Monday, August 16, 2010

Simplicity 3833, Take 2

I know, I know... I know what you are thinking. Quilting cotton? Super busy print? Hmmmm.
I had this wild cotton print in my stash all summer and was at a loss for what to do with it. I'm not even sure what I bought it for. I know that bright, busy prints are not always the most flattering when it comes to apparel, but for some reason I'm drawn to crazy prints- the more color the better it seems. I crave some color sometimes- might have something to do with my profession :). I figure it's okay to use a bright print if the pattern is simple and not very sophisticated. I used Simplicity 3833, a 1960's reprint, which I have already sewn once in a knit. I love the a-line shape of the dress and the back belt that cinches it in at the waist. ( I'm wearing a thrifted belt in a couple of the pictures.) I also like this pattern because I don't have an issue with the back fitting me across the shoulders like I do with most patterns. There are two nifty little darts at the back neckline that seem to do the trick. Maybe I should try putting neck darts in on other patterns when I'm having fit issues.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern this time around. I've learned that I need to cut a size smaller on top than bottom almost all of the time. I'm still not very good at long zippers (read: don't have the patience for them) so I try and omit wherever possible. I left out the zipper and made a key hole using a leather button and loop at the back of the neck. I just made the neck opening big enough to fit my head. I look a little funny wriggling in to the dress, but once it's on it fits great! Making the loop was a learning experience. I spent an hour trying to turn one little loop- one little loop. I've never been so frustrated in my life. Who would have thought turning a little loop could be so difficult? Then, I turned to my sewing bible- the Internet- and found an awesome tutorial on turning a loop or spaghetti strap with a bobby pin. If you haven't seen this, look. It was life changing-- so easy. I also added in seam pockets. Every dress should have pockets.

I realize that it's not always a good idea to use quilting cotton for apparel, but it's hard to resist a really cute print sometimes. I'm trying to educate myself about different types of fabric, mainly by trial and error, and what I've learned about quilting cotton is that the weave is somewhat coarser than, say, a cotton shirting which means it doesn't drape as nicely and also wrinkles easily (correct me if I'm wrong). I'm started to gravitate towards fabrics that have a nicer drape and I'm also trying to use fabrics I've never sewn before. Linen is my favorite so far and there are many synthetics I've never tried. Any suggestions?


  1. This dress is lovely! I'm also a sucker for quilting cottons and am glad to see this project turned out so nicely. Hurrah!

  2. I was a big sucker for quilting cottons when I started out (I say was, I still am!!), but I too had the same problems. I just made a skirt out of a cotton linen blend, and it's lovely to work with, but it also creases a ridiculous amount! *sigh* A girl's ironing is never done!

    The dress looks gorgeous though, you'd never have guessed that the cotton was meant for a quilt!

    Many thanks for your kind words on my latest project :)

  3. Lovely dress and a great fit too. The print suits it. I find with quilting cottons there are different weights and the soft ones work better for dresses, it's better to avoid the tiny prints too. As for what materials to use for what projects the sensible thing is to go by the recommendations on the back of the envelope (boring I know) and the other thing is to just go for it and experiment.

  4. I really love the print! Its a fab dress that reminds me of gypsy caravans! Love your blog too I've just come across it keep writing and sewing I don't sew nearly as much as I should but its such a fab thing to learn and like you I have trouble with fabric choices! Haven't attempted online fabric buying yet but we shall see! have fun!