I think I’m definitely getting my money’s worth with Simplicity 2444. It’s the perfectionist in me wanting to get it as close to right as I can figure out how to. I really thought I’d nailed the chest bagginess this time, but perhaps changing the neckline brought a bit of it back.After my last version, I overlapped my adjusted pattern by 1cm at the neckline and added it to the waist darts, before redrawing the neckline to be lower and wider. Now I think it should be a couple of centimetres lower.I also decided to try an all-in-one facing rather than fully lining the bodice for two reasons; 1) I’ve not done any kind of facing before, and 2) I was getting fed up of having to trace, pin and sew 12 darts for every lined bodice. I interfaced and overlocked the facing before attaching to the bodice. I did sew the original pleat skirt but it just wasn’t looking right, so I ripped it off and just gathered it. I did my second blind hem by hand because I felt like doing some hand sewing (that lasted about 15 minutes max).For some reason, this is the first time I’ve sewn pockets into any of my dresses, which is wrong because pockets are virtually essential.The fabric is a polycotton I had on my Ebay watch list but then found at Trago Mills for less (£2.18/m) and as a double bonus, I was only charged for 1m of my 2m (I later found out there was a patch about 2cm from one selvedge edge that was mis-printed for about 5cm, so perhaps that was why, but it was small enough not to effect my cutting out). It’s definitely not great quality fabric, but it’s fine for a £2 summer dress. You can’t get a dubiously produced budget high street dress for that!
I’d been interested in having a go at rotating bodice darts, and seeing as Simplicity 2444 was the closest, well fitting pattern to me at that precise point when motivation struck, that was my base. However, it presented problems due to the original dart positions, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if what I did a) was correct or b) would work. I didn’t take photos of my steps as I went, but this is what I did to produce 2 darts that both point towards the bust point (as opposed to the 2 diagonal darts, neither of which point exactly to my bust point):
- Found the bust point by trying on my white & blue S2444 and then marking this point on my pattern copy.
- Mark the middle of each of the original darts at the bodice bottom.
- Draw a line between this middle point and the bust point. Repeat for 2nd dart.
- Measure 2cm down from the bust point to mark the dart apex point.
- Draw lines between the dart apex point and the original ends of each dart leg on the bodice bottom. (Think how clever you are and how you’ll never have to buy another pattern ever again).
I then rotated one dart to be a waist dart with a vertical central line and the other to be a bust dart with a horizontal central line. But then, after all that faffing around, I chose to use some gingham fabric that has a bit of stretch to it, so in the end, I can’t really tell exactly how well my alterations have worked. Fool.
I bought this brown and cream gingham fabric from a fabric shop on Ebay and I’m pretty sure they mistyped the price, as when I purchased it, it was £0.99/m with free P&P. To be fair, I did wait a few days to see if they noticed and changed the price, but then saw that other people had bought some so thought I might as well and could just use it as a muslin. It was advertised as a brushed cotton, but I’m not convinced at all. On the plus side, it’s quite thick so no see-through-ness is going on. The stretch did give me a bit of trouble with pattern matching in a few places, but I was also pleasantly surprised as most of it does match up (although some of my top stitching leaves a lot to be desired).I also drafted a peter pan type collar and a-line, curved hem skirt, both finished with a binding, and a faux placket that I haven’t got around to adding buttons to. As the fabric was so stretchy, I didn’t need to add any fastenings, however when I cut out my pieces, I forgot to minus the centre back seam allowance before I cut it on the fold, which also doesn’t help me see how my alterations fit!I think in a different fabric, it could be wayyyy better, but in this I kind of feel like a dinner lady or a cleaner. It’s been worn around the house a few times because it is comfy and a decent length, but I’m not convinced it’ll ever be worn in public! However, I have another dart hacked 2444 peplum pattern drafted, but it also involves stripe matching and so far is proving to require too much brain power to cut the fabric. Sometime soon!