Friday, 14 June 2013

Floral Simplicity 2444

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

I am sure that you, like me have seen a lot of this pattern from the Project Runway line floating around the internet (just check out these gorgeous versions by Cynthia and Dibs as well as Roisin's many beautiful versions!) plus I saw at least a couple in the flesh at Rachel's infamous meet up in April. Receiving a free copy of this pattern with Sew Magazine was the final straw in getting me to try this one out!
Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

The fabric I chose has been in my stash for a while as it was one of the first fabrics I ever bought, from the world renowned 'man outside Sainsburys' in Walthamstow Market! As with most of my purchases in Walthamstow I'm not 100% sure of the fibre content but I think it's a cotton/viscose twill that's got a lovely drape but proved a bit of a pain to sew! The drape of the fabric meant it was hard to stop it from going squiffy when sewing, I found it even more difficult than some crepe de chine I've sewn with in the past! I resorted to lots of pins and taking it nice and slow.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

As for Simplicity 2444 itself I can see why this pattern has proved such a hit with seamstresses everywhere, not only because of the endless variations provided with this line of patterns (I love the little croquis kit so you can play around with which combinations of features you like before cutting). It's a timeless design and I love the whole simple, classic and comfortable style of this pattern. It's the perfect basic dress for me with a lot of features that are just to my taste; the cap sleeves, flattering fitted bodice with unique darts, perfect height neckline and a bit of fullness to the skirt. I'd like to try making this up again in a fabric with a slightly crisper hand to give the skirt more body and perhaps with a less busy print to show of those lovely angled darts on the front bodice. I definitely want to make up a few more variations of this dress, bearing in mind my post Me-Made-May aim of making more wearable clothing that's not to be worn with jeans!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

However, one thing to bear in mind is the sizing. This was believe it or not my first time sewing with a pattern from one of 'the big four', with the exception of vintage (I guess I'm just an indie pattern designer girl at heart!) and I was surprised at how big the sizes run. Looking at the back of the pattern envelope I fit in pretty much exactly to the size 12 on the size guide, but when looking down to the finished measurements section they were about 3" bigger than my size! The fact that the version of the pattern I had received with Sew only started at a 12 and that I'd prefer it to end up too big than too small I decided to just go with it! It ended up big but salvageable; I'd definitely downsize to a 10 (or even possibly an 8 looking at the size guide) when working with Simplicity patterns in future. I tried it on before inserting the zip and ended up using over an inch and a half seam allowance each side to put it in! This rather sketchy method of alteration worked out fine though, and although I did loose some of the two innermost pleats into the centre back seam I'm happy with how it looks.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

The knife pleats were new to me but, although a little fiddly and time consuming with all the marking pressing and basting, easy enough. Rather than facings as suggested I decided to line the bodice in the style of the Elisalex, attaching it around the neckline and then slipstitching it to the dress along the zip and armholes. I love how neat the zip looks sandwiched between the layers. Attaching at the armholes proved a little problematic as the troublesome floral stretched out where the poplin lining did not so the two were not a neat fit together. To solve this I simply hemmed the armholes in the lining and then caught them to the dress fabric top and bottom which works out fine.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

The invisible zip went in smoothly this time, it just needed a hook and eye to finish off the top end. To keep the neckline neat and flat I used the black version of the wonderful stick on stay tape I got in Pacific Trimmings, under-stitched the lining to the seam allowance and clipped it all the way round. I love putting the effort in to all these little tricks and details as I feel like I've got a much more special and hardwearing garment when I'm done.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern

I can't remember exactly how much I paid for the fabric as I got it so long ago but I think some kind of deal was struck for £5 for 2 metres. The purple poplin lining was part of a fabric bundle a friend of my mum's kindly passed on to me and the zip cost around £2 from my local market. So considering the pattern was a freebie this dress was an absolute bargain at around £7 total! Much cheaper than any shop bought dresses in my wardrobe, sewn to at least the same standard and expected to hold out longer than most! Sewing is AWESOME!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern
O yeah, and there's pockets! Could this pattern get any better?!

Overall this pattern get's a big thumbs up from me and I love my new dress! I can see me getting a lot of wear out of it all year round. Have you tried this or any other patterns from the Project Runway line yet?
Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral Simplicity 2444 Dress Sewing Pattern
Another one that's good for twirling too!

24 comments:

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    1. Thanks Rachel, I can tell it's going to be one of those that gets worn a lot because I feel so comfortable in it, yet still put together

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  2. This is gorgeous! Out of all the Big 4 patterns the Project Runway ones have been my favourite!

