Monday, March 19, 2012

My Favorite Thing: Denim Simplicity 2588 (Project Runway)

When I first saw Simplicity 2588 I really liked it:  princess seams, neckline variations and 2 skirt options.  The pattern sat for a while in my collection before I decided to make it up in some pink linen.  I muslined the bodice using a turquoise poplin.  I graded the pieces from a 14 at the bust out to an 18 at the waist.  I cut the flared skirt in an 18.  My muslin was perfect.  I didn't change a thing.  Strangely enough I really liked the look of my muslin more than the look of the final dress.  Turquoise is one of my favorite colors.  :)

So off I went cutting into my pink linen.  The fabric is fairly stiff but hopefully it will soften up more with more washings.  The pattern went together like a dream.  Absolutely no problems.  I had used a friend's serger on another project a few weeks ago and I was really wishing that I had my own to finish the princess seams.  I didn't want to topstitch the bodice seams so I just zig zagged over the raw edges and left them.  

I simply cannot buy 22" zippers (regular OR invisible) so I have to make do.  What I have discovered is although the pattern envelope calls for a 22" zipper, I can use a 16"/18" instead.  The dress is perfectly wearable, but I HAVE to put the dress on over my head- I can't step into or out of it: it won't go over my hips.  So if you're ever stuck with a too short zipper...fear not!  My invisible zipper insertion was very good as well.  For the 2nd time in a row, I haven't had to unpick any stitches, only to sew another line closer to the coils.  I count that as a huge success.  So here is the finished dress:

I wasn't really thrilled with the color on me.  It's fairly close in tone to my skin and hair color which makes for a boring look.  I will have to wear noticeable jewellery to snazz things up a bit.  But I really liked the dress and the style and the fit.  Soooo....I immediately looked through the fabric stash.

Once in a while fabric, pattern, inspiration, come together, the stars align and you are immediately excited, no THRILLED about what you are about to make.  For me it was this pattern, in a lightweight stretch denim.  I decided right then that I would do a bunch of topstitching on the bodice seams, and neckline.  I'd also add the pockets I omitted on the pink version.  I bought the denim last summer in the US with the plan of making it into an A-line gored skirt to replace one that had become too tight.  I am so glad I put that project off!  I had 1.5 yards, and the denim was 60" wide and I had no problem cutting out the dress (including the flared skirt and pockets).  Due to the variations you can do with the pattern, the pattern envelope separates out the fabric requirements for the bodice and skirt type, sleeves, and neckline.  These fabric requirements are very generous.  The envelope said for 60" wide fabric, I'd need 1.75yd for the bodice and flared skirt, 3/8yd for the flat sleeve, and 1/2 yard for the neck band.  I cut everything from 1.5 yards.  Something to keep in mind is that the skirt is pretty short.  I am 5'-2" tall and for a knee length skirt, I turned up slightly less than an inch on the hem.  So if you are tall...cut it longer and you will need more than 1.5yds.

The pattern envelope did not list lightweight denim as a suggested fabric but I wasn't going to let that stop me. I was concerned with the pleats on the skirt and whether or not the denim would hang well or stick out and make me look like my tummy has a pooch (not good).  I initially thought of eliminating the pleats, but then decided on keeping AND topstitch them down a few inches to keep them flat.  I chose to do 2" of top-stitching very close to the pleat and I think it came out great and it keeps my tummy looking smooth.

Skirt's front pleats topstitched down 2"
More topstitching photos (I went all out! It is denim after all!):
Neckline topstitching
Shoulder seams (sleeves have 2 pieces)
Bodice topstitching
I did put the side pockets in the skirt and to cut down on bulk, I used a navy rayon-poly blend I had in the stash for the front side of the pocket.  Prior to sewing the pocket together, I topstitched the side seam (and front of the pocket down so that my pocket lining wouldn't peek out:

This is my absolute favorite self-sewn item to date. 


  1. Super cute, love denim with topstitiching.

  2. And now I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award 2012. Details on my blog here:

  3. Looks great! Love the graceful neckline!


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