Sunday, September 25, 2011

Miss Cora Wins the Race: Simplicity 2215

Hola, gatitos! Despite what my two week absence may suggest, I have not - in fact - fallen off a cliff or entered the US Witness Protection Program. I did have a camera malfunction, however. You know the kind - when your memory card seems to have wandered off, like a second-grader in a toy store? Luckily, I have invested in a new, bigger (oh la la!) card. Even better, I have things to show you.

First up, is Simplicity 2215. This a Cynthia Rowley pattern with which I'm partially familiar - I made a Talbots-inspired piece from the skirt portion earlier this year. This time around, I undertook the whole shebang, a button-up, softly pleated dress.

For the fabric, I used a charcoal-and-white pinstripe shirting, bought for a song from Fabric Mart during their summer sale. This dress is part of my quest to add more non-prints to my sewn wardrobe. (Pinstripes are technically a print, yes, but one so neutral that we can just call this a solid, agreed?) The fabric is a very fine cotton that drapes beautifully. It took to these pleats like a dream.

As a pattern, 2215 is fairly straight-forward to assemble. The bodice is lined (with the main fabric, in my case), with a layer of interfacing down the button placket and the sewist's desired number of buttons down the front as the closure. The skirt is asymmetrically pleated in both the back and front, with a mix of box pleats and tucks. Honestly, nothing about this pattern is that complicated. The pleating is a bit tedious, yes, but not difficult, while the bodice is almost dizzyingly easy to construct.

So, I should love this dress, right? Easy, cute, and almost a neutral! I do love it...belted. It's perfect belted, flattering and vaguely retro. Unbelted? It is frumptastic. This is probably my fault. I did a few fitting adjustments, based on a tissue-fit, but not a muslin. I did an FBA, then took out an additional two inches from the waist. It wasn't enough. By itself, it hangs at my waist like a sack, despite the adjustment.

Despite my worries that a hot, bearded golfer will run across this blog and see unflattering photos of me, thus negating his decision to take me to his castle in Ireland, I'm going to show you this difference. I know, I know - how very noble. Prepare yourself, friends.

Unbelted: Oh, the horror! The frumpy, waistless horror!

Belted: So cute!

I think I'm going to make this again, if only to prove I can fix this waist size issue. There is some lovely mustard yellow Lisette twill in my stash...

Things I Love:
  • The length! This is one of the first Big 4 patterns in recent memory which hasn't required me to take a ridiculously large hem. I appreciate them in skirts, but hate how they weigh down lightweight dresses. Inevitably, I end up unevenly lopping off four inches. With 2215? A simple narrow hem. Hooray!
  • The buttons! I love buttons. I love them in skirts and shirts, but especially in dresses. There is no RTW style so likely to draw my attention as a cute, buttoned shirtdress.
  • The pleats! They really do work so well with this fabric, lightly falling out from the waist.
Things I Changed:
  • Added a lining to the skirt. My fabric was ever-so-slightly see-through, so after pleating the skirt pieces, I drafted a skirt lining from them. Like the bodice, it's the main fabric, once more, and hemmed with a length of white bias tape.
  • Increased the number of buttons from four to six. The brass buttons I chose were a bit heavy for my fabric choice, so I added two to the bodice, to prevent strange bodice gaping. Because of my bust size (34DD - cue alarmed gasps from button-up shirts everywhere), I tend to err on the side of more buttons, rather than less anyway.
  • Traditional FBA and grading down at the waist.
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Grade down even more at the waist. With a ten-inch difference between my bust measurement and my waist, this is a pretty standard alteration for me, but I really would prefer to take it in even another inch or two for a better fit.
  • Use lighter weight buttons. I fell in love with these little four-hole brass buttons, but they cause the bodice to do some odd things sometimes. A lightweight button really works best, when using a light cotton.
Tricky Steps & Suggestions:
  • Since the pleats are asymmetrical, either mark the fold directions very well or keep the pattern handy, when folding them. Otherwise, it's a breeze!
Fabric & Notions:
  • Charcoal Pinstripe Shirting from Fabric Mart - $1.99/yard (seriously!)
  • Six brass buttons - $1/button
[As always, click the pictures and they shall get bigger!]


  1. This is so cute!! You did an excellent job. Even though you think it looks frumpy, I actually think it looks cute un-belted. I might have to pick up this pattern at the next sale.

  2. Very cute and even better than the pattern envelop suggests! <3