Saturday 19 May 2012

And I'm off to the races...

...cases, of Bacardi chases... 

...except that no Bacardi was involved today, but a Best of British Beers Festival (and the races)! 

So I had 2 free tickets to the JLT Lockinge Stakes at the premium enclosure of Newbury Racecourse today -- naturally I had to go as my brain is not programmed to say no to freebies. The Beer Festival was also a very attractive factor, which did wonders in convincing my other half, who is less keen on horse racing, to come along. 

Of course I had to made a dress for a special day/afternoon out. I wanted something smart enough, but also not too work wear or evening wear. Simplicity 2282 came to mind and now I finally have an excuse to make it!  

I knocked this together in the last couple of weeks (since we received the tickets) in the evenings. Work has been pretty busy which often ate into my evenings but thankfully this dress was straightforward enough so I managed to complete it this morning, about 2 hours before we had to leave the house!

This was my first Project Runway pattern, and I loved it! The subtle peplum, the slightly puffy sleeves, and the high neckline which complemented the rest of the retro vibe... what's not to like? I must admit that I'm not usually one for such a high neckline, but I thought this one was perfect for this dress. 

I found this pattern quite interesting - it had 6 pieces and the construction was, dare I say, unique, at least when compared to all the dress patterns I've used so far. It had 6 main pieces, with a long/big centre front piece with princess seams, and separate bodice and skirt pieces for the rest of the dress. Then there were the "designers additions" that you could add - so I used the short sleeves and the peplum. A lot of the assembly process depended upon the points where the peplum started at the front - so it was crucial that all the stitchings started/finished exactly at the same points... It's difficult to explain this - but for those who have the pattern, I'm sure you will know what I mean!

I used some medium weight cotton that I bought from my trip home to Beijing last year, and man, how I missed working with cotton! It is the most well behaved fabric ever! It just sits there when you cut it, and there's no shifting or slipping when you sew it either. OK it wrinkles a little when you wear it, but I think this dress has survived the day fine -- considering that I travelled on the train to and from the racecourse, sat down and had a picnic and some beer, then did a lot of clothes shopping (which included taking it off and putting it back on a number of times), I was rather happy with what I ended up with...

I had a little bit of a setback though with regard to the sizing. I cut a size 6 based on the body measurements and my previous Simplicity projects, but as it turned out (after I've added the sleeves!) that it was too big. I then took in the princess seams and the side seams, as well as using a rather large seam allowance for the back zipper, but then the dress turned out a bit too tight... Oh dear! So I let out some of the zipper seam allowances again, allowing a bit more ease (this cotton is not stretchy at all) and voila, we are done! If I do make this again, I will cut a size 4. 

Other than the sizing crisis, I didn't need to make many alterations to the pattern at all. I raised the waist line slightly, shortened the short sleeves and also did a much wider hem than called for because I wanted the dress to be knee length. So basically I adjusted the pattern to fit my short torso, short arms and short legs! too bad the pattern didn't have a petite version. 

I think this is all I've got to say about this pattern - overall I was very happy with it, and had I cut the right size to start off with, I would've had a much easier journey! I love peplums, and this dress certainly did the trick for me! It's conservative enough so I can wear it regularly, and the peplum makes the dress really fun without being overpowering. I think it's a winner (unlike the horses I bet on today... )! 

As I mentioned in previous posts/comments, I'm really focusing on giving my homemade garments a better and more professional finish. So I used my overcasting foot again, and hand finished the top and bottom of the zipper too. Here are some sneaky peaks of the back zipper and the inside of my dress (mostly finished this morning!):


  1. Very cute! I made one too and love this pattern (you can see it in my blog). Cheers!

    1. I've checked out your version before starting mine - I loved it! It looked very lovely and classy!

  2. This is such a nice version! Love it looks very lovely on you.


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