crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Simplicity 1803: Graduation day

Pattern: Simplicity 1803 (project runway)

Fabric: Cotton Sateen (sold out!)


I don’t usually enjoy sewing for a specific occasion.  More often than not I wind up not finishing in time, which leads to guilt – and since sewing is a hobby, I try to avoid that feeling!  I really wanted to make a dress for my graduation ceremony, in spite of the fact that no one would see it until after.  And while yes, it’s true that I was putting the zipper in at 10 o clock this morning (I had to line up at 11!) I’m still pleased with my choice.

I bought this fabric from fashion fabrics  club a few months ago.  I order a lot of prints from them, because they tend to be cheap, but you never really know what the weight or quality will be.  Fortunately, this fabric is lovely for a dress – it has a nice drape, isn’t too sheer, and doesn’t wrinkle badly (the photos were taken after the three hour ceremony – it survived this uncrumpled under a robe!)

About the pattern:  Well, it seems to be a popular choice right now.  I was attracted to the neckline, and thought it would be pretty simple to sew.  The directions were, as usual for a Project Runway pattern, pretty scattered.  They were accurate, it’s just that at times it was hard to know what view/steps I should move to next.   I figured it out – the view I made is bodice A combined with the sleeveless armhole finish and skirt without pockets.  The pattern was really well drafted – no issues with that.

I do have a few issues with this dress on my particular body type.  In the photo above I’m holding out the skirt as though it had a crinoline.  Here is the view without:

I have broad shoulders for my size, and the top of this dress makes me look a wee bit boxy.  This is not generally  a concern of mine, but I do recall not loving this sort of neckline the last time it was popular.  I think I can fix the proportions by simply wearing the dress with a little crinoline in the future.  Don’t misunderstand – I don’t think I look bad here, just that I think it could be improved!

The yoke was not as hard to construct as I feared.  I have one issue – since the yoke is only attached at the armholes but not across the front, the keyhole tends to gape open a bit if I lean over.  I’m going to go back and top stitch it to the bodice front.  Now it’s entirely possible that I missed that direction – I was running behind a bit, and probably skipped some steps!

Ah, there are the sitting wrinkles!  The back fits very nicely.  The scoop is low, but wearable with a bra (the front, however, requires a bra with really wide skinny straps not to show under the keyhole.  I wore a strapless.

I have a serged hem in these photos, as I haven’t decided for certain on the length.  I may take an inch or two off – I think it would help with the proportions.  Other alterations:  I had to taper 2 inches out of the waist of the dress, as I probably cut a size too big there.  I do recommend this pattern – it’s an adorable design!  My only real advice is to check the fit on the keyhole – I am a B cup, but it is slightly big.

Here is how I actually spent the day:

(my parents, husband, and myself after the ceremony)

It took a long time for me to get here, and it feels good to finally clear the last hurdle.  What comes next for me?  Well, I already feel so lucky.  I decided long ago that what I really wanted out of life was to find a way to thrive doing what I love.  People hear I’m a professional musician and assume that I’m after some sort of elusive fame or fortune, but that’s not the case.  For the vast majority of us, the joy comes from being able to live with music every day – to surround myself with my fellow musicians and live in that space (and hopefully earn enough to pay the bills… that always helps.)

So I don’t plan to change – rather to continue on as I have been, finding new opportunities and places to do what I love.  I don’t know where that will take me, but I’m ok with being along for the ride.  As always, thanks so much for reading, and congratulations to all the other graduates out there this year!