I was wandering aimlessly around Fabricland in Bristol a month or two ago not feeling inspired by any of the fabrics. I always find that place to be a bit hit and miss, and on that particular Saturday nothing seemed to be quite right for the projects that I had in mind. So I was feeling a bit despondent, but then thankfully a random unknown stranger came to my rescue by helpfully leaving one of the pattern catalogues open on the page for Simplicity 1325.
The pinafore dress (or jumper to the Americans) on the pattern cover really caught my eye. It's a bit different to any of the dresses I've made so far, whilst keeping to my general preference for fit and flare styles. Plus I love a bit of layering when the weather gets a bit colder, so a flattering pinafore-style dress was always going to appeal to me. Especially when it was combined with a good basic t-shirt pattern, a jacket that I like the look of (and trousers too, but I probably won't be making them any time soon given my whole not wearing trousers thing) and, best of all, a half price Simplicity sale.
The dress has a flared skirt with pockets, and a lined bodice with a plunging V-neck. As you can see from the photos, this is definitely a pinafore and would be a bit indecent if you didn't have the t-shirt underneath! I'm wearing it with a basic RTW t-shirt here, but I'm planning to try out the t-shirt that comes in the pattern at some point soon.
I made a size 14, with the only alteration being to add 1 inch to the length of the bodice, which is a standard alteration for me. I was a bit worried before making the dress that the deep V neck might make fitting a bit of a pain, but I got lucky and it fit me really nicely straight out of the packet. I think the photos don't entirely do it justice on that front, as they seem to show up every possible tiny little crease which doesn't seem to be there in real life, but I promise it does fit nicely really!
Sewing up the dress was pretty straightforward. The instructions were all nice and clear and fairly well illustrated. I was already familiar with almost all of the techniques, but I sewed my first lapped zip (I'm pretty confident with centered zips, and growing to love invisible zips after a bit of a wobbly start, but I'd somehow unintentionally avoided lapped zips until now!), and that went relatively well. There's room for improvement there, but I'm happy with it for a first attempt.
If you've followed my blog for a little while, you may have noticed that the fabric I used is a different colourway (indigo) of the same chambray that I used for my latest Mortmain dress. I still think it doesn't photograph brilliantly as a finished garment, but really is beautiful fabric - in terms of both how it looks and feels. Here it is in all it's glory when it arrived...
I love how fabric comes tied up with pretty ribbon from Dragonfly Fabrics - it makes it feel like Christmas has come early!
The only thing I might change about this dress would be to think about leaving out the pockets. This is odd for me because I generally prefer dresses/skirts with pockets, but in this case the combination of the skirt being cut on the bias and the chambray I used means that I have to be really careful about keeping the pockets completely smooth under the skirt, otherwise they don't sit particularly nicely and aren't very flattering for my hips. This means I probably won't really be using these pockets, so they might as well not be there really!
That's a fairly minor point though, and other than that I'm pretty pleased with this dress. I'm not sure I'll make another one again instantly, not because I don't like this one but because, compared to most of my other dresses, it's quite a distinctive shape so I think even if you made it in a totally different fabric it would quite obviously be the same dress (if that makes any sense?!), and it's always good to have a bit of variety, don't you think?