Friday, June 28, 2024

Summer Dress - Simplicity S9597 and S9552

Happy Friday everyone!

Summer officially arrived about a week ago,  But let me tell you, it has been summer in the Midwest since early June.  The midwestern heat accompanied by the humidity and high pollen is no joke.  We already had temps close to 100 degrees.

All my Chicagoland sewing sista's  know to prepare early before the heat.  This summer dress had been in the works before I actually selected the fabric.  Starting with all the fit adjustments, I like to be ready to just cut and sew.  Such was the case with this beauty. 

Before I get started with the pattern/project review, be warned that this is a lengthy blog post.  So I'm starting with a lot of pictures of the actual dress.  This was a fun project, and I will get a lot of wear out of it.  So, excuse me for the lengthy post. 

I used two patterns to make this summer dress,  Simplicity S9552 for the bodice and Simplicity S9597 for the skirt.



Pattern Description:  The top S9552-Lined crop top has princess seams, button front straps and separating invisible back zipper.  Wrap skirts have flounce variation, large side front pocket and button closure.  The Skirt S9597- Mimi G's misses' flared ankle length dress and jumpsuit with buttoned back bodice has a shaped midriff tier and cut out dipped back with elastic.  I used size 16 with a lot of modifications.

Pattern Sizing:  Both have size ranging from 6 to 24, which is great. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  The silhouette was close to the Mimi G pattern. Some of the details were different.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, they were easy to follow.  And of course, I had to create a few of my own as a result of my changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the silhouette of Simplicity 9597.  The elasticize back drop waist was interesting.  I didn't like that it was so low and the back bodice band showed too much of the softer side of me. Lol.   As for Simplicity 9552, I actually bought this pattern first and had intended to make the views worn by the model.  The princess seam bodice made the FBA easy to do.  I wasn't interested in showing a lot of exposed midriff.  That was an easy fix.  Overall, I liked the majority of S9552 design lines with the exception of the short bodice.  And the S9597 it's the skirt that I like the most.

Fabric Used:  The fabric I used is a cotton shirting that I bought during the Frocktails shopping day from The Textile Warehouse on West 21st Street in Chicago.  It was only $3.95 per yard.  A good deal for a Robert Kauffman fabric.  I pre-washed, dried, and pressed it right away.  It has a crisp, dry hand and it breathes.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  As I said, I made quite a few changes.  Let's start with the bodice.  



 First, I did a full bust adjustment and made a muslin to check the fit.  It was low, so I added about an inch to the top.  I also added about an inch to the side back to balance out the side front and back pieces.  Sometimes the FBA produces so much additional width, the side seam is not where it needs to be.  So, adding more width to the side back offers some room to adjust or take in both side front and back equally.  


NOTE:  I made the FBA without considering the length of the bodice of the MiMi G pattern.  Before I attached the S9552 bodice to the S9597 skirt, I cut it to my desired length, which was about two inches longer than the original  bodice of S9597,  I wanted to cover up that little roll on my side back. Lol


Back Closure of Bodice- 

I made the button loops for the back closure, same as S9597.  Because of the added length, I had to add two more loops and buttons.


Bodice Straps-

With the added inch at the top of the bodice, I didn't need the full length of the straps.  I didn't cut them off though.  I left the length as a design element.  Also, the buttons for the straps are different from the back closure buttons.  I didn't have enough in my stash, and I just did not want to go to the store for more buttons.  Maybe later.



I added a few inches to the bottom tier of the skirt.  The low back of the skirt gave me pause.  So I shorten the length of the elastic to draw it up closer my natural waistline.  This was done for comfort and modesty. Wink, wink.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I would recommend both patterns to others,  I plan to make the views the model is wearing for S9552. These are good summer outfit patterns for all level sewists.  Definitely, if you have a full bust, do a FBA for a better fit.  You may have to tweak it a little bit, but it is worth it.

Conclusion:   I enjoyed making this dress and will enjoy wearing it throughout the summer.  Throw on a nice hat and sandals, it’s a great vacation outfit.  Also, great for all the festivals around town. 

 Happy Sewing!




Monday, June 17, 2024

Soft Crepe Dress Simplicity S9820

Hello Sewing Friends,

I finally have something to share with pictures.  This Simplicity dress was made immediately after I finished my Chicago Frock tails dress.  In fact, I made it the morning before the Frock tails Saturday evening affair.  I really needed something to cleanse my palette.  Because I devoted many hours to making my Frock tails dress which in the end lack luster.  The truth is I made two dresses.  One trashed and the other a substitute for what I really wanted to wear.

