March 7, 2016

Finished Project: Simplicity 1779, aka "Pointy Peter Pan Collared, Flutter Sleeved, Blue Watercolor Floaty Object"

Biceps. I got 'em. Chunky ones. Great agrarian sheafs-of-wheat-hauling ones. (Disclaimer: I have never hauled a sheaf of wheat in my life, but ancestral vestiges linger)

Flutter sleeves? No thank you, ma'am.

So why did I make a top with flutter sleeves? Because I had a remnant, and there was exactly enough fabric to make a top with flutter sleeves. Not an inch more. And you know what? In this floaty, drapey polyester crepe de chine from the Hancock remnant bin, I think I can actually live with how they look on me.

I'm still not gonna show the blouse on my actual bod, though. You'll have to imagine.

Simplicity 1779. Despite appearances on the mannequin, the collar is actually symmetrical and lies flat when I'm wearing it.
I did learn some useful things along the way about this pattern, especially when it comes to raw edges showing up in the most wretched of places.

Simplicity 1779: The Pattern

First of all, kittens, we have a basic V-neck blouse with a front button closure (placket).

It offers three sleeve options, all of which are set-in:
  • Short flutter style
  • 3/4 length blouson, gathered at the forearm
  • Full length blouson, gathered at the wrist 

There are also four options for the neckline: 
  • A thin piece that ties in a bow and goes all the way around the neckline
  • Pointed Peter Pan collar 
  • Small, even ruffles that tiptoe around the neckline
  • A big honkin' ruffle collar that tapers down to nothing at the button closure
Simplicity 1779: today's project is a mash-up of view B (flutter sleeves without the tie) and view C (pilgrim collar).
On the pattern, views A-F mix these elements into six pre-configured tops, but here's a helpful hint you won't see on the envelope: you can frankenstein this thing however you want. See, the bodice front and back are the same for all options -- so, no worries about funky different armscyes for different sleeve types.

Although Simplicity 1779 is intended to be loose-fitting, the garment gets some shape from horizontal darts at the front bust, and fisheye darts down the back. The back is one piece, so if you have a rounded or sway back, you might need to break it into two pieces with seam allowances.
A closer look at Simplicity 1779: today's project uses the flutter sleeves from View B, and the pilgrim collar from View D.
Me? I performed an FBA (full bust adjustment). With its horizontal bust darts, Simplicity 1779 lends itself to this FBA method from Curvy Sewing Collective. Because it's a loose-fitting garment, this may not have been strictly necessary, but I wanted the blouse to be equally loose all around. It really makes a difference, even on tops with plenty of ease.
Why are you asking? Are you crazy? Of COURSE there's an FBA.


Putting this together was straightforward. Simplicity 1779's printed instruction sheet provides plenty of helpful illustrations.
As if on command, a breeze blew the the flutter sleeve into position just as I snapped this picture!
I had resolved to whip this up as quickly as possible. Therefore, foregoing my usual rayon seam binding, I simply serged the raw edges.

Tip: line the sleeves instead of hemming

The pattern instructions tell you to hem the sleeves, so I did. On regular short sleeves that closely follow the contour of your arm, this wouldn't be an issue. But when the wind whips up, sometimes the interior serged & hemmed edge becomes visible. Gross!

If I make this pattern again, I will cut out an additional set of flutter sleeves in a very drapey, very lightweight fabric to fully line the sleeves.

Simplicity 1779: As you can see, the interior of the flutter sleeve is visible sometimes. I am not okay with that.

Tip: maybe go ahead and use rayon seam binding, after all

In addition to being faster, serging had the theoretical advantage of adding less bulk and structure to seams. I didn't want this floaty confection to be weighed down by any seam-enclosing hanky-panky.

However, the only exposed seams are the side seams, the armscye, and the bottom hem (assuming you line the sleeves like a good little advice-taker). Rayon seam binding wouldn't have added that much structure to this particular fabric. Oh, but serging was so fast! I felt like a magical elf.
The back is shaped by two fisheye darts.
Other than that, construction happened apace, sans disaster or unexpected weirdness.
Interior shot for the prurient among you. Also, this is what it would look like in one fabric without the contrast collar.

