Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Simplicity 2054 - A Great Beginner Pattern for Knit Dresses

For Christmas I decided to make my daughter I few new dresses.  I also wanted to  sew a simple knit dress to help her learn to fit and sew garments for herself.  I chose Simplicity 2054 because it is very simple and gives options to make a crew or turtleneck top.

I started with making the usual adjustments for my daughter.  There are three basic adjustments:  pigeon chest, sway back, and decrease width across the center back. 

Simplicity describes this pattern as a Misses' knit dress with a cowl collar.

It comes in sizes 6 to 22. I used size 10 with modifications. 
I changed the style of the dress. It was a loose fit. For the fabric I selected, the loose fit would not work. So my version, didn't exactly look like the picture or drawing. 
I only looked at the instructions to be able to comment on them in this review. They were typical and straight forward. Nothing confusing about them. 
There are a few reasons why I selected this pattern. The first is I liked that it was simple. The fabric that I chose is the "speaker" in this garment. So a simple pattern worked best. The second reason was to alter a pattern for DD that she could try to make it for herself. Throughout the adjustment phase of the process, I told her why I made the adjustments. I also talked a little about the sewing process. I'm sure I'll have to give her another lesson when she is ready to try it on her own. And the third and final reason why I selected this particular pattern is because it can serve as a great sloper for future garments of a similar style. It can also be used to make t-shirts and turtlenecks. 
The navy fabric was purchased at Stone Mountain and Daughter (San Francisco). It's a medium weight knit with raised waves running crosswise. It has about 30 percent stretch and was very easy to sew. 
The first adjustment I made was to the front dress. DD's upper chest is slightly rounded, like a bird. Her RTW tops and dresses pull across the shoulders and upper arm. Vogue Sewing describes this alteration as a pigeon chest adjustment. I made the horizontal slash a few inches below the armhole, to give her a little more room across the bust area. Then I made a vertical slash up to the shoulder seam then spread the pattern as needed. This adjustment increases the length of the side seam of the front. I just eased the difference in above the notch. No dart needed. 
The next adjustments are to the back. I started with the sway back adjustment. It's a small one, which consists of a horizontal tuck across the lower back. I think because DD's chest protrudes, her center back is slightly concave. So I have to make a vertical tuck within the neckline curve of the back of the pattern. This adjustment removes the pooling that occurs. The tuck is only needed for the back area. So I have to add to the sides to make sure there is enough ease/room in the hip area. This is usually done as I cut. For this dress I didn't add to the side seams.  There was enough ease built into the pattern. 
After I cut the front and back dress out, I pin fit it to see how the dress would fit and look on DD. It was shapeless, like a sack. So I created shape. I pinned the silhouette I envisioned. Then I used tailor chalk to mark the stitching line on both sides of the dress (wrong side of the fabric). After that was done, sewing it together was a piece of cake. 
We will probably use this pattern over and over. It's a great sloper for other garments and we can modify it to make tops.


  1. You're right this is a great basic shape and you will be able to do so much with it! I love, love, love the fabric you choose for this version!

  2. I want that fabric! I love textured knits like this, and this one is a beauty. The fabric elevates this simple dress into elegance. The perfect fit and simple lines make it perfect as a knit sloper.

  3. That is a lovely dress on your daughter. The fit is great as is the fabric and colour. Very nice indeed.

  4. Love this dress. Simple lines, great fit and a perfect reference point for future knit projects. Lucky, lucky DD.

  5. This is a good pattern to use as a sloper for newbie or advanced sewers. I love how this fabric is navy and not black. It's also intriguing to look at and elegant to wear.

  6. The fabric and dress are lovely, so is your daughter!

  7. This looks great. Beautiful dress and it looks lovely on your daughter.

  8. C',

    I love all of your explanations, advice and your visual thought processes. Thank you for your "lessons" in every post!

    DD looks fabulous in her new dress! That fabric and all your wise modifications yielded lovely results. Good job!


  9. Wow! that dress is a stunner. The fabric, the girl. Where did you get that fabric??? You really changed the shape of the pattern. It looks fantastic now.

  10. I made this dress with the exact same fabric. The fabric is very forgiving.

  11. Thanks for re-posting this blog; I have been working with WordPress for awhile now and always seem to need a little extra help with customization.

  12. I like the way you pinned in the side to subtly high lighter her pretty figure. The fabric is great too!

  13. I love it and I love that you told/showed what you did to the pattern. That fabric is fantastic. Thanks for postng.



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