Fall to me means drama: saturated colors, long lengths, and bold prints. When I saw the Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co. line Les Fleurs, I knew the red floral print needed to be mine. At Market, the Cotton + Steel rayon had been sewn up into a jumpsuit. I liked that idea but was a little squeamish about fitting a jumpsuit on my longer torso. I opted instead for a maxi dress, something I could wear to holiday parties or out for a nice dinner.
I knew I wanted a midriff front piece, a V-neck, and sleeves for a “Studio 54” type of retro glam. The problem? A modern pattern featuring all these was not to be found. So I decided to add sleeves to an easy Simplicity pattern that had the other two features. (I call them “Frankensleeves.” Next week I’ll offer a tutorial demonstrating how to add sleeves to a sleeveless bodice pattern!) After sewing up Made by Rae’s Josephine blouse a few years ago, I knew that its sleeves were perfection: kind of flowy with elastic at the wrists. I love the result!
Simplicity 2638 is a great pattern. The instructions are clear, and while I’m not sure a lined bodice and a curved midriff piece fall into the “It’s So Easy!” product line they’ve assigned it, I didn’t have any problems. My primary challenge was fit: even though I picked the right size, I still had to bring in the bodice along the back zipper to compensate for its huge waist and bust. I didn’t make a muslin because I am dumb, so I ended up having to alter the zipper and baste it in four times. It all turned out well in the end.
Finally, I didn’t want the pattern to feel too outdated with all the retro components, so one thing I’m really glad I did is add an exposed metal zipper to the back. The gold picks up the cool umber color in the Cotton + Steel rayon and gives the whole look a fun detail. I am absolutely in love with this dress. Somebody throw a Christmas party already!
Stay tuned next week as I explain how to add sleeves from one pattern to the bodice of another. It’s trickier than a beginner might think, but way easier than I expected.
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