Tip: lightweight hem technique

Because I didn't want the weight of a double-folded hemline, I employed Lilacs & Lace's (Laura Mae's) method for using rayon seam binding as hem tape, with catch stitching. This did entail some extra hand stitching, but I couldn't help myself! 
The hem uses rayon seam binding, held in place by catch-stitching.
I watched an episode of Gotham on Netflix during this operation, which is one of my go-to shows for hand stitching (criteria include: none-to-subtle storytelling, plenty o' verbal explication, and ability to rewind). 
The interior back. See the fisheye darts?

Method: Neckline facing with pick stitching

The pattern includes a facing for the entire neckline. I tried something a little different this time.

Rather than understitching the facing and then catch-stitching it to the seam allowances, I pick-stitched it directly to the fashion fabric. Why? Because none of it was gonna show anyway -- the collar covers everything up. Therefore, this was the perfect opportunity to try a new thing.

Verdict: I like! Did I mention I have anxiety around facings? Yes. I worry about detached facings flapping up during the course of the day. 
New (to me) method of sewing down the collar's facing inside the garment: pick stitch it. Sew those flappy mofos down!
A rational person may ask: "Yes, but aren't you worried about the visible pick-stitching on the outside?" And I would say: "A little, but it's covered by the collar." And the rational person may point out: "Indeed, but a collar can flip up too, and then everyone would see your pick-stitching." And I would reply: "Then those people, if they were informed and polite, would see that the garment is hand-made, and they might ask me if I made it. And I would answer in the affirmative, and we would form a mutual bond over the craft of sewing. I might even teach them how to sew. I would make a ton of new friends, and my life would have meaning, and I would be doing something that made me happy, rather than sewing alone in my cat-pee-smelling hell dungeon!"

And the rational person would slowly back away as I cackled.

The exterior effect of pick-stitching the collar's facing. The collar actually covers this up entirely, so it's just for fun. Until someone gets hurt.

How will I wear this?

Full honesty: this will possibly never see the light of day ... or I will wear it every chance I get. It's terrifically comfortable, and it doesn't bind in any way, no matter how I contort myself. On the other hand ... flutter sleeves ((eyetwitch)). Still not fully at peace with that.

Blouse: Simplicity 1779 (today's project)
Pants: me-drafted, me-made, floaty super-wide-legged palazzo pants in a lightweight poly faille from Hancock Fabrics.
Shoes: Calvin Klein slides from DSW, years ago.
Pearls: I don't have any, so they're not in this shot. But they wouldn't be out of place.

Blouse: Simplicity 1779 (today's project)
Skirt: me-drafted, me-made pencil skirt in mint green wool gabardine, whose ice-green hue the camera refused to pick up; here, it kind of looks like white, which would also work.
Blazer: Some off-brand polyester thing from Ross, but it fits me perfectly, so I wear it all the time.
Shoes: Madden Girl "Getta" beige platform pumps from
Blouse: Simplicity 1779 (today's project)Sweater: Land's End Canvas v-neck cardigan
Trousers: Linen, from Marshalls; I love these pants, because they fit nicely, and that's quite an accomplishment for ready-to-wear pants.
Shoes: Gold chunky-heel oxfords by American Apparel, from a mega sale a few Black Fridays ago (I think they were about $15, originally retailing for $110)
Brooch: vintage 1960s, from a Yerdle member

In conclusion

This is a versatile pattern. Now that I've constructed the FBA to my liking, I'm tempted to try the other neckline and sleeve options. You know what might look really cool? A long sleeved version in a sheer chiffon, with a camisole underneath. Or a shiny charmeuse print. Nothing too clown-like, though. 

Please, if you're making flutter sleeves, do a lining. It only requires about 6 inches of fabric. Use something lightweight and drapey.

Have you made a version of Simplicity 1779? I'd love to hear about it. What would you wear it with? This is soooo not my usual mode (those flutter sleeves), so I'm excited to hear how y'all would style this.


  1. Your buttons look wonky.

    1. Ugh, I know. Ever had one of those days? The buttonholes were supposed to be vertical. I had marked them as vertical, right there on the placket. Then I proceeded to sew horizontal buttonholes like an idiot. :) That's why the buttonholes extend over the topstitching of the placket. If anyone asks, I'm calling it a Designer Detail.

      (Usually, I like to reply with a helpful hint, like "Next time, do XYZ instead of ABC" ... but in this instance, all I can say is, "HEY! PAY ATTENTION, YOU!")