crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Simplicity 2443 (again) and packing trials

4 days until we leave, and I am in full on packing terror.  I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a terrible phobia of flying – more than once I have had full-on panic attacks in airports.  I now travel armed with a prescription for Xanax, which does help somewhat (I’m still scared, but I can’t quite get up the energy to hyperventilate.)  This doesn’t really help my pre-trip anxiety though, so I’m trying to focus on packing rather than the 12 hours I will be spending on various planes this week.  I have been sewing a lot of knit dresses, and several of them will be making the trip with me!  First up:  another version of Simplicity 2443.

Pattern: Simplicity 2443

Fabric: 2 yards of ponte knit from Fashionista fabric (really lovely quality!) Looks to be sold out, but she has several other pretty colors.

Notes: I made this dress last summer (here) and it has been one of my most worn garments!  I loved this cobalt blue ponte, but I couldn’t decide on a pattern.  As I was preparing for my trip, I thought “why not make another?”  I shortened the straps by one inch to raise the waistline to my natural waist (I am pretty short waisted.)  I did not install the zipper, and I didn’t interface anything – I don’t see the need unless you were to use a flimsy knit (which I wouldn’t recommend for this pattern.)

Even at a second try, sewing on the straps was still a bit of a nightmare.  I had to redo only one corner, and it’s not as stretched out as the last one.  My advice?  Do your stay stitching with a straight stitch, set to a short stitch length (I used 1.7 mm)  Pin and sew with the body of the dress facing up.  Clip only where necessary, in the body of the dress only – too many clips, and it becomes challenging to catch all those edges.  Go slow, and don’t worry if you have to redo one – I had  a spot where the whole fabric edge didn’t catch, so I had to rip and redo!  If you get fabric wrinkles when sewing, try stopping with the needle down, lifting the foot, and shifting the excess fabric behind the needle, similar to what you have to do when sewing a v neckline.   If it comes out slightly stretched (and it will, seriously) don’t worry – you can’t see that when it’s being worn.

I added a machine sewn hem.  I used the recommended slip stitch on the last dress, and it proved puckery and prone to coming undone.  I also redid the original dress’s hem with a machine hem at the same time.  Much better!  This is the third garment made from this pattern (I also made the jacket) and it’s one of the favorite patterns of my short sewing career!

Moving on, I’ve been considering my packing options.  I am really trying not to overpack, but it’s hard – I don’t really wear pants, so I’m bringing mostly dresses.  The weather looks to be similar to ours right now – upper 50s and chances of rain.  So I’m packing all short sleeved dresses, with cardigans to go over top (I am bringing a coat as well… I am very cold natured.)

The dresses are (from right to left) Simplicity 2443(x2), Vogue 8667,  Simplicity 2360, Vogue 1224, Vogue 1209, Vogue 8685, and the only dress not made by me (but blogged here.)

Cardigans are (from left:) Simplicity 2443, Jalie Pleated cardigan, Simplicity 2417, and two RTW sweaters, from Jones NY and Rachel Roy.

Shoes (from left:) Cole Haan air flats, Sofft mary janes, Alfani flat boots.  All three pairs are walkable.

I chose the dresses for ease of packing – all except Simplicity 2360 are knit, and after taking the photo I decided that one is getting cut.  They are also comfortable for travel, and easy enough to move in.  I don’t travel in anything uncomfortable.  Wrinkling should be minimal, although the ponte dresses will wrinkle if given the chance.  I own a travel steamer, but I doubt I will be taking it along – I think most of the hotels we are staying at have irons.  I’m not planning on doing any laundry beyond washing tights in the sink.  All of these items roll and pack pretty small – I may be able to get away with a small suitcase, so long as I wear the boots and my coat on the plane.  I will be taking leggings and tights, and several of these dresses are short enough to function as tunics if necessary. Both the dresses from 2243 as well as the Vogue Rachel Comey dress will work for both daytime and going out, with different shoes and accessories.   I’m also bringing my concert dress.  I finally found a new one!

It’s an ITY knit, so no wrinkles.  I will be wearing this with the Jalie pleated cardigan over top, making it Me-made-March acceptable!  And my new glasses came in – I love them!  Conventional wisdom says that if you have bad eyes (my left eye is -9.75, right is -7) you should use small glasses, or so my eye doctor tells me.  I could never wear my old pair for very long – I felt constantly seasick, and I could always see the edges of my vision, even when looking straight ahead (the edges of lenses distort, so this is probably the reason for my poor depth perception.)  I can see great out of these- so much better.  And I don’t feel like my eyes look so teeny!  The only complaint I have is that they do tend to slide a bit on my nose, but I think I have to accept that – I have yet to own a pair of glasses that didn’t, I just have a really tiny bridge.

Back to packing… I have lots more to do, and an extremely busy week.  I have rehearsal or a concert every night before we leave!