Thursday, September 2, 2010

My perfect dress

Simplicity 2917 is my perfect dress. There are options for sleeves, but I have only made the sleeveless version. It has four pieces each in the front and back, so there is no need for darts for shaping. The flared skirt is flattering on my hips, and the way the pattern is shaped from the neck to the waist makes the most of my curves. I think this dress is probably flattering on most female-shaped people.

I have made this dress eight times now. Four for me, four for other people. The first was the red one above. I made it because I didn't know what to wear to a December wedding in Dallas. This with a black sweater was just right. I have now worn it to three more weddings and several other occasions. It is made from a heavy cotton knit with just a tiny bit of stretch. The weight gives it a great drape. I did the zipper on this one the way the pattern suggested, with the left back lapping over the right side. I had never done that before, and it turned out pretty well. This isn't a great picture, but it's what I have.

The second time I made the dress, I made it a little longer in a lightweight blue and white cotton knit with a little more stretch.
The stretch of the fabric made it a little harder to get the fit right at the neck, so it's a tiny bit gappy at the top, but it's a nice, lightweight, casual dress for church or Sacred Harp singings. Plus, the length and fullness of the skirt make it very bike-able.
The third dress was my wedding dress.
We didn't have a big wedding, and I had been saving this airy turquoise silk for a special occasion, so I made my wedding dress out of it. I didn't have time to waste on a pattern that might not work, so I went with 2917 again because I knew it was simple and flattering. The silk was pretty tricky to work with, and because it was so light the drape was very different than the other two dresses. I had a dickens of a time getting the hem done, and I was never all the way happy with it, but it was my wedding, and no one was going to criticize my hemming skills!
In this picture, you can kind of see that the hem isn't quite smooth. Oh well.

I also made Jon's tie out of the same material as my dress. I loved that we matched! The silk made the tie quite tricky, and it never lay entirely flat, but the dicey parts were hidden under his collar, so it was OK.

The most recent five copies of the dress were made for the bridesmaids at my sister's wedding. We used a heavier purple silk that we got for a song. Here are the two sisters.
And here are all the maids. We had some issues with fitting for a couple of the girls (my fault, not theirs), and my mom did all the hemming work and most of the facings. I think the biggest issue is that one of the patterns should have been shortened before cutting. I hadn't even thought about that before taking their measurements, but it is difficult to correct for height after the pattern pieces have been cut out. I think in the end everyone looked great, but I would have saved myself and my mom some trouble if I had shortened the pattern beforehand.
I was very tickled a few weeks after the wedding when I saw these pictures on one of the girls' facebook page.

She was a beautiful fairy at Scarborough Faire! I'm really glad I was able to make a dress she liked so much. (And of course, that elusive bridesmaid's dress that you can actually wear again.)

I am done with 2917 for now (making six of something in a row will do that to you), but I won't be surprised if someday I haul it out again because it does work very well for me. Plus, I'm really good at making it now!


  1. Beautiful job! I am getting ready to attempt this pattern (in a silky material for my daughter, so thank you for all your pictures and comments.:o)

    You did a great job and the pattern was especially beautiful for your wedding and the bridesmaid's gowns.

  2. I am currently making this dress and was wondering if you cut the front into 2 pieces. It has you lay the piece on the fold but there is clearly a seam down the middle of the front.

  3. I am currently making this dress and was wondering if you cut the front into 2 pieces. It has you lay the piece on the fold but there is clearly a seam down the middle of the front.