Simplicity 9723 The Whole Shebang!

S9723EnvelopeSimplicity 9723 features a dress with two styles of skirt, and a jacket. At, two people have reviewed this pattern and they have had mixed things to say. One, its extremely historically inaccurate. Two, there have been various issues with the pattern, which I was glad I read about before getting started. The bad comments were almost enough to make me search for another pattern to use for Halloween (yup this is the basis of my Halloween costume this year!) but in the end I decided to go with it and make corrections as needed.

I spent a small fortune on fabrics for this project and so far I seem to have overbought across the board but the fabric allowances given on the envelope back are given for multiple pieces of the costume together-  there is no measurement given for just the jacket, its the jacket and skirt together. This left to me guessing at the amounts needed and at this point I have an extra yard+ of silver pleather as well as a good 1.5 yards left over of the black poly-cotton broadcloth.

The jacket is done in a bright silver metallic pleather with a reptile texturing to it, with black poly-cotton broadcloth for the lining. The blouse and petticoat (which I am currently working on) is done in the same poly-cotton broadcloth, and the skirt will be done in a deep red medium weight satin.



The biggest complaint with this pattern, and I agree with it completely, is that the blouse and skirt are sewn as one item, not separates. This is easy enough to fix. I added several inches in length to the blouse, and instead of having a center back zip as was intended, I cut the center back on the fold, and inserted a zipper under the arm. The neckline is high and snug though, so I cut a slit into the upper back at the neckline, finished the edges with bias tape, and added a snap closure at the neck. That way I can pull it on easily, but still retain the same look as before. I thought the neckline would make me feel claustrophobic but oddly enough its pretty comfortable to wear.



People who reviewed this also complained that the sleeve cuffs of the blouse are too tight to close when worn. All I can figure is they took too large of a seam allowance because not only are they closed when I put it on, but I can slide my hands through them while they are fastened without issue.



I have the main pieces of the petticoat stitched together at this point, and when I resume working on it, I’ll be stitching together the ruffle pieces and adding them to the bottom of the petticoat. Then it will be on to the outer skirt an after that I’m done. I’m not looking forward to the petticoat ruffles as I hate gathering, but its got to be done. I’m looking forward to finishing this one and getting to wear it out for Halloween!

The Reconstruction, Day 2

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.


I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!


This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.


Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.



The Bane of My Existance

gownAbout 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

Reworking Butterick 4315

waistbandYesterday I mentioned I was thinking of re-working an old dress I made a few years back and using it for my Halloween costume this year. When I initially sewed Butterick 4315, there were quite a few areas I was not only sloppy about, but just didn’t put any effort into at all. Part of the reasoning was that I was on a tight time frame, and I didn’t have my own sewing machine so was driving 50 miles round trip for a few hours a week to work on it when I could. The whole thing was rushed and there were parts I didn’t even complete.

The waistband, which you can see on the left there, was uneven, lumpy, had no interfacing, and the gathering of the skirt itself into the waistband was super uneven and sloppy. There were raw edges poking out here and there too. The zipper wasn’t much better, with weird stitching around the top where I ran off the side of it three or four times and just kept going in a new line trying to make it stick.

Today I picked out the zipper, and took out the waistband. I cursed myself for using thread that matched perfectly the entire time I was doing it. Then I pulled out all the gathering and replaced it with pleats, which for the most part are even and pretty regularly done.

I cut interfacing for the waistband, cut about 5 inches in length off of it, stitched the ends and turned it right side out, then stitched along the bottom edge to keep it even when I attached it to the skirt. The reason I cut the end of the waistband off was because when I first sewed this dress, I wrongly used my waist measurement where my pants sit, not my natural waist where the skirt is supposed to sit. As a result, the skirt sat so long compared to the bottom edge of the top I may as well have been an overdressed belly dancer. This time I re-measured it to sit much higher and wouldn’t have the same problem again.

The pleats turned out to be just as disastrous as the gathers. I tried sewing the waistband in three times, including after sewing all the pleats down first, but no matter what I did I could not get the waistband to sit right or get all the edges tucked in and out of sight. I finally just made a casing and ran a cord through it to make a drawstring and called it good. I wanted to just do elastic, but apparently Walmart’s tiny sewing section doesn’t sell elastic and I can’t afford to drive all the way to Palmdale to Joann’s which is the only only place that does sell it.

Over the next few days I will be working on ripping out the stitches along the bottom edge of the top and taking it in a little along all the seams. The bodice needs to be taken in about a size and a half to fit properly. That’s going to be “fun.”

A Small Victory

As I stated on the front page of this blog, I have a dress form that I bought several years ago. When I bought it, it was hard to find one that was the right size for my body. Most of the dress forms were for much smaller bodies than mine, and the full-figured ones were much too big. When I did find one, it was expensive. Anyway, today I realized I hadn’t adjusted my dress form for a while, and went out to take it in all over. Guess what I discovered? After taking in the waist adjustment all the way, it was still too big by an inch! And the bust and hip measurements can only be taken in an inch or two more before they won’t go any further. On one hand it makes me sad because I’ll have to buy a new one if I want to continue using it, but on the other hand, its great because of how many inches I’ve lost. That opens a whole new thing though, because finding one that picks up where this one left off and goes down to a size I know I won’t shrink out of any time soon can be tough. I’ve already started looking around.

I’ve also decided I am going to make a few items of clothing, then wait until I drop another size before making more. I’m also really going to focus on separates and pieces that are more versatile rather than the crazy printed dresses I’ve always favored in the past. In the last few weeks, I’ve made McCall’s 6400, which will fit for a while, Simplicity 3797 (which was a bust for now but will look better when I’m slimmer and can take it in a bit), Butterick 5011 (which needs a little fine-tuning still that I’ll be doing shortly), the circle skirt, and right now I am working on a fully lined version of McCall’s 5330 skirt, the button down view. I have all of the fabric cut, and sewing will go quickly as there’s only a few darts and its very basic, but I’m waiting on buttons to get here so for now its pretty much on hold. After that I’m planning on two more items (thinking a jumper for one )for this Fall/Winter and calling it good until I’m down to a pattern size 18.

I’m also contemplating re-using my Labyrinth Masquerade Ball dress for Halloween. I’ll need to take it in pretty much everywhere, but that won’t be too much work. And I’ll actually do the last few touches of the dress like it was supposed to be, not how my lazy ass did it the first time. Its a beautiful dress, but it makes me sad that I only got to wear it once and that I bought a hoop skirt to also use only once.

I did the dress in a powder blue and a medium purple, and if I remember right the blue has glitter in it too. Basically when I cut the dress, I didn’t measure myself correctly and cut it much too big. I never tried it on until it was pretty much finished, and then I didn’t have time to tear it halfway apart and make the needed adjustments. I also never did the over-skirt pieces up so they have that full-bodied look; they just hang.

I have to go to my Mom’s in the next few days anyway, so will pick it up then and bring it home to adjust it. And then I can be a freaking princess for Halloween! haha