Simplicity 2591

Well, that was an interesting experience.

Take it from me. If you’re not going to bother with a muslin, use a fabric with a heavy print. You would not believe the number of sins my purple flowers are disguising.

Things started easily enough. As documented on Sewing Pattern Review, the only apparent challenge of this dress are the pocket attachments. You’ll rub your brow for a while, but eventually you’ll work it out.

Did you see what I did there? That word – apparent. It speaks volumes. Thank goodness I also noticed a repeating comment on Sewing Pattern Review – that this dress was roomy. But I only noticed that after I’d cut out my pieces and begun sewing.

I’ve always been absolutely meticulous with my body measurements. I don’t try to lie to myself. My documented problems with numbers has an upside – whatever my waist measurement is, it doesn’t make me want to kill myself.  Oh yes, the numbers 10, 12, 14, 16 mean something. (I’ve seen all of them other than a ’10’. Even as a pre-adolescent, I don’t think I was ever a 10.) But beyond that? Forget it. It doesn’t translate, I don’t care, and therefore I feel no need to breath in deeply when I feel the cool embrace of a tape measure around my waist.

So, what gives Simplicity 2591? Why do you repay my honesty with baggy excess? By the time it came to sewing up the side seams, I could see that this dress was going to be more like a sack. I took those side seams in massively, but I knew my problems wouldn’t end there. By this stage in my limited experience, I understand that to make a dress fit you can’t simply adjust a side seam. I had to start fiddling with the bodice. This basically meant inserting four new darts and a tuck at the neckline. I think the word ‘dart’ is a bit misleading. It sounds professional and as though I know what I’m doing. I don’t and I didn’t. I put the dress on, pinned where felt appropriate and dragged my sorry behind through the heat back to the sewing machine. If it wasn’t for the print on this dress, it would now be in the bin. No plain fabric or lighter print could hide the awful truth of amateur darts and a seriously under-performing outfit.

Despite all this, I love the Simplicity 2591 with its boat neck and pockets. And I did learn from all that spontaneous darting. It was interesting to see how a tuck here meant a gape there, how a pinch would magic away a crease.

I want to make this dress again at least twice – two sizes smaller. What do you think? A wearable muslin? I’ve teamed it with a leather patent Whistles belt, bought from a charity shop. If I make this dress again, I think it deserves – nay, demands! – one of Tilly and the Button’s marvellous bow belts.

You can see the dress below with the Betty Minisweater I recently finished:

Cute, huh?

A week after completion, I am still totally in love with this cardigan. Because of the springiness of the knit, you can throw it into a tote bag and it doesn’t crease up. And because it’s such a petite cardigan, you can throw it in a tote bag!

I promised you a photo of the new Birch shawl that I’m knitting. This was daunting to begin with. Keeping a lace pattern in your head for 299 stitches and not fouling up? Phewee. I suspect mistakes are going to happen with this shawl, but do you think I’m working back in that fluffy Rowan kidsilk haze? Unlikely. Look at that colour – isn’t it divine? And I’m settling into the pattern now. It no longer frightens me!

Birch shawl begins

So that’s been my week. How have your projects been coming along? Can you beat the insertion of five dart adjustments to make a bodice work, fuelled only by a wing and a prayer? Really. It shouldn’t happen to a Sewist.

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21 Responses to Simplicity 2591

  1. Roobeedoo says:

    I really like the dress! I am not a “belt” person but this looks great on you. Looking from here, I would have said you were a size 10!
    My weekend is deep in the land of muslin and 1950’s Simplicity nightmares. If I don’t end up buying a dress from the Toast summer sale it will be miracle!

  2. Pretty dress. I like the purple flowers.

  3. stitchywitch says:

    The dress is really pretty on you, even if you feel it is a bit big. Aren’t prints great for hiding mistakes? That’s part of why I love them! I find that Simplicity patterns run about 2 sizes big – every time I make one it makes me upset, thinking about how many sewers must end up with giant garments after following their measurements! I made a skirt that told me I was a 12, but really I was a 6. It was ridiculous. I recommend going by the finished measurements instead, and if it doesn’t have one, measure the pattern pieces. The project runway patterns are better sized than the regular Simplicity line.

    I have that pattern and want to make the view with the little puffed cap sleeves and waist buttons. I hope you make it again, I think it suits you!

  4. Thank you for your comments. That’s good to know about Simplicity, Stichywitch. I agree – how disheartening for all those innocent sewers who can’t possibly anticipate this issue. Especially for beginners who may lose the faith. I have to say, I think this dress would look absolutely divine on you!

  5. Tilly says:

    Ooh nice dress. Apart from the sizing issue, would you recommend the pattern? I’m looking for a pattern with a plain sleeveless bodice and slightly puffy skirt to make some cotton summer dresses. Should I go with this one? Or can you think of a simpler one?

  6. Yes, Tilly, go for it! This pattern is easy-peasy-lemon-squeasy! And so charming. Just take on board what Stitchywitch and myself have both said re sizing and perhaps have a look at the versions on Sewing Pattern Review. And learn from my mistakes? Make a muslin?!

  7. Suzanne says:

    You did a great job on both the dress and cardigan!

  8. Geogrrl says:

    The dress looks great, and you did a good job with your on-the-fly fitting.

    I agree about a strong print–it can hide a multitude of problems, as can a very dark colour.

    Now that you know the problems with the pattern, the next time you make it, you won’t have the same problems.

  9. Roisin says:

    Oh, that looks great – even if it is a little bit big! I’m heartened to hear that it’s really easy, I can’t wait for mine to arrive so I can give it a go 🙂

  10. Traci says:

    I made this dress too….it was my first ever sewing job with a pattern….I didn’t even know HOW to read a pattern. I freaked on the pockets too! I’m pretty sure it is still on my front page of my blog….I’ve since made two more of them. I love the fit on my body…I didn’t have any problems w/ the sizing for me though. I love your pattern on the fabric!!

  11. Hi Traci

    Yes, I remember reading your blog post on this dress and being very entertained (and informed) by it. Fabulous blog you have there!

  12. Leslie says:

    I love this print, I never would have guessed all the fitting issues you had, they are perfectly disguised!

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  14. Hi there,

    I have lurked on your blog quite a few times without realizing quite how rude that is! So I thought I would let you know how much I love your blog, and use it a lot to help decide my next make. I would love to make this simplicity dress- its exactly what I have been looking for with the pockets. I saw stitchywitch make this dress and since then it has plagued my dreams. sadly I live in the uk and simplicity did not release it here. I hope ebay will provide so I can join in the fun 🙂

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  18. Supawan says:

    I love your dress. I can not find this pattern for sale anywhere. Can you please tell me where did you get it? thank you so much. lalalanddesign@hotmail.com

  19. angie.a says:

    I think this is beautiful! I saw a version on another blog and googled to see how “late” I was to the party since this one is OOP. (Note to Supawan, I just bought one right off the Simplicity website! But Ebay had a few too).

  20. Laura J. says:

    First, that dress looks awesome, so you totally kicked butt. Second, thank you so much for posting so honestly. I came across your piece while searching for an answer to how to put this thing together. I’m midway through and totally stuck with this weird arm/boob/dart area, not to mention having no clue what to do with the pockets. All the other review say “aside from minor adjustments, it was so easy!” I was starting to feel like an idiot, but I think your observations are spot on. I will soldier on and keep darting until I come up with something usable.

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