Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Miss Juliet Forgets You Not: Simplicity 1873

Good evening, Jedi sewing warriors! Tonight, Sam and I are celebrating this most momentous of days (May the 4th) by drinking wine, making horrible Star Wars jokes, and watching Return of the Jedi. Naturally, I thought it would also be the perfect night to blog about this sweet little floral dress. Nothing says "Let's kill some storm troopers!" like quilting cotton covered in forget-me-nots and baby's breath.

This dress was my contribution to the Dress Up Party, hosted by Sara of Sew Sweetness. Throughout the month of May, she'll be featuring guest bloggers in their favorite garment patterns and tons of giveaways. For my post, I decided to sew up another version of my own go-to dress pattern, Simplicity 1873. It's been over nine months since my last version and my sewing machine threatened to revolt, if it didn't revisit this bodice soon.

To be honest, this dress was also influenced by a terribly boring factor: the weather. Our forecast is nothing but mid-eighties and thunderstorms, as far as the eye can see. Summer advances oh-so-quickly, kittens. 

As you may know, my Texas summer wardrobe has a few rules. There must be natural fibers, minimal layers, and ease of movement. If any garment fails on one of these counts, it won't get worn. Fully lined dresses and pencil skirts molder at the back of my closet, unloved, until October. Or, let's be honest, November.

This dress follows my rules in a gloriously practical fashion. I used midweight quilting cotton that didn't need a lining, lowered the front and back necklines for less coverage, and finished the whole thing with light blue bias tape. It's swishy, breathable, and so ready for summer! Even if my ghostly pale skin isn't.

I've blogged about this pattern so many times that it seems redundant to chatter on, but let's take a quick look at its construction anyway. This dress has a two-dart bodice, scooped neckline, and a wide, pleated circle skirt. Honestly, the most painful part of sewing this dress is cutting out all those darn skirt panels! I've been so spoiled by simpler patterns, in recent months, that the refolding and cutting out of this one felt like pulling teeth. I can't believe I tackled this thing, without a rotary cutter, for my first iteration. How torturous!

Luckily, all that tedium is made up for by the construction process, itself. Call me a sewing nerd, but there's nothing I love more than large swaths of pleating. The marking, the folding, the pressing. It's all so cathartic! Putting a heavily pleated floral skirt together is my sewing catnip. 

Beyond the skirt, however, this dress is pretty basic. Eons ago, I performed a two-inch FBA (on the size 20) and a half-inch narrow shoulder adjustment, so it also fits like a dream. It's finished with an invisible zip at the center back, light blue serging along the seam allowances, and the aforementioned bias tape. I even cheated on this one and sewed a standard machine hem. The horror! The quick and satisfying horror!

In the end, I have one heck of a sundress. It's ridiculously feminine, yes, but still easy to throw on with a cardigan and sandals. Wearing it out, especially with my slightly shorter new hair, makes me feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. It's just so, so sweet. For this time of year, that's one of my favorite qualities in a garment. Even better, wearing it seems to provoke kiss ambushes, from Sam. There are certainly worse consequences from a dress!

Why are you moving into my frame? You know I'm taking pictures, right?
Nevermind. Carry on, Professor!

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