Two Challenges, One Project: Simplicity 8415 Pattern Review

Oh my gosh, what a week! First, let me say this project made me feel like a beginner again, because I had so many first. But they say, if it doesn't challenge you, then you're not learning anything new. Well, I was definitely challenged and I discuss it in detail in the pattern review below.

Second, let's talk about the inspiration for this dress. If you're a member of the Instagram sewing community,  then you know there are sewing challenges going on every month. I recently came across two and decided to join the fun. The first is sleevefest2017 hosted by and @valentine.and.stitch. This challenge required me to get creative with my sleeve on any garment. For this challenge I decided to make a dress using simplicity 8415 View A. I have never sewn a split sleeve but View A looks amazing on the pattern cover.  I knew I had to give it a try. Let me just say that this dress defintely challenged me.  I got frustrated with the entire sleeve process. I have included a pattern review below but word of advice, invest in a loop turner if you do not own one. (My reason for this suggestion is addressed below, after the pattern review)

The second one is the living dangerously challenge hosted by @sewweekly. This challenge required me to sew with prized fabric I've been hoarding. The double knit fabric from Fabric Mart , used for this project, has been sitting in my stash since February. I got it for an amazing price but only purchased two yards. Needless to say, I was hesitate about cutting the fabric,  and every time I thought I found the right project I said, " nope not today, this is not the pattern for this fabric."  So this challenge from sewweekly was just what I needed to push past that sewing block. I definitely made the right choice.  This fabric is light weight, which made it perfect for the summer and stable enough that it caused me very little trouble while sewing. In fact the fabric was not the source of my pain, it was the pattern, the pattern did it all. Check out the pattern review below if you are interested in hearing my woes, if not, there are plenty of pictures of the finished project down there as well. Happy Sewing! 


Pattern Review

Pattern Description: 
Misses dresses that can be sheath or drop waist style, with four different sleeves styles for even  more flare.  Dress can be sewn in a variety of fabric. 

Pattern Sizing:
Size 6 - 14, I cut the size 6.  

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, for the most part.  I completely ignored the instruction regarding inserting the invisible zipper.  It confused me so I did it my normal way, which is sewing the two back pieces together with a basting stitch and inserting the zipper.  (Albeit, this may be what Simplicity wanted me to do but the illustrations just gave me a headache.) 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The two things I love about this pattern is the finish sleeves and the high neckline.  


     a. I hated the fit of the dress when I initially did my basting stitch.  It hung off of my body horribly: the fabric clung in the bust area (that was fine), had an excess of material in the waist and lower back area (not ok), and clung at my hips.  Needless to say, I had to make a fit adjustment.  

     b.  I also didn't like the finish length of the dress.  I plan on adding two or three inches to the pattern in the future. 

     c.  I hated, hated, hated gathering the sleeve cap.  You can't tell from the picture but there is a little puckering in the sleeve cap area because I just couldn't get the gathers to act right.  This was my first gathered sleeve project and I did not like it one bit. 

Fabric Used:

Scarlet and Maroon Geometric Print Poly/Lyrca Puckered Double Knit 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I had to take the side seams in at the waist significantly, I think I took it in by at least two inches.  Instead of doing the 5/8 hem, I surged the hem using a three thread overlock stitch, turned the hem up 1/4 an inch, and finished it with a straight stitch.  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
You probably won't believe this but the answer is.......YES! I love this sleeve!  I will make the needed alterations on the pattern for the waist and dress length before sewing it again, but you can definitely expect to see this dress again. 

I have sewn projects with straps but I never had to use my loop turner.  That all changed with this dress.  The tie was so thin that I had no choice but to use it.  I found the process to be much easier if I left an extremely small hole in the corner for the hook to go through.  

This was my first attempt turning the sleeve tie inside out.  As you can see, the space I left for the turner was too big and I was left with little hole.  I stitched the hole closed by hand, after turning the tie inside out.