Completed: Simplicity 2703

This dress took me way too long to finish.  Not because it was difficult.  But because I kept getting sidetracked.  Anyway, I’m happy it’s done.

Simplicity 2703

I’m not as unhappy as I look here – it was just really bright outside!

Simplicity 2703

I made this with a linen/cotton blend that was really nice to work with.  Since the zipper is in the side of this dress, the back does not have a center seam, which is nice for prints (no worrying about matching!)

The front has four small pleats at the neckline.  I think they get lost in the print though.

Here’s a shot of the muslin, you can see the pleats better here.

The pattern, as written, is not lined.  It had a really big front facing piece, that went nearly to the waist.  I wanted a full lining, so I ditched the big facing and drafted my own, skinny one.  Then I attached my facings over my lining pieces and installed them as one unit.  I like this method for lining because it does away with the need for interfacing.
Back Lining

With every new project, there’s always some new technique or skill to learn.  This dress was no different.   This time I did a lapped zipper for the first time, and it’s prickstitched by hand.  I followed this great tutorial from Sunni.  It worked perfectly.  If you haven’t tried this yet — Do it!  Seriously.  I was so much easier than putting in an invisible zip.

Here’s how it looks closed:

Lapped Zip
Lapped Zip

And on the inside:
Inside of Lapped Zip

Am I a little obsessed with this zipper?  Maybe!   I do love it though!

Simplicity 2703

Where’s my zipper?





Back facing/lining



Overall I am happy with this dress.  It’s comfortable and light weight.  In the photos, the skirt looks a little stiff, and kind of stands away from me at the sides.  I think it’s because I used spray starch to stabilize the lining, and I haven’t washed that out yet.  It should drape a little better after I do.

So now that I’ve finished this, I don’t have anything on my sewing table at the moment.  I’m eyeing this new fabric though . . . .
New fabric.


Hazel Round Two

I was pretty happy with my first Hazel, so I decided to give the pattern another go. Here’s Hazel Number 2.

I almost left the pockets off this time, but I’m so glad I didn’t!
Hazel No 2

Unfortunately my fabric didn’t photograph very well.  It’s a lightweight cotton that’s embroidered with a leaf pattern.  Please forgive those wrinkles — I wore this to work today and it got pretty crumpled.  When I got home it was just too hot to iron it again – we don’t have air conditioning.  😦

This time around I made the waist a little smaller, since my first dress was a little big around the middle.  I think it fits better.  I also decided to add a lining because the fabric is pretty thin.
And of course, I had to add another embroidered label.

I like this pattern, but I think two Hazels are enough for now . . . maybe!  🙂

Sew Colette 2.0 – Hazel Dress

Meet Hazel.

I finally finished this dress last night.  I’m a little behind the Sew Colette schedule, but better late, than never, right?!

The fabric is a light/medium weight cotton twill that I found on the discount table.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but as I’ve worked on this dress, it’s really grown on me.

Hazel Back

As for the pattern, I made a few alterations to the bodice, and changed the skirt a little.  Here’s the run-down.

My muslin was a little loose, so I went down a size.  Then I moved the darts down.  (On me, Colette darts always ride too high on my bust.)  And I shaved a little bit off of the curved edge of the B pieces, to make the bust smaller.  I also added about 5/8 inch to the top of piece A, to give me a little more coverage.  When I made my muslin, I thought I’d lower the waistline, but decided against it in the end.

I’m happy with the fit across my bust, but the waist is too big.  The dress kind of sticks out away from my body right under the waist seam.  On my next version, I will have to take it in there.

For the skirt, I wasn’t digging the straight drindle style on me.  So I decided to add a little more flare at the bottom.  I did this by slashing and spreading the pattern pieces.

All I did was slash from the bottom of the skirt to the seam line – but not through it.


Stop right where the scissors are pointing.

And I made a tiny cut down from the top edge to the seam line – to make a hinge.

Then I spread the pieces and taped some paper in the gaps.  Here’s a comparison of the before and after pieces:

Hazel Skirt Before


Hazel Skirt After


When I first sewed this together, I felt like the gathered skirt looked kinda dumpy on me.  So I pulled out the gathering and did pleats instead.

I also added piping to the top of the bodice and the waist.  This was my first time putting in piping, and it was really easy.  I was able to just use my zipper foot.


The piping at the waist lines up – yay!

Finally, I added another tagless garment label – my new favorite little detail!

I didn’t line this one.  Here’s how the insides look:

Despite my issue with the way the waist fits, I like this dress.  It’s really comfortable.  And I adore the pockets!!  I will definitely be making another Hazel!


Tagless Garment Labels

Yesterday I said I’d share how I incorporated some embroidery into my latest project.  So to make good on my promise, here it is:

Embroidered Tag

Very simple, I know.  It’s just a small monogram embroidered into the back of my dress to serve as a “tagless” garment label.  I’ve been wanting to buy or make some personalized tags, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Then when I starting thinking about how I might include some embroidery into my projects, I thought why not make a tag?  First, I considered embroidering a separate piece of fabric and then sewing it in.  But then I thought why not just embroider straight onto my lining?  So that’s what I did.  Here’s how I did it.

First thing to note – I embroidered my lining before I did any sewing.  I looked at a couple of my finished dresses, and decided it would be too difficult to add the embroidery after the dress was constructed.

1. Find the design you want to embroider.  There are so many options!  You could buy iron-on transfers, like this booklet:


Or, hit the internet.  Some sites I like and/or found helpful are:

Sublime Stitching – Has really cute designs.

Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group – A nice collection of free vintage templates.

Needle’N’Thread – Another source of free templates and a good embroidery resource overall.

Free Printable Stencils – Free Alphabet templates (I found my design here).

2. Cut out lining pieces and stay stitch the neckline.  (This is important.  It will help avoid distorting the neckline when you put the fabric in the embroidery hoop – plus it’s a good idea to always stay stitch anyways!)

3.  Transfer your image to your fabric.  There are different ways to do this.  Sublime Stitching and Needle’N’Thread discuss different methods.  For this project, since the dress lining was a dark color, but also thin, I used the low tech “window method.”

4.  I printed out my design onto plain white paper, and taped it to my window.
Embroidered Tag

5. Then I taped my lining piece on top of that, and traced the design with a white marking pencil.  (This is my soap stone pencil, which is my favorite white marking tool, btw.)
Embroidered Tag

A note about placement – make sure you leave enough room for your seam allowances, and make sure you transfer your design onto the right side of the fabric.
Embroidered Tag

6. After your design is traced, carefully place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and stitch away.  The Needle’N’Thread website has a great list of Tips and Techniques, and has several videos of different embroidery stitches.  I used the easy and beginner friendly backstitch.

Embroidered Tag

7. After your done, you’re ready to sew up your garment as usual.
Embroidered Tag

8. And voila!  You now have an easy, custom, tagless garment label!
Embroidered Tag