Friday, May 29, 2015

Simplicity Blogger Challenge - Best dressmaking project category

Well that was a slightly longer than anticipated blog break. As often happens in life, time to sew has been short recently so what free time I did have has been spent sewing (and Instagramming) instead of blogging. I have a few projects I need to post about but I'm going to start by writing about the Simplicity Blogger Challenge.


A while back Simplicity posted about a competition; they were offering a choice of 1 of 3 patterns and in return they wanted to see what awesome garments sewing bloggers could come up with. In their words:

"Your challenge is to use the above patterns as a basis for your own bespoke creation. The only rule is that there are no rules!

Using the pattern as your foundation, go wild with fabric, colour, nips here, tucks there and feel free to accessorise to the hilt! Whether fabric is your forte or your signature style is more haute couture, simply show us what you’re made of and stamp your very own style on these patterns."

I decided to enter the "Best Dressmaking Project" category. The pattern selected for this category is a shift dress - New Look 6145. It's not a style I have really sewn before, but being 7 months pregnant I'm already thinking about post-pregnancy clothes, in particular looser and semi-fitted styles that might be more forgiving as I change size afterwards. 

A simple shift dress pattern really allows interesting fabric to shine and I felt I had just the thing in my stash. The fabric I chose is a vintage sari. I just adore the purple colour, and the lovely gold border really deserved to be a feature in the dress. I cut the front of the dress from the most highly patterned part of the sari - when worn traditionally this is the loose end that is often left to drape over the shoulder. I cut the back and the sleeves from the main section of the sari. This section had less patterning which actually made it easier to work around the back darts in the dress. 

I used the gold border as my hem on both the main dress and the sleeves.

 The fabric is quite lightweight (closer to a chiffon or voile type) and due to its age, a bit fragile so I decided to swap the facings for a full lining. I stitched the darts in the fashion fabric and in the lining separately to reduce bulk, but then sewed through both layers of fabric to insert the back invisible zipper and join the side seams. This should reinforce areas of stress and also make it easier to adjust the side seams when I can tailor it to my body.

Fit-wise, I started with a size 10 and made my usual fit alterations - forward shoulder, swayback and full bust adjustment. Being pregnant kinda got in the way here but I was inspired to sew, so sew I did! I won't be able to finesse the fit for a little while but I think (hope!) this style will require less adjustments than a pattern with more design lines to think about. 

So here you go, this is my entry into the Simplicity Blogger Challenge. I think the shift style allows the fabric to shine, and a dress like this needs no more accessorizing than a pair of heels and a stack of gold bangles. What do you think? And did you enter this challenge?


  1. I hadn't realised you were pregnant Helen, congratulations! Lovely dress!

  2. Very pretty dress and you made excellent use of the ornate fabric. I really love the color combined with the gold embroidery! I think you're right - you don't need to accessorize much with a dress like this.

  3. Congrats on baby 2!! Cute dress.