crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Simplicity 2281

Pattern: Simplicity 2281, Cynthia Rowley design

Fabric: Rayon challis, bought off ebay, possibly vintage?

Notions: 22″ Invisible zipper

Notes: I have mixed feelings about Simplicity’s Cynthia Rowley line.  One one hand, it’s a lovely line with some fashion forward designs.  On the other hand, I’m pretty sure Ms. Rowley is designing for someone who does not have my body type.  Simplicity 2443, for instance, is one of my favorite patterns, but I had to alter the dress to get it to suit me.  Specifically, it seems as though most of the designs in the line are long waisted, with a gathered (but not flared) skirt.   I look best in dresses that are higher waisted, with flared skirts.  I don’t like too much blousiness in a bodice.

I was attracted to the neck/shoulder treatment on this dress.  And, indeed, it is lovely!  It’s certainly my favorite thing about the dress.  One bit of oddity – I thought the neckline would be a drawstring halter, because of the ties, but as it turns out the entire thing is sewn in place with binding.  It fits me fine, but I feel like it would be easier to fit the pattern with a drawstring.  The directions at that point were odd also – the illustrations showed the view without the open shoulders, forcing me to guess on exactly how to do the neckline.  At that point, I stopped using the directions entirely, and sewed the rest of the dress without.

The skirt is tulip shaped, which isn’t apparent from the envelope.  I do like a tulip shape, but I think I would like this dress more with a flared skirt.   I left off the pockets, because I didn’t want to add bulk to the skirt.  Be careful when choosing the skirt size to cut – the hip measurements are correct, but the hemline is much more narrow.  I can just fit mine over my hips.  The dress has to go over your head because of the neckline – no stepping in!

My fabric was printed a bit off grain, which isn’t too apparent, but it does bother me a little.  If I were to make this dress again, I would reduce the width of the midriff piece by half.  It’s true that I do have a long torso, but my actual waist is pretty high, and I prefer to emphasize that, to keep my legs from looking short.  I would also switch out the skirt.  I do like this dress – I think it’s very cute for spring, and I really like the blue polka dots!  And I really love the shoulders.

I’m off today to the Simplicity sale at Joann’s – I have a few new patterns to pick up. I will write about my next sewing plans later!  BTW, if anyone saw a weird post from me earlier… that was my husband’s attempt at an April Fool’s day joke.  We have had words about how utterly unfunny I find April Fool’s day, and I do not think he will be posting anymore old, unflattering photos of me.  Just in case you were wondering what was up with that!

crafts · Me-made March · outfits

Me made March: the final roundup

Here we are – the last days of my challenge!

Day 28

Dress: Vogue 1176

Cardigan: Old Navy

Shoes: Alfani

This is the first time I’ve worn this dress – it feels so dressy to me, and I’m not really big on straight skirts.   I wore it to my recital, and I feel like it was perfect for that occasion!

Day 29

Cardigan: Jalie Pleated cardigan

Dress: Vogue 8923

Boots: Impo

This is another dress I’m trying to rescue from obscurity.  It’s very clingy, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I do tend to feel self-conscious when something clings to my hips.  The solution?  A long cardigan!

Day 30

Dress: Butterick 5523

Tights: Forever 21

Boots: Poetic License

I love this dress – it’s so versatile, and most of all comfortable!

Day 31

Jacket: Simplicity 2443

Top: American Eagle

Skirt: Vintage Pierre Cardin, shortened

Shoes: Cole Haan

It’s funny- I don’t really love this outfit (I feel like the boxy jacket + full skirt is a bit much) but I got several random compliments on it today!  I do love the individual parts.

All my photos from the challenge are in my flickr set here.

What have I learned from this challenge?  I’ve learned that I actually prefer my handmade items – I did not miss my other closet items a bit!  I feel like I’m doing well making items that I want to wear – in particular, I wear a lot of knit dresses, so I’m glad that I’ve hit those hard since the last challenge in September.

I’ve worn my knitted items this month, which has inspired me to start knitting again – so excited about that!  I can’t really explain to you why I stopped.  I think that I associated many of those items with the period of my life when I made them – a time when I was working a job that I hated, when I felt trapped and alone.  Now that I am happier, I’ve found it hard to shake the memories.  Perhaps those items have finally lost their bad associations for me?  I tend to do that… if, for example,  I wear a certain perfume during a bad event, I might remember that event and stop wearing the perfume.  Of course, I do still have fears for my wrists, so my knitting will be slower, but I’m finally motivated again!

Traveling while participating was a challenge, but it helped me to really distill my travel wardrobe.   For once I didn’t overpack (though there were two dresses I never wore!)  I missed a few days of the challenge – some without photos, some where I only wore concert dress, and some where I only wore pajamas (while getting rid of the nasty Italian virus I picked up!)

My summer sewing plans include many cute dresses.  Self-stitched September was really life-changing for me.  I realized that I wasn’t dressing to make myself happy.  What makes me happy?  Wearing dresses most of the time.  Now I do, and getting dressed every day is so fun!  I plan to continue that into warm weather, hopefully making and wearing many cute dresses.  I also plan to knit some cardigans – I have many black/neutral cardigans, but not so many colorful ones.

I’m on spring break starting today, so I hope to get in some good crafting time.  In addition, one of my friends and I are going to do a thrift expedition/clothes swap, so I’m really looking forward to that!  Thanks to everyone who has commented – and congratulations to my fellow me-made-March participants.  I have enjoyed seeing what you are wearing every day!