3D Fabrics

Yes, you do have to look at them through special 3D glasses. My favourite is the mournful looking 3D dogs. The mind boggles. I guess they are intended for quilters? Do you get the glasses free with the yardage, or do you buy them separately? So many questions.

Anyway, sadly I didn’t buy any 3D flame fabric (although now I am strongly wishing I had done). What I did get is some haberdashery bits and pieces I can never find in the shops here, including fold-over elastic in both pale blue and turquoise seersucker. I’ve always wanted to try this stuff. I also got a selection of tape-like products – Seams Great, Stay Tape, and Wonder Tape. I don’t know what the Wonder Tape is for, exactly, but the name made it seem so impressive. Anyone used these before?

haberdashery from G-Street

I also went to a Wal-mart and rifled through the fabric section there. Not having much use for High School Musical themed fabric, I didn’t buy any, but I did get two super-cheap patterns from the new lines by Simplicity and New Look.

Simplicity Sew Simple 2004

Simplicity 2004 is a very simple yoked dress pattern, but it has pockets and was only 97 cents so obviously I had to buy it. I’m slightly worried that it’s been described as a ‘muu-muu’ on pattern review, but I think it could work with elastic or ribbon round the waist to cinch it in. Hopefully.

New Look 6070
New Look 6070 was only 2 dollars, and I like the way they’ve included a line-drawing on the front of the envelope. It’s also the only commercial pattern I’ve ever seen which recommends using an invisible zip. I can see this with a peter pan collar and a fake button placket added, to give it a faux shirtdress feel. I’m thinking about using this John Kaldor fabric I got in Edinburgh ages ago, it’s a lovely rayon crepe which reminds me of the famous Marimekko gingko print.

That’s it for my pattern buying until I get a new job! I’ve bought about 10 new and vintage patterns in the last few months and I really need to get sewing some of them. I blame Colette Patterns for having too many nice designs.