Finished - Simplicity 8084, for Frocktails
Hello lovelies. Happy holidays to you all. I'm hoping it was low stress and happy for all. Today I've found a few minutes to share with you my lovely Melbourne Frocktails outfit. Late November the fabulous Frocktails organisers put on another stellar event at the aptly named bar Seamstress where many a gorgeous garment was sewn and worn.
I was briefly undecided on what to make, then quickly realised that it was the perfect opportunity to make up Simplicity 8084, a Mimi G Style pattern that I purchased earlier in the year. I'm not sure if it's available from Australian retailers yet - we are often a season behind with the new releases. I purchased mine online from a UK seller. It's worth remembering that postage from the UK to the Antipodes is far more reasonable than that from the US. I think it cost me about 8 pounds posted, which is well under $15AUD.
It's really a very good pattern - a relaxed fit shirt dress with 2 length options. It's drafted beautifully, and has some really gorgeous features - gathering at the shoulders, a cutaway neckline and a wonderful hidden button placket - my first ever! The sizing is accurate - there is no excessive ease. I did my usual triangle body sizing - 12 shoulders, 14 waist and 16 for the hips.
My fabric is a really lush navy tencel purchased from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. Massive shoutout and thanks to Kim, the owner - it was a 3 metre remnant in her VERY OWN stash (that she keeps in the shop) and she so kindly sold it to me when I told her what I was looking for. With some creative and careful pattern piece tetris I was able to just cut it out of three metres. I had enough for the pockets but left them out.
I found the tencel ok to sew but my word it was tricky to cut out. I SO wish I'd taken more care. I didn't do a good job on the placket pieces - they're so long and thin, and the fabric really did not want to lay flat (it just wanted to be all lush and suedey and sexy) so the bottom ends of the placket are quite off grain. Not too obvious but when I washed the dress after Frocktails I nearly cried as it warped and rippled so badly - I managed to massage it all reasonably straight whilst damp and then pressed it but it's a cautionary tale with those pattern pieces. Accuracy is key!
Some points regarding the pattern that are worth knowing.....
- one of the VERY first steps is to make buttonholes in the centre front of the dress for the drawstring to exit. I think this is crazy - who knows where their waist is going to be that early on in the piece? I gave that advice the pffft it deserved; in the end I actually didn't add the channel for the drawstring. I wanted the flexibility to be able to wear a different belt with the dress. It would be very simple to add the buttonholes at the end, just before attaching the channel.
- I've noticed a few seamstresses mention the maxi was too short - I think there's too much blouson if you have the belt where the pattern suggests - on the night I wore it with far less blouson which gave me more than enough length (I'm 178cm tall) but I did cut the longest length just to be on the safe side.
- there is no pattern piece for interfacing the left (button) side of the placket, which others have mentioned, despite the instructions saying to apply it. I just used the piece for the right - from memory it didn't need to be reversed, just cut the same.
- for the belt it suggests turning it out by hand from the middle seam. Crazy. I turned it out using the rouleau string method then knotted the ends and hid them with some little toggle things from Jimmy Buttons. The length did make it rather awkward to turn out - to keep the tension I had to tie the string around my toe and do a crazy stretchy move that I'm sure looked vastly awkward but it got the job done.
- I did something wrong with the collar/neckline. No-one else has mentioned they had an issue so it was clearly me. My collar pieces were way too small. I did stay stitch but they were a good inch too short. Luckily I had some scraps to cut another but you can see it's way too wide and floppy. Probably not something anyone else would notice but me and now the world via the internet. I'm hoping it just looks relaxed and insouciantly chic.
I just adore that neckline. And it gives me the added bonus of not having to rip my hair out over my machine's shitty buttonhole function. I intend to transplant that neckline onto an Alder this summer.
I adore this dress. I felt so elegant in it, and the fabric is divine to wear. I'm not sure I've got another maxi in me for a long while though - they're not easy to make (and honestly I don't have much of a lifestyle that calls for them).
Many thanks to Blogless Anna for these photos - I was having a decidedly crusty day and she's made me look human. Thanks love xxx