One of the things I discovered through doing Me Made May was that I need more me made maxi dresses. On sunny days there is nothing easier to wear than a long dress that you can chuck on over a swimming costume and wear about town then on to the beach. So when Simplicity contacted me to see if I wanted to try a pattern I immediately checked out their long dresses. I selected either Simplicity 1610, one of the Project Runway patterns, or 1612, a knit dress, and when the package arrived they had very generously sent me both, plus an extra pattern to do a giveaway!
With the temperature rising I couldn’t wait to get started. I used an African Wax Woodin print from Empire Textiles. Six yards cost me £18.00 and although postage was a little pricey it arrived the day after I ordered it. I didn’t use all of it, I have about two and a half metres left, but more about that later.
Anyway, the pattern:
Like all the Project Runway patterns this one is modular, so you can choose from two different bodices, with or without sleeves and cummerbund and with a long or short skirt. And it has pockets! I’m looking forward to making up the version with the short skirt and sleeves, I think it has the potential to be as good as the famous 2444. However with the sun shining I really, really needed that halter neck bodice and long skirt.
Looking at the pattern pieces I was a tiny bit worried. There are quite a lot of them to start of with. There was no need to worry. Not all of the pieces were for this version (of course – duh). And this is actually a pretty quick, simple make with some nice touches. I’m still not too good at technical talk but it has princess seams that made it really easy to fit. You put a bit of elastic along the back on both sides on the seam allowance, which stops it gaping and holds it up a bit more, and I love the way you make each pocket out of one piece that folds over to also form the yoke(?) of the skirt. I missed out the button loops at the top of the straps and used a pale turquoise button and button hole instead because I was in a hurry to finish before the sun went in and turning those pesky little tubes inside out would have taken too long.
And yes, those pink dots are actually sparkly! They look fabulous when they catch the sun. I lined the bodice with a mauve sheet and stitched up the front pieces to avoid any gaping cleavage incidents.
I’m afraid I shied away from pattern matching. I know I should’ve made the effort but I really needed this dress finished quickly in case the sun didn’t last -I know those of you living in the UK will understand. And to be honest too much time looking closely at this print was making my face hurt. Okay, that might have been the sun. Or the beers in the sun. And I can’t possibly tell you my husbands first comment when he saw the dress. Okay, I might if you ask but but I’m hoping he has a unique way of looking at things and nobody else will see what he saw….
After my last zip disaster I intended to move it to the side but I got into the zone and totally forgot until I had already sewn in the lining so I did a lapped zipper on my machine and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. It’s a damned sight better than my last one anyway.
I persuaded the husband to take pictures in the garden. Then when he made me look like an Oompa Loompa I bribed my eldest daughter.
As far as wearability goes this one has passed all the tests. It held up to a day on the beach which ended up as a barbecue and evening drinks. I started out with it over my halter neck bikini then later wore it with my detachable strapped bra with one strap on halter style, because my days of going bra-less are long behind me. As my boobs would be if I did try. There was no gaping or falling down, the bra remained hidden and the print means that any ketchup, beer or suncream stains just blend in. Result. I will definitely be making this again in this length and I also want to make the shorter skirt version so watch this space.
Anyway, did someone mention a giveaway? As well as the two maxi dress patterns Simplicity also sent me a copy of this:
I absolutely love the little scalloped collar on the green one, and the bow on the blue one. If you want to see it in the wild Gertie has just made them both up here and here, and she’s also done a little tutorial on how to do the collar. And as I love you all so much I’m also going to throw in the remaining two and a half-ish metres of the African Wax print I used for my maxi dress.
To enter leave me a comment below, I’ll give you until midnight next Monday the 22nd July and I’m happy to send it overseas. Good luck!