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    1. O yes! I've definitely developed a bit of love for them and all their endless variations!

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  3. Your dress is gorgeous! I am almost finished my second 2444, and I totally agree with you about the sizing on this. There's another Project Runway pattern that I have my eye on (I think the number is 1610), but I haven't bought it yet.

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    1. I knew there was another gorgeous version of it that had prompted me to give it a try and it was yours Lynne! I'm glad you agree on the sizing, I thought I'd made some massive error! I've just checked out 1610 and it's definitely a winner in terms of design options, the halter neck bodice looks particularly lovely!

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  4. That looks lovely, I love the pleats in the skirt. It's looks like a really nice all round, any occasion dress. Will definitely have to put that on my list of things to make! I totally agree about the sizing - I'm making simplicity 1803 at the moment and I had to go down two sizes from my measurements. It's my first dress, and I got in such confusion with sizes when buying the pattern that I ended up buying both sizes (they were also half price and I didn't want to have to go back and buy it full price later if I got it wrong!).

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    1. O Simplicity 1803 looks like another lovely one with a lot of variation, Lauren from Lladybird has made a couple of really gorgeous versions of this before. Good luck with your first dress, I hope it's a big success! I'd say cut the size recommended on the envelope for you even if you think you will need smaller as it's better to be to big and be able to adjust than too small!

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    2. I love Lauren's versions - they were some of the ones that made me decide to go for this pattern! Finally finished it, and I'm really pleased with the result (http://makesewdo.wordpress.com/), now to decide what to do next! Have now procured myself the pattern for 2444 so that's a contender. I'm so glad I saw your version here - going by the ones on the pattern envelope, I don't think I'd have given it a second glance, it's amazing how different the same pattern can look!

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    3. Yeah pattern envelopes can be so misleading and it's really hard to see past them sometimes! Usually it's seeing someone else's version that makes me choose a pattern. 2444 is really great, very versatile and wearable

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  5. Oh, this is very pretty! Love the lining you added, very sharp. Looks great on you, as well! I have two patterns from the Project Runway line, a blouse and a fall coat, but have not sewn either. Luckily, I have the smallest size, so will be sure to double check when selecting my size. For some reason, the chitter chatter on the envelope would lead you to believe that it is a smaller sizing than regular Simplicity patterns, but doesn't sound like it. Have fun wearing your new dress!

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    1. Thanks Catja! Definitely be wary of the sizes on those patterns, though I'd probably end up cutting the recommended size until more familiar with the range so it doesn't end up too small! I'd love to try a coat from this line, can't wait to see yours!

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  6. This is so pretty!
    I like Project Runway patterns too, but yes- the Big 4 add stupid amounts of ease that will never result in us looking like the packet lady. I never trust their sizing and always have to measure!

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    1. Thanks Tania! I always wonder how the pattern companies don't realise that their sizing on the envelope is way off when they make them up to fit the models! Measuring the pattern is a great idea, I'll do that and compare it to some of my ready to wear clothing next time

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  7. Beautiful dress and lovely fit. Love the sewing details in your post.

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    1. Thank you Ramona! The fit was a bit of a cheat and a fluke in the end but quite easy to get right with this pattern!

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  8. thanks for the tip on sizing. amy almondrock mentioned it came up big too. i bought fabric for this one at the goldhawk rd meet and it is next on my list (after the hummingbird sewalong). you dress is lovely. i'm planning a sleeveless one but i'm quite tempted to make another just for those little sleeves! those project runway patterns have cute variations.

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    1. The sleeves are one of the best things about it I think! But I do love Roisin's sleeveless versions too. Can't wait to see yours!

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  9. Really cute! I love this on you! I made this for my mom about a year and a half ago when I didn't really know what I was doing in terms of fit, and I was shocked by the sizing, too. It's ludicrous how much ease is in the big 4 patterns! But I should go back and revisit this pattern now that I know more about fit!

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    1. Yeah definitely go back to it, it's great! Nice and simple but with interesting details. I reckon you'd look great in it! I wasn't too fussy about fit on this and I think it worked out ok not being closely fitted

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  10. I've made this dress twice now but never with sleeves. I'm going to have to change that next time because your version is SO cute!! Awesome fabric, too! I love those colors :)

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    1. Thanks Rochelle! I love these little cap sleeves!

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  11. I love the fabric you chose for this!!

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    1. Thank you! I'd had it for ages which is unusual for me as I normal fabric shop with a pattern in mind but it was one of those pieces that you knew would be useful and I loved straight away!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!