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The last thing I sewed and actually finished was my bridesmaid dress for Kat’s wedding. Given that she’s been married for two years now, I thought it was time to get some more use out of my sewing machine and dressmaker’s dummy! So spurred on by seeing how fab it looked on Roisin, I decided to raid my pattern stash for Simplicity 2444 (I have patterns, just never actually *make* them). I’d read nothing but great things about this pattern, which has four darts in the front to really shape the bodice for a good fit. It’s one of the Project Runway sewing patterns, which means there are lots of elements you can add and remove to make different dress styles. I decided to go for the cape collar version (as seen on the model in blue floral print).
It took me about a week to put together, just doing the odd hour here and there. I reckon it could easily be constructed in a day if you really concentrate (I tend to work slowly in front of episodes of Fringe). I used about two and a half metres of black gingham I bought from eBay and notions from my stash – the only other expense was the zip, taking the total cost of the dress up to about £10 excluding the pattern (which I will definitely use again). Here’s the final result…
I’m really, really happy with the finished item. Sewing pattern sizes don’t usually equate to UK or US clothing sizes, so you really must get to know your measurements. I cut the 14, which is actually closer to a UK 12, but I know from experience that the ease in most patterns means I can go down a size. I made the darts ever so slightly smaller than they were meant to be to allow an extra cm or so on the waist, and the dress fit perfectly. I’d read that it was good for big busts and it definitely is – I wish I could find dresses in the shops that fit like this!
One of my favourite things about this pattern is that it has pockets! Never underestimate how useful a dress with pockets is. It was my first time sewing in pockets, so that was a good little trick to learn, too. I’d also forgotten when I bought the fabric that I have the perfect shoes to go with this dress, an old pair of slingback wedges with bows in matching gingham. I can’t wait for a sunny day (please?!) to show this off somewhere other than my flat!
I’ll definitely be making this pattern again, though I think next time I’ll leave off the cape top and just make a simple sundress. I’m hunting down an interesting fabric as we speak – I’m wondering about the car print from Ditto Fabrics for a Prada-esque look?
Before I go, here’s a little extra pic for those who don’t follow me on Twitter. I went to Royal Ascot on Friday (as a guest of the fabulous folks at Longines) and this is what I wore. We were in the Royal Enclosure, so hats and modest hemlines were a must!
My nan was right. People should wear more hats.