Over the winter I began working on this dress, Simplicity 2443, designed by Cynthia Rowley:
You can see the designer version here. It sells for $295. The bodice, in my version, is an olive green cotton interlock knit; the skirt is a grey pinstripe linen. The pattern is designed for a knit bodice and either a knit or woven skirt. T-shirt alterations aside, this was my first real venture into sewing with knits. (How intrepid!)
And guess what? Knits aren't scary anymore! Same goes for invisible zippers, though I was actually sweating while installing one in the side seam. Ack. I chose an interlock knit because it had a decent amount of stretch, but felt stable relative to the other knits at the store; the linen is lightweight with a lovely drape, though I admit I was drawn in initially by the pinstripe!
The pattern was easy to follow but is probably for those with intermediate skills. Attaching the top band to the bodice had me swearing passionately, particularly when it came to negotiating the band onto the racerback.
Thanks to the harsh sunlight, the bump where I gathered my bra straps between a huge safety pin is pretty evident! I am short-waisted, and shortened the bodice a tiny bit out of habit. The waistband would probably fit more comfortably had I not done that, so if you are long-waisted, be sure to lengthen the bodice! Below, dawn breaks through the hole I've made in the waistband seam:
I am happy with my dress. It is perhaps the first article of clothing I have made that fits my body well, which is a credit to the design of the dress and also the glory of knits!
Knit advice: I used a universal needle, size 75/11 if I recall, to construct this dress. My Bernina has a stretch stitch for joining knits (below), which does the trick. Check your manual and adjust your machine accordingly. I also decreased my presser foot pressure significantly, from 47ish to 12ish, so my seam wouldn't ripple.
Notes on Construction, Simplicity 2443:
- Skill level: intermediate
- Skills/techniques: invisible zipper installation, working with knits, attaching a knit to a woven (optional), joining curved seams
- Hem: blind hemmed by machine
- Interfacing: Armo-weft fusible for the waistband and to stabilize side zipper seam, knit fusible interfacing for the bodice band
- Alterations: shortened bodice... unnecessarily; took several inches off the skirt as well