April 11, 2016

Finished project: Lisette for Simplicity 1419, aka "Skull-tastic Chambray Dress"

The skulls made me do it. I mean, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you snatch up a 2-yard remnant of this tiny skull-printed chambray? 
Skulls. And stars and lightning bolts for some reason. Do not question this chambray, or it will zap you.
With the help of Simplicity 1419, I transformed it into a perfectly cromulent pickle-flavored angel food cake of a dress that combines the weird with the conventional.
This dress pattern is the definition of basic:
  • Simple bodice with darts at the bust and waist. 
  • Notched neckline in front, closed with a hidden button. 
  • Optional Peter Pan collar.
  • Optional cap sleeves. 
  • The skirt? A rectangle with pleats.

Simplicity 1419, by Lisette, is a blank canvas for your fabric whimsy.

The non-fussy design gives us lots of room to work with prints and details. The prolific sewists over at the Pattern Review community are all over this one: see the many faces of Simplicity 1419 at Pattern Review

I mashed up Views A and B, opting for both the sleeves and the Peter Pan collar.

Jacket? There is one?

Yep. There's also a fantastic little jacket pattern in the envelope, which isn't getting nearly as much attention as it should -- not from the pattern envelope, which barely acknowledges its existence, and not from me, at first.

Others, however, have rocked this jacket like nobody's business: Lucinda at Sew Wrong, Kerry at Verykerryberry, Liz at Busy Lizzie, Annie at The Enantiomer Project, and Manju at SewManju. The sleek shawl-style lapels are very now, and if you're not a ruffles kind of gal, they can be easily deleted from the hem.

I haven't made the jacket yet, but it's on my sew-bucket list. Bright lime green, anyone?

Won't someone please think of the jacket?

Okay, but gimme frock!

Yes, the dress! The dress! Oh, the versatility. 

The possibilities for novelty prints alone are staggering. Did you know JoAnn is now offering a whole line of Doctor Who prints? And, at the time of writing, there were sixteen different options for The Walking Dead cotton prints? Geek girls, listen up: this pattern is perfect for one of those.

On the other hand, Simplicity 1419's sophisticated side emerges with a drapey crepe de chine, or a lightweight poly print, or a retro rayon challis. With any of those options, the skirt would lie flat, maneuvering this dress away from its '50s influence, and more toward the here-and-now.

Simplicity 1419 in pure form: line drawings show the basic nature of this pattern, a palette for creative fabrics.

On Pinterest, I've pinned a few retail ready-to-wear dresses that look a lot like Simplicity 1419. Behold the variegated looks the one pattern could give you: 

My version of Simplicity 1419

The skulls are tired of me talking about different fabrics for this dress. The skulls want me to talk about them for the rest of this post. I am under their spell.

Simplicity 1419, front
From afar, it looks perfectly respectable. A little on the cutesey side, with that contrasting Peter Pan collar and floofy skirt.

This is a size 12. Usually I grade up to size 14 for skirts, but Simplicity 1419 features a pleated skirt with plenty of ease, so I didn't bother on this one.

As usual, I made an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) on the bodice. There are two darts: one at the bustline, and one at the waist. Usually, you have to deal with extra fabric at the bottom when you embiggen a bust dart, but that waist dart simply gobbled up that excess. Easy peasy!

Simplicity 1419, back. Nothin' to see here.
On the back, you've got a standard zipper, topped off by a hook-and-eye closure. I used the sewing machine to apply the zipper instead of hand-picking it. Why? Because I was in a hurry. Given my druthers, it would be hand-picking all the time.

Simplicity 1419 neckline detail. The dressform was sticking to the fabric in a horrific manner, and I could not get the neckline to align with the center of the dressform. Oh well. You get the idea.
Because this was a hurried effort, I also did not bother to add a button loop and button to close the neckline. Instead, I sewed that mofo shut. Permanently. It would have been covered by the collar anyway. The 22" zipper in the back gives plenty of room to stick my head through.

Simplicity 1419, interior front
Inside, it was a different story. I took the trouble to bind the raw edges with rayon seam binding. And I added a lining for the skirt only. That way, I can wear this thing with tights and not have to worry about static cling. The lining was left over from another project, and it's kind of a scraper: in front, we have cotton lawn, while the back is a traditional poly lining fabric.

Simplicity 1419, bodice interior
The neckline is finished with a facing that swerves around the notch. As anyone who's sewn this kind of facing knows, there's a scary part where you have to clip dangerously close to the bottom of the notch. If you screw up, the dress is ruined. Fortunately, that didn't happen.

I widened the cap sleeves by about 1/2 inch for my beef-arms.

How will I wear this?

In this fabric, it's hard to escape the "kawaii" vibe. So, we can either embrace it ...

Feel the girly treacle wash over you!
Dress: Simplicity 1419, from this post
Sweater: A single-button delicate knit sweater with shawl collar, from Ross or something
Shoes: Partially suede, partially leather, saddles shoes from G.H. Bass, via 6pm.com
... or go full-on Courtney Love. The skulls derive great pleasure from this option.

Throw some acid on that treacle.
Dress: Simplicity 1419, this post
Jacket: black faux leather jacket with stretchy side panels from Kenneth Cole Reaction  (I know, Macy's is so punk rock!)
Tights: black thermal tights from Lands' End (PUNK as FUCK!)
Boots: knee-high lace-up leather boots from Kickers, via 6pm.com

In Conclusion

Simplicity 1419 is a basic dress pattern with a notch neck and Peter Pan collar. Knock yourself out.

When you regain consciousness, give the jacket a try. It is the unsung hero of this pattern.

And while you're at it, show me your versions! You know you've made this dress, or something like it, at least once. I wanna see 'em! Share the love.

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