Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just one more Simplicity 3835

... well, at least until summer! This is the dress that I started back in May and then abandoned in frustration and fatigue. It wasn't working and I couldn't be bothered fixing it. But since I made my boring dress and have enjoyed wearing it, it's spurred me on to finish this one.

You see it was meant to be version B on the pattern - mini dress with sleeve ties, neck band and zip. But when it was almost finished I realised that the neckline looked awful on me and that's where I left the dress, til I came back recently and hacked into it to try to make it work for me (see my notes below if you're interested in the details).

I'm pretty happy with it now, though I'm still working out how to wear it - it's a bit chilly for winter to wear by itself, and the sleeve ties are too bulky to cover with a jacket or jumper, so I may have to wait for warmer weather to comfortably wear it. The cardigan is comfy but not quick to get on and off when necessary. Anyway... all up a reasonably wearable dress, but yet another reminder for me to listen to my intuition when it's telling me something won't suit me... but it's all experience, I guess :-)

A few pattern alteration/sewing notes:

• The neckline. It looked great on everyone in the Flickr group, I'm sure it's designed well, the construction was fine, but I just hated it. I felt like I'd just stepped off a factory production line. Not that there's anything at all wrong with that of course, but uniform wasn't the look I was going for. So I went back to the elastic as in the previous versions I've made. I wish I'd taken a photo before I hacked the yolk off, then you could have told me if it was all in my imagination or not!

• The zip. I was going to keep it in the back, had figured out how to simultaneously have the zip and elastic but in the end didn't need it so took it out. I thought the balance would be out if I made the bodice area so fitted that I needed a zip to get into it. So it's a pull over the head. With a bit of wiggling.

• The sleeve ties. Still love them. Thought there was a big chance of them annoying me, but after wearing for a day I find they don't.

• The fabric. Has been lovely to wear. It's a medium weight linen, and the colour is that sort of blue that goes purplish when you iron it. Hopefully it won't fade too quickly. As I love the fabric so much I thought I'd better try to do it justice and do french seams. My scruffy white overlocking would not do it justice.

• Darts. I added some darts to the front to add some shape and it worked well, I'd definitely do that again. I know I've spoken before about feeling 'swamped' by loose shapes.

• Pockets. Not sure whether to add them, and if so, what type? Definitely not the production line version supplied with the pattern (sorry designer). Should I trim them in the red fabric? Put them in the side seams? Leave them out altogether? What do you think - pockets or no pockets?

* I've been asked by several people for advice on where to purchase the pattern as it's out of print. I think the best bet is to keep checking Etsy and Ebay, particularly from those shops that sell other Built by Wendy patterns. I bought mine from Etsy, shipped from the US. It's a shame that they're out of print as they're so popular, but I guess the pattern company has it's reasons!


  1. I am going to make this pattern like you did with the shirt at dress length and I am going to attempt side seam pockets with zippers. I am a beginner at sewing but I think I can get it done. I am sure you could do it since you seem to be skilled. When I finally have a moment to get this project finished I will let you know how it came out. :-)

  2. It's such a gorgeous dress... I love the sleeve detail and it looks great with the cardigan! I don't think you need pockets but would look good with them too (sorry no help there) So funny how you hack into things... ha ha ha I have a habit of hacking things too :)

  3. Jo! Just came over here from Polka Dot Cottage. I love this dress on you - the color, the lines, the classic simplicity of this style and the cute ties. Brava! Pocket idea= inseam pockets in the side seams. Functional, but hidden and easy to sew. Or else, if you'd like the extra challenge, slice off the skirt pattern just above the hip and sew the dress as two pieces- the bodice and the skirt. The seam that joins the skirt to the bodice can now incorporate all sorts of pockets - in-seam ones and welts and welts-with-flaps.

    Patch pockets are easy but somehow they detract from the clean lines of this dress.

    But really, the dress is lovely as is. So, so nice.


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