Simone was yet another double make for this past Christmas. I made the top version for my bestie Jessica, and went ahead and whipped up this dress version for myself! One of the things I love about piggybacking my personal makes on gifts for others is how differently one pattern can be interpreted. Really, thats what I find interesting about all my wardrobe makers out there. There are truly endless possibilities. For instance, Jess saw this pattern and loved the top version. She immediately envisioned it in solids to let the details shine. Me? I was drawn toward the hi-lo dress version and just HAD to cut it in some contrasting prints. So funny huh!?
The pattern is “Simone” by Victory Patterns. Victory is a great little indie sewing pattern company with TONS of great top & dress patterns. I think I have nearly ALL of their dress patterns on my “to sew” list. I was glad to finally try one of them out. I found the instructions to be very clear, with helpful illustrations. I purchased the printable pdf version (I usually go this route – partly because I’m cheap and partly because I like to recycle and print my patterns on the back of junk mail and scrap paper). The pattern itself has a lot of complex details, with front pleating, an asymmetric hem, and a cut-out front with a button tab. I was unsure about the tab at first, I even considered eliminating it. But something made me decide to stick with it and I’m glad I did, its a cute detail and another way to incorporate the complimentary fabric.
As far as fabric goes, I chose this beautifully printed crepe de chine I was lucky enough to inherit from an internship from my days in NYC. OH how I miss the perks of working in the garment district! I brought RIDICULOUS amounts of free fabric with me to Texas and feel fortunate enough to have accumulated quite the stash – especially since the nearest fabric store that isn’t Walmart is a JoAnn’s 45 miles away. The contrast fabric I used on the racerback, front piping, and tab is actually from a pillowcase set I picked up at a thrift store interestingly enough. I love rustic stripes and figured I’d use them to make a skirt or as a secondary fabric for something. Its a medium weight cotton and provides great structure for all those curves in back. I think the two fabrics work great together! (you guys actually helped me pick them out on instagram)
I didn’t make a ton of changes to the pattern. Really the most notable thing I did was omit the side zipper. I took a chance and decided it wasn’t needed and I turned out to be right. The body is so flowy, and there is a lot of room in the arm area since its a racer back, that I just didn’t think a zipper was necessary. I’m SO not a fan of unnecessary zippers. Granted, those a little more – ahem – blessed may need the extra room a zipper provides to get into the dress. I personally don’t have that problem and would much rather wiggle my way into a dress than deal with a zipper – lazy I know. For the top (pictured below) I did take out some of the “flare” in the hem as requested by Jessica. I agreed with her on this move, as there is plenty of room and body provided by the front pleats, that the excess flare at the side seam can be omitted for a little more shape. That’s really it for changes to the pattern. The armhole had lots of room (again with the racerback) so I didn’t need to make my usual dropping the armhole adjustment.
For inside finishings I used my serger to clean finish most seams. The armhole and neckline are finished with bias binding I cut in the contrast fabric. I was even thoughtful enough (aka decided not to be lazy) and changed my topstitch thread for each fabric for the binding so everything would blend really nicely. (note – I was still too lazy to change the bobbin thread as you can see below) The hem is just a 1/4″ turned hem. I had a little trouble with the crepe de chine and the drastically curved hem but the print is crazy enough that its quite forgiving (another perk for fun prints!)
This dress is just so fun and easy and light! I think it will get a LOT of wear this summer and I just can’t wait to prance around in it. It is extremely comfortable, forgiving enough to go bra-less (a MUST in Texas summers), and versatile enough to wear with sandals or dressed up with heals. I just love that about silk prints. Another thing I need more of in my life! Yet another plus is that it really doesn’t need ironing – I’ve been trying make less clothing that requires ironing because…who really likes to iron? I do more than enough ironing when I’m sewing the darn things!
As I mentioned at the start, Jess wanted solid colors for her top. That was really the only guidelines she gave me “Solid colors, nothing to bright.” I combed through my stash and found this grey stretch twill and thought it worked great with this lightweight pink twill I had. I just love this color combo! I thought the pink would be too much to use on the front yoke, I wanted it to look clean and simple so I only used it on the racerback, the neck piping, and the front piping.
I took some inspiration from the Simone’s on Victory’s site and decided to experiment with some decorative stitching on the front yoke since I was using solid colors. You know me – I just cant leave well enough alone! I just chose a stitch from my machine, and black thread. I started 1/4″ from the cut out opening on each side and continued each row 1/4″ apart from the previous. I’m super happy with the way it turned out. I think just a plain yoke would have been a little… blah. I dont think I’ve ever used decorative stitching from my machine on a garment before, I look forward to giving it a try again.
Pattern: Simone by Victory Patterns
Fabric: Dress: Floral Print Crepe de Chine, Cotton stripe (from a pillowcase) Top: Grey stretch will, pink twill cotton? – all from stash
Notions: Accent button for front tab
Difficulty: Intermediate – a little tricky business with that front yoke and those pleats
Adjustments: Removed zipper, took out flare for the top version
Finishes: Serged seams, bias bound armhole and neck, 1/4″ turned hem
Time: about 2 1/2 hours each
Sew it again? Yes! so comfy and easy!
Well that about sums up this project. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.