This year my husband is celebrating a rather important birthday (I have been sworn to secrecy on exactly which one I’m afraid). We have decided to celebrate by embarking on a family cruise around Europe (exciting stuff). This gave me the perfect opportunity to make one of the fabulous dresses from Simplicity 2442; this is the second pattern I received from sewing-online. Once again I set myself another challenge and again it was more of a challenge than I first thought. The pattern consists of various different versions of the same dress, different lengths and different necklines, it was decided that the halter neck with a short puff skirt would be just right for my new model (my daughter).
The fabric is a gorgeous crepe backed satin, bought from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester; the dress is fully lined with various panel sections and a centre back zip. The construction began with the bodice. a few pleats and tucks here and there, followed swiftly by the straps and the back sections, it was all much too easy, then came our first fitting – massive is the only word I can use to describe it because I cut to her usual size. Not one to be defeated so easily, I took some more measurements and reduced everything in size. I then moved on to the waist panel, which consisted of a lined section and a gathered midriff drape, I decided this wouldn’t work with the satin being slightly thick, so I hatched an alternative plan.
Plan B had a style all of its own (the only one of its kind). First I needed to make the skirt and the lining, which consisted of 7 panels of material and lining. The lining was a few inches shorter to create the lovely puff effect at the base, with added elastic on the inside to bring it all together. The skirt was then attached to the midriff followed by lots of hand stitching attaching the sequin bands around the middle. Last but not least inserting the zip, I had realised early on there was no messing with this satin, no unpicking a million times as I normally do (slight exaggeration), I knew the zip had to go in and it had to go in first time, so I opted for a lapped zip instead of a concealed one (another sewing experience I haven’t had for many years).
There we have it ladies and gentlemen a beautiful simplicity pattern transformed into a rather lovely evening gown. I realised this time that I have so much to learn about fabric and how to treat it, when to use it and when not to use it depending on what you are sewing. The satin is divine but I have to admit that I can’t wait to move on to a fabric that can be well-handled without growing a fringe. I totally love the dress and it looks even more special because of my daughter, I think it is fitting for a formal evening on our cruise and her prom next year……….although knowing me I will probably have made another one by then!