Here it is, my finished Simplicity 1104. While it is a little more summer as is, when paired with heavy tights and a wool sweater, it’s totally spring/winter appropriate. Just ignore the fact that it’s currently January.
The dress is made of some mystery fabric on the outside and some more mystery lining. I get my fabric at the Scrap, the holy grail of all thrifty, crafty goodness. While it is lovely and cheap ($3 a yard for all fabric!), it’s also unmarked and generally in small lengths. I’m guess the outer, sheer layer is a poly-cotton blend, while the lining is pure polyester. I suppose I could have done a burn test, but, really, who doesn’t want a little mystery.
As I mentioned in my progress post, this is the second time I have sewn up this pattern, but while I marked down the neckline changes, I failed to make a note of how much I took it in on the sides. The dress itself is a size 14, but on the sides I took it in a size to a 12, hoping it would duplicate the original fitting. It worked fine under the arms, but I could have taken it in some more in the waist.
It doesn’t look bad, but the first Simplicity 1104 looked fiiine.
The other goofy thing I did was treat the armholes as if they had 1/4 seam allowance instead of 3/8. It doesn’t sound that bad written out (or maybe it’s just me!) but the armholes could use that extra length taken out. But I’ll probably do that later. Lazy + not going to be wearing sleeveless anything anytime soon. The were finished with bias tape, so it shouldn’t be difficult, but the stitches get lost in the loose weave of the outer fabric.
For the zipper, I used a metal invisible zipper that I found at Scrap (zippers for under a dollar! eeeexcept you have to dig for invisible zips and it turns out, this is the only dress-length zipper I’ve picked up from there). This sounded like a great idea; the sleekness of an invisible zipper with the strength of metal, but. no. It might have worked fine as a side zip, but as it is, there are hundreds of tiny little metal teeth poking into my spine.
This could be fixed with a slip on underneath, but I have yet to try it and it kinda feels like it defeats the purpose of making a lining in the first place. Oh well.
I shortened the skirt to make it fit a 45″ fabric instead of a 60″ but honestly, I can’t imagine how long that would be. As it is, I think it’s the perfect length. I used a narrow hem, done using the directions from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, my go-to book when I get confused or lost. This was my first try at making a narrow hem and I got to say I’m really loving it! Though, without using these clips, I can imagine that it could easily be a nightmare to do. Here’s her blog, where she does sew-alongs for her Butterick patterns and other pattern musings.
Overall, I think the dress it a success! I learned how to add a lining to a dress (I have made one for a shirt, I forgot), how to sew a narrow hem, and made some very nice looking french seams (again using Gertie’s book). The fit isn’t perfect, but close enough to make me happy, and the zipper is uncomfortable, but I’m a bit too proud of hand stitching the lining to the zipper to take it all out again.
Sweater: Thrifted, Valerie Stevens, with subtle olive embroidery added
Dress: Made by me (Simplicity 1104)
Tights: from Burlington Coat Factory
Shoes: Hand-me-downs from Grandma
Necklace: Shell, from a family trip yeaaars ago
Belt: Vintage, real leather
Ring: Moonstone and silver, from a festival