Almost Ava Again (and DIY piping cord)

Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanMy last Ava is probably one  of my most worn Me-Mades despite it’s issues because it’s looser fit makes it so comfy and it also seems less dressy than my various Simplicity 2444s. So I thought it was about time I took a break from S2444 and re-tried Ava. This is some cheapo (£2.18/m) floral polycotton and contrast navy polycotton (£3.06/m) from Trago Mills (just for a change!). I still have over 1/2 a metre (of 2m purchased) of the floral and 1/2 of the 0.5m of the navy left, so the dress was £4.83, plus a £0.04 Malaysian zipper from my stash.

Even though the sizing guide gives finished garment measurements, when I measured the actual pattern pieces, I found there was a massive difference, which would explain why my first dress was so loose. Here’s the sizing chart from the pattern:IMG_6424a

However when I measured the pattern pieces and minused the seam allowances (5/8″ or 1.6cm), the finished garment size for the size 12 was 113cm at the chest and 86cm at the waist. What??Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanSo I decided to go down two sizes and make the 8 this time. I also redrew the seam line between the back upper and lower bodice to be a straight line as I think the original curved line kind of emphasises the curve in my spine.Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanI also decided to try my hand at piping, but as it was all a bit of a whim I had to DIY some piping cord by twisting 4 strands of the yarn I’m using on my jumper (yes, it’s still in progress, 1/2 an arm and the hood to go) then using my widest zig-zag stitch to bind them together. I haven’t used piping before so I can’t comment on how it is in comparison, or how it will wash (cheapo acrylic yarn that’s meant to be machine washable at 40), but I like the effect. From a distance the piping matches up either side of the zipper, but up close the bottom line is out by a few mm’s, but not enough that I could be bothered to redo it.Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanI had to re-sew the centre of the ‘v’ between the two front bodice sections because I stupidly thought I could get away with not stay stitching and just pinning loads. It made a nasty, wonky ‘v’, but once I stay-stitched the ‘v’ on both pieces, they came together well are are pretty even. Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanInstead of doubling over my bias binding the neck and arm holes, I used the bias binding as a sort of reverse facing. All the interior seams are serged because I was being too lazy to french them, and the hem is serged, double turned under and machine stitched. I made covers for the top and bottom of the zip to stop any scratching and look nicer!Ava | Pattern . Paint . PanAs you can see in the top zipper cover photo, I ended up having to increase the SA at the top of the bodice by 1.5cm, tapering into the original seam line about 5cm above the waist, as there was still a lot of gape especially if I raised my arms. And I couldn’t be bothered to trim and re-serge the edges obviously.

Altogether, despite how grumpy I look in the photos, I’m pretty happy with this version; it is a better fit, but then I can’t be  fatty and eat too much, and I’m not 100% convinced about the fabric. I think something other than floral should be next…except I have one last piece of floral in my stash to use up.Ava | Pattern . Paint . Pan

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Same Same But Different

Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . PanI 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.Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . PanAfter 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.Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . PanI 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).Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . PanFor some reason, this is the first time I’ve sewn pockets into any of my dresses, which is wrong because pockets are virtually essential.Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . PanThe 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!Simplicity 2444 | Pattern . Paint . Pan