Monday, November 17, 2014

Semi-annual blog post: Simplicity 7541, the most perfect dress pattern EVER

I logged into Blogger last week to check my favorite blogs and was appalled to see that my last post was at the end of July. Not that anyone has noticed, but I still felt bad about it. I need to do some more "Old Letters" because I've got some really juicy ones, I need to do some dress pattern write-ups, and I need to talk about the stays I've been working on. Oh, and my Victorian corset.

But for right now, I give to you the most perfect dress pattern in the world: Simplicity 7541, a vintage 1997 pattern for a pullover a-line dress. It had been in my stash for about a year before I finally made it up, and since then, I've made FOUR of these in different fabrics. I only have pics of one of the dresses--no wait, I made one for my Galveston beach weekend with my sister and she snapped a pic when I wasn't looking.

Let's take a look:

Front, obviously. That little buckle in the neckline isn't a sewing mishap. The dress just got hung up on m'lady and I didn't notice while I was taking the pictures.
Side front.

Can't really see the dress but isn't the beach GORGEOUS in the morning? My sister and I have decided to buy condos next door to each other on the beach when we retire and wear muumuus and drink cocktails on our porches every evening while watching the sun set over the ocean. We will be known as "you mean those old ladies that are always outside drinking?"

These pictures may not show the awesomeness of this pattern, but I assure you, it is the best for the following reasons:

1. It's only two pattern pieces.
2. No darts, no gathers, no zippers.
3. It's loose yet skims the figure for a most flattering look.
4. The a-line style would look good on ANYone, any size, any figure type.
5. Cool and comfy in summer. Could make it in wool or flannel and wear it with a cute blouse and tights for winter.
6. It's a perfect "eatin' dress." Meaning, you can pig out and your food baby won't show. That's why I made several for the beach, because my sister and I planned on eating fancy cheeses, salty meats, tiny pickles, crackers, and desserts all weekend, washed down with plenty of whisky, wine, and vodka.***

The pattern comes in two lengths. I made the shorter one and I made it without the pockets. I don't have time for pockets.

The neckline and armholes are supposed to be finished with facings. I didn't use facings.

In my first version of this dress, I used a very lightweight cotton lawn and did a self-fabric lining.

In the yellow version, I lined it with a cotton gauze but I think that was overkill. I just didn't want to do facings.

On the black dress above, I used bias binding for the neck and armholes, which ended up taking longer than putting the dress together.

In retrospect, I think that facings are best if you are using a heavier fabric for this dress. If you're using a lightweight fabric, lining it works best.

The only change I made to the pattern was to shorten the waist by about an inch and a half, because I'm very short-waisted. The pattern does have a slightly fitted bodice in that there's a waist indentation on the pattern, so I felt it would have looked "off" if I hadn't shortened the waist.

I love styles like this because as someone who has tummy issues and frequently has to deal with sudden bouts of bloating (more like inflating, to be honest), I appreciate being able to wear comfortable clothing that's still cute and flattering. A dress doesn't have to hug the body or emphasize any particular part of it to still be cute.

***that lasted about 18 hours and then all we wanted to eat was salad and boiled shrimp.

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