Anyway, Simplicity S9820 helped me feel better about all the hours that I spent on the party dress.  To start, I had already made the pattern adjustments.  Anyone who has similar adjustments knows that this takes quite some time with every new pattern to use in a sewing project.  It was so satisfying to go right to the cutting table.  Sewing time was about 3.5 hours plus time to hand stitch the hem.

Pattern Description:  As usual, Simplicity gives the vaguest pattern descriptions.  My description:  Misses's knit dresses and shrug.  View A dress is an A-line mid-calf knit dress with shoulder and neckline drape details.  View B dress is a floor length A-line strapless dress with a front knotted long sleeve shrug.  Both dresses close with an invisible zipper at the back of the dress.

Pattern Sizing:  This pattern is available in  sizes 8 to 26, which is very nice.  I used size 16 with modifications.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions were typical.  Nothing difficult or confusing in them.  

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love the shoulder and neckline drape.  The A-line silhouette was a plus too.  I was mostly interested in making view A.  But after I finished it, I considered making view B at a later date.


I don't have any real dislikes.

Fabric Used: My fabric is from New Rainbow Fabrics on Roosevelt Road in Chicago,  It is a blush, crepe knit with a soft hand.  The stretch of the fabric is more than 25%.  It has great recovery.  I think it is perfect for this dress.  New Rainbow has this crepe knit in a variety of colors at a very reasonable price of $7.00 per yard.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I have quite a few changes that I made.  I begin by examining the measurements on the pattern front for the finished dress.  The finished bust measurement is only 34 inches.  


  • FBA - Often, for my size it's around 39 inches.  So, I feel this pattern runs a little on the small size.  Because the front and back patterns are designed sleeveless, I had to think about how to make the FBA adjustment without distorting the shape of the dress.  Below is an illustration of the FBA.  I simply slashed through the neckline down to the bust area continuing the length of the pattern.  This had to be done twice because the front pattern piece was for the entire front body instead of half the width of the body.   This adjustment produce a dart.  I decided to angle the dart slightly.  I hate darts that are straight across from side to apex.

  • Added width to the two back pieces - When I make a FBA, the front is sometimes much wider than the back.  Particularly, below the bust. Often, I end up sewing larger side seams to slim down the rest of the dress.  This sometimes causes the back to be even smaller.  And the side seams are off center along the side.  So to balance things out a bit, I added some width across the back.  Note:  My usual prominent shoulder blade adjustment was not needed because the back of the dress falls well  below the shoulder blades.

  • Swayback - There are two back pattern pieces.  I suspect the reason is not to confuse the sewist with the markings for each shoulder and neckline attachments.  Tucks were made on both pieces.  Note:  the amount of the tuck has to be added back at the hem to balance out the hem.  

  • Marking the Lower dress pattern pieces - I decided to cut the pattern pieces at the hem for view A.  Each piece is label with the respective pattern number plus the letter "B".

  • Front and Back Facings -  I adjusted the width of both to match the adjustment that I made to the front and back.

  • Elastic Around the Top of the Dress -  To stabilize the neckline of the dress, elastic is added.  I measured the elastic by first stretching it to relief any added tension.  Then I measure it like I would to take an upper bust measurement.  This is how I determined the length of my elastic.  Next, I divided it into four sections.  Starting at the right back for section 1.  Sections 2 and 3 for the front.  Finally, section 4 for the left back.  I stretched the elastic to fit each section.  The elastic was attached after the facings were sewn on.
  • Shoulder and Neckline Drape - I added about an inch to each.  I didn't need it.  So, I had to remove the added length to those pieces.

These are my adjustments/changes.  I hope this is clear.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I think I will make it again.  Probably for a holiday dress.  There is always a holiday party to go to.  And this dress is a quick make with great results.  And, yes I do recommend it to others.  

Conclusion: I am very pleased with how this dress turned out.  It was the perfect antidote for recovery from a "not so great" sewing experience.  Lol

Parting Photos:   Me wearing Simplicity Combo S8735 and S8637.  The pattern review is:   Easy, Breezy Summer Dress.  It is perfect for the 90 degree temps we are experiencing right now.



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