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Monday, September 20, 2010

Checked Off The List: Plum Colored Dress Project Runway 2403

This is a project that I started way back in August.  I've had the fabric cut out and waiting to be turned into a lovely dress.  I used Simplicity Pattern 2403, and set out to make the dress on the right. Here is what I ended up with.  Slightly different than I envisioned, but a learning project none the less. There are several things about the dress that I like, but several things that I wish would have done differently.

To read more about my sewing adventures and mishaps click read more below.

I've talked a little bit about my fear of tissue paper patterns in the past, but they are well founded, and here are a few reasons why:

1-Getting the right fit.

I always worry that I won't get the fit right.  I know that pattern sizing is different than ready made clothing sizing, but it is just a bit hard for me to know what size to select.  I took my measurements, and was right between sizes.  I don't have the experience to adjust or tailor a pattern, so I figured it would be better to be safe than sorry, and made the larger dress size (which was basically +10 on my regular dress size).  Consequently I'm left with a dress that I probably won't be able to fill out until I start nursing another baby, or take up tissue paper enhancement.

2-The Instructions.

I wouldn't call myself a beginner sewer, but I am by no means an expert.  Somewhere in-between probably.  I am a pretty visual person and for the life of me cannot interpret their illustrations.  Not only that, but they combine about six steps into one illustration, leaving me a bit lost.

Also my idea of the left side of the dress always seems to be the patterns right side.


I hate marking patterns, the more I sew the more I am coming to realize the value of marking pattern pieces, but after cutting out the pattern, and the fabric I am ready to get down to business.  I don't want to take the time to mark every single piece of fabric. Maybe it's due to my mistake, but it seems that they have you mark the wrong sides of your fabric pieces, but by the time that you need to see the markings they are encased in a band, a placket, or who knows what.

Alright well those are the things that I dislike most of prepared tissue paper patterns.  They are rather helpful, and I appreciate that someone went to all of the work to design a piece, and make all of the measurements, but they just never seem to turn out as I hope they will.

Take this dress for example.  I know that the material is a bit blah, but who knew that the dress would turn out so matronly, or that the sleeves would be SO pouffy.

Oh well, I learned a lot of new things while sewing this dress.  Prepared patterns really help me gain a better understanding of clothing construction, and the usefulness of a seam ripper.  It seems that every other seam I sewed on this dress had to be unpicked.  It has just been one of those sewing weeks (full of unpicking-because of my error).

 I do have another dress pattern on hand that I plan to try out.  Maybe I'll make a size smaller next time, and use some fabric that I love.  I'm thinking some Heather Bailey fabric, what do you think.  After a month of avoiding fabric purchases I am going to indulge and buy something  that I love.

Any advice on pattern sizing?  I typically wear somewhere between a 2 and a 6, the dress I made was a 12. What size discrepancy have you found?

I never intended for this post to sound so negative, but I just feel a need to express my sewing frustration.  I am going on a sewing vacation for the next couple of weeks (because I'm going on an actual vacation). If you don't find me here you'll know why.  I might pop in here and there, but I will probably be slow in  replying  to any comments.

Any pattern using advice would be more than appreciated  (sizing, favorite pattern lines, ect.)


Cecily said...

I've had similar problems trying to decipher sizes in dress patterns. I'll be interested to see any responses you get here as well. Sorry I can't be more helpful. I do like your dress though!

Heather said...

I love this dress. I want. :) Please come link it up to Fabulous Friday (it's up until Wed this week).

Heather @

Unknown said...

I think the dress turned out lovely! I wish I could offer some pattern help, but I'm afraid I have all the same problems... so I'll be interested to see what advice others can give. Have a wonderful vacation!

Megan Gunyan said...

It looks great! I love the cut. You did a wonderful job!

Dawn said...

First, thank you for the print. We received it a few days ago and put it in our living room. It's beautiful!

Second, I don't think the dress looks matronly at all and the color is gorgeous. Put a cute pair of heels with it and some dangly beaded jewelry and you'll be good to go.

Third, if you are between pattern sizes you can literally cut between the lines on the pattern (move all marking between the two options too). If you are closer to one size in say the chest and closer to the other in the hips you can draw a graduated line from one marking to the other. So maybe you start at the line for size 8 at the breast and drawn a softly angled line that touches the line for size 6 by the time it gets to the hip. Do this before you cut it out so that both sides with be symmetrical.

Unknown said...


There are certain pattern lines that run big or small. I think that McCall's run big, Simplicity run small. I think that is how it is. I base a lot of things off of a pattern for the basic cut. Before I sew and in between I put it up to myself or the person I am sewing for to give me an idea if I need to cut it smaller and wear. I also am getting to be fairly good at eyeballing everything and I kind of wing it a lot. Patterns seem to be all about adjustment and the more you sew with them the better you will get and the more you will be able to go with how you know it to be. One thing on the instructions...they seem to explain the hardest way to do something. I always glance over it to make sure that there is nothing to crazy and then put it back in the package and go with how I know it or have done it before. There are only so many ways to put a bodice together and a skirt and so forth. Better luck next time. BTW it was great to see you last week at the reception...Brooke

Tricia said...

Thanks for the kind comments and the shared information. I'm always learning so shared knowledge is very appreciated.

Dawn, I think you're right. A bit of styling could help the dress out a lot. I'm so glad that you are enjoying your print.

Stuffing my bra and investing in those padded panties might help me out with the fit situation as well.

Brooke, Thanks for sharing some advice on patterns. I'm normally making my own patterns and winging it as well. I just like the idea that I can trust a prepared pattern to turn out the way I want it to. Knowing that specific patterns run large/small will definitely ease some frustration.

Thanks to all! I'll be back soon so don't give up on me.


Amy said...

cute dress!!! i love the sleeves! they are the perfect length for fall. you did a great job, thanks for sharing!

Jana said...

Heyyyyy, I did the same dress, but in dark blue! I was also annoyed how matronly it turned out. I ended up turning the neck under and tacking it down, which works okay, but still leaves lingering feelings of annoyance.

Elizabeth Dackson said...

I love how this turned out, especially the color, it's lovely. I have sewn very few garments, for many of the reasons you mention - I've heard so many issues about sizing that I just haven't attempted it. I've stuck with mostly home goods and quilts, and a few children's clothing patterns, which have seemed fairly true to size thus far. Thanks for sharing!

Quiltstory said...

I love that little dress! The color is great too. I have not sewn many dresses...actually none so I don't know if I have much advice for you!! Thanks so much for linking up, see you next week!

Emily said...

I love the color of this dress! Gorgeous! I think it fits you pretty well.

I'm just learning to sew and had similar sizing issues with a dress I cut out last night. (ugh). Can some companies redo their sizing so I can feel better about myself when cutting out patterns? ha. Anyway, I cut out the bodice pieces out of scrap material that's similar in weight to the material I actually use. I cut out a different size in the top/shoulder/bust area than in the waist area and tried to grade between the two. It worked fairly well but still needs some tweaking. I also have to reread the instructions for the fifth time b/c I have no idea what they're talking about in one of the steps and can't figure out how they recommend finishing the neckline. Maybe it was too late when I was working on it.

Sertyan said...


I thought your dress was well executed and the fitting is spot on, it looks very slimming on you. I just made View B, do check it out!

Adam said...

This is really a beautiful dress and I like this dress colour. You are looking beautiful in this western dress.

Edigiland said...

Great and Hot Plum Colored Dress for Girls

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