Completed: Simplicity 1651

So, here’s the finished ‘wedding guest dress,’ otherwise known as Simplicity 1651.
Simplicity 1651
Simplicity 1651

Simplicity 1651

This is one of those Project Runway patterns, that comes with lots of options.

The bodice is version A (for the front) and C (for the back), with the flared skirt.  I had initially tried version B, but it didn’t work for me. I can see myself making this pattern again, with sleeves and a straight skirt (like the drawing of the blue dress on the envelope).

The fabric is a rayon challis I got from Denver Fabrics.  It’s super drapey and very cool to wear, which was a life saver because it was very hot at the wedding.  I’ve read different opinions about this type of fabric.  Some people love it, others claim it’s really hard to work with.  For what it’s worth, I didn’t find it difficult to work with, other than laying it out for cutting.  It wanted to move around a lot, probably because it’s pretty lightweight.

I decided to line the bodice with the main fabric. I did this because I wanted to keep the dress as cool as possible.  It worked well, and I like that the inside is as pretty as the outside.
Simplicity 1651

I initially lined the skirt with bemberg, but it was too heavy for the challis to support.  The weight of the skirt was causing the waistline to droop really bad.  So I cut it out, and then made a separate slip from from the lining.
Simplicity 1651 Slip
It worked perfectly, stayed in place all night, and now I have a bonus slip for full skirts!

There are a couple problems with the dress.  First the neckline gapes just a little because the fabric I used for my facings was a too stiff.  I knew it was going to be, but convinced myself it would work out in the end.  It didn’t, I should have listened to my gut.

Simplicity 1651

The black contrast looks nice, but is a little too stiff.

Second, I put in an invisible zipper – poorly. I was worried the challis would be too floppy for my preferred lapped zipper. Next time I will try it anyway.

Simplicity 1651

Not terrible from a distance.

I’m just not good at invisible zips.  I can never get the bottom seam right.  I even bought a special foot for my machine, but to no avail.  See how the seam is kind of wobbly looking? Grr.  And that’s after lots of pressing.
Simplicity 1651
Also the waist seam is waaay off.  I don’t know what happened, fortunately with the print, it’s not noticeable when worn.
Simplicity 1651

This dress did have a first for me – a rolled hem.  I don’t have a foot for that, so I followed this tutorial, and it worked perfectly.
Simplicity 1651

More pics:

Simplicity 1651


Simplicity 1651


Simplicity 1651

Inside Front

Simplicity 1651

Inside Back

Overall I’m happy with this dress, it’s fun and swingy!

Simplicity 1651


42 thoughts on “Completed: Simplicity 1651

  1. This looks gorgeous. I think you did a great job. I am trying to make the inside of my dresses as good as the outside and you certainly have! well done! I have yet to try an invisible zipper…..I am still on the concealed zip!

  2. So pretty! I always think of your stuff as impeccable so it’s nice to see you’re not always perfect haha. It is amazing though how awesomely the print disguises all the small mistakes. Awesome job as usual 🙂

  3. Gorgeous, love the colour and shape on you! I used to find invisible zips impossible, but I find if i make them lie flat as i sew (they curl near the teeth) I get a good result.

  4. Oooh what a great dress. The fabric has such wonderful colours in it and bet the dress is light and dreamy. Invisible zips are very fickle. Sometimes awesome sometimes terrible. This wasn’t doesn’t look bad but can imagine it’s annoying you. Hope you have a good time at the wedding!

  5. Invisible zippers are a hassle. Your dress looks really good, but I know how you feel. You know the little intricacies that happen…but the wisdom that you have gained is wonderful! The print is terrific 🙂 m.

  6. It’s such a gorgeous dress!! From the photos it look completely flawless and it looks great on you. I think the beautiful print helps to disguise the little issues. I always have the same issue with invisible zips but they are my favorite type to put in. I do love that the fabric is rayon challis – lately it’s been my favorite fabric to work with. Thanks for the link to the fabric!

    • Ya, with the print hiding everything, I don’t really mind the problems. Denver Fabrics has a pretty decent selection of challis, you just have to pay attention and make sure you are ordering rayon. I got one cut that was poly, and I don’t love it as much.

  7. Wow this looks great! No body would even notice the little ‘faults’ you’ve picked up on, i guess when you make things your self you get very nit-picky 😛

    Really looks stunning both off you and on!

  8. Lovely job! Like my dad used to say, ” If you want perfect, buy it at the store.” The beauty of handmade is in the little eccentricities. They just show us we are human, and always learning.

  9. This looks like a great dancing dress. I think you’re waistline and seams are probably more accurate than most RTW garments would be, even if it’s ‘off’. This looks lovely. The print is a lot of fun.

  10. Very nice dress. I use my Bernina buttonhole foot when inserting invisible zips- the groove on the underside holds the zipper teeth inline. I have to carefully unroll the zipper teeth with my finger nail before it gets into the groove. I keep the needle centred. The best instructions I have found for invisible zip insertion is from Claire Shaeffer, from a Vogue Patterns magazine about 10 years ago. It is very difficult to get the seam below the tape seam in line with the tape seam- you did a very good job.

  11. Just beautiful! I love the fabric and the pattern, so swingy. The inside looks gorgeous too! I like how the Project Runway lets you design your own pattern (to an extent). I have w project runway sewing patterns, a blouse and a coat, but have not made either. Look forward to sewing one of them. I just got an invisible foot for my machine and tried it out a few days ago. I get the concept, but it did not go very smoothly. Was crooked and well, visible. So, no good advice from me on that one.

  12. This is a really lovely dress, and in a perverse way it makes me feel quite good about my own paltry sewing skills that you have a wonky waistline, especially given how many complicated and advanced projects you have worked on – with brilliant results. Also, I love the fact that you are happy to still wear it – not being too perfectionist is an art in the sewing world I think. It’s a skill that I need to learn!

  13. Beautiful dress! The colour and print look lovely on you and none of the things you mention are really noticable. 🙂 I also really like the neckline.

  14. The dress is really really pretty! I am very tempted to buy that pattern now, I love the project runway patterns. I’m glad you found Rayon challis easy, it’s one of my favourite fabrics.

  15. Your dress is gorgeous and the fabric hangs so beautifully. And guess what? I bought the exact same fabric back when it was on sale!!! It is earmarked for a pair of Megan Nielson’s Tania culottes. Can’t wait!

  16. Pingback: Completed: Licorice Dress With a Wild Side | Purls and Pleats

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