Monday, February 3, 2014

Polka Dot Linen Dress: Simplicity 2404

I'm just in LOVE with linen for summer. This is a linen blend woven from Marcy Tilton, who has a fantastic selection of linen fabrics. I chose Simplicity 2404 because it is a classic style- a shaped sheath dress with interesting neck variations. 

Admittedly, I made a lot of changes! I got rid of the pleats, and put in princess seams which I think are more flattering to my figure. I also made the dress a button front, instead of a zipper back. I thought it would be a fun style, and it also has the benefit of making it possible to nurse while wearing the dress, since I have a baby that is still nursing and so few dresses that I can wear without undressing when she is hungry. I also changed the shape of the neckline-- I thought it gave it a bit more of a flirty character, appropriate to polka dots and the first dress of spring. I fit it pretty loosely, with the thought that this would be a casual summer dress, with the linen comfortable on the skin on a hot day. I cut a size 16 B cup graded out to an 18 on the hips and did a sway back adjustment.

Even with all these adjustments, it sewed up pretty quickly... I have mostly been working with knits, and it is actually sort of a pleasure to work with a woven and not have to worry about so much stretch!

The button holes were a challenge though. Up to this point I have completely avoided button holes because I had horrible, ugly, and frustrating results when I was learning to sew as a child! Unfortunatly, the 4-step buttonhole function on my 80s era singer just served to bring back all of that childhood frustration! My best attempts were just ugly, ugly. 

So I bought a vintage buttonholer on ebay for $8+ shipping (the Singer Professional, for a machine with a vertical needle and a zig zag stitch). I sort of can't believe this contraption works, but it does, and BEAUTIFULLY! I made all 11 buttonholes in a row, while keeping one eye on a toddler, and every one is PERFECT, they look better than my RTW garments. I am going to start seeking out patterns with buttons, because it is so much fun. If you have a totally un-fancy base model sewing machine like mine, you should try this!

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