Pattern Review – Simplicity 2270

Do you have those projects that you pick up and think to yourself, this is gonna be soooo easy.  That’s exactly what I thought when I picked up this dress pattern: it’s gonna be soooo easy!

Patterns were on sale and I thought Simplicity 2270 would be a quick summer dress pattern for some hot Texas weather.

I decided to make the dress in view B, size 4, without the ruffle on the neckline so I found a blue dot pattern and a crisp white.  I thought I’d make a contrasting collar with the white fabric rather than keep the dress all one pattern/color.

I unfolded the tissues and was rewarded with something every pattern sewer likes to see – the pattern doesn’t even fill a whole tissue!  This is gonna be a breeze.  I bet my dog could even sew this dress!

I quickly laid out my fabric and got to cutting.

Loads of fabric leftover.  Granted I purchased this fabric for another project so I shouldn’t be too surprised that I have excess.

I then dove head long into pocket making.  I think I read the directions on this section about three times.  And they still didn’t make a ton of sense.  But a fold here and a clip there and I had some adorable pockets!  Excellent, let’s move on to the collar and sleeves.

I gotta get this out right now: I think the sleeve treatment on this dress is funky.  Why did you make me do all that work on the pocket and then I’m just going to sew some seam tape over the sleeves?  It shouldn’t be too hard to make a real seam here – I’m sure that you could alter the pattern a bit by cutting a bit broader on the sleeve hole to make this happen.

I didn’t mind it too much as I had already decided to put on a white collar and white seam tape coordinated nicely.  However, if you are using a pattern for the dress and collar and you don’t make your own seam tape, it might be a bit odd/mismatched.

The other thing about the seam tape is that it’s really hard to get the tape to lie flat.  I clipped many curves and used loads of pins to make this happen.  But it did happen.

Excellent it’s really starting to look like a dress!  I turned it right side out to admire my progress and realized I had a bit of a problem.  Um, are the pockets supposed to be on the inside of the dress???

Well damn.

All my will power to work on this project is gone.

I’m going to set it aside…

you know for like three months and not think about it.

At all.

Stupid pocket.

When they said to fold the right side of the pocket, I didn’t realized the meant the right side of the pocket on the front of the dress….there are two right sides of the fabric when you’re working on it…..when you think about it.

Time passed.

I made like a bajillon other sewing projects.  Now I’m about to leave for vacation so I’m trying to work down my P.H.D. (Projects Half Done) and I realized that working on this dress would be waaaaay better than working on packing for my trip.

So I ripped out the side seams and the pocket seams, folded down the right side of the dress front rather than the right side of the pocket and I re-sewed the side seams.  Joy.

A pocket that’s on the outside of the dress…..rather than secret pockets which I’m sure Caroline would find a way to populate with dinner foods that she didn’t want to eat.  Ahhh, it’s all down hill now.  Until I worked on the collar.

Now I can judge a 1/4″ seam, but I have trouble folding up exactly 5/8″ all the way around a curved collar.  So I take to cheating.I stitched a line 5/8″ around the edge of the collar and then just folded along the line.

There: A perfect 5/8″ fold all the way around 🙂

It really was a breeze after the collar was attached.  Even with my screw ups, this project really only took me a few hours.  I could see making another dress, but perhaps I will alter that shoulder seam….

Pattern Description: 
Little’s girl’s sundress with option for jacket and bag

Pattern Sizing & Selection
3, 4, 5, and 6.  I made size 4.  After fitting this on Caroline, I think it’s just a bit snug….or the girl is growing.

Finished Product As Advertised?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pocket instructions needed some help….or I needed some help.  Either way, pocket fail on the first attempt.  Everything else was very straightforward.

Pattern Adjustments:
Consider making your own seam tape for the sleeves or modify the pattern to sew a proper arm hole.

Fabric Used:
Lightweight cotton

Recommended!  How can I not recommend it with less than one tissue of pattern pieces to cut out?!  Just don’t screw up the pocket and you’ll have this knocked out in an hour or two.

Here’s a peek at the final product:


Little Girl T-Shirt Ruffle Tank Dress

I’ve cleaned out my closet and I’ve got stacks to send to Goodwill.  But there is one t-shirt that I don’t want, but can’t bring myself to put in the stack.  First off, it’s giant on me and second, I don’t like the design and third, it was a gift … so what am I gonna do?  That’s right, it’s going to find new life as fabric for my next project.  Guilt free recycling!  So I dug back into the bag to find coordinating colors and I set out to make a dress for Caroline.  I think it turned out pretty cool!

Before I started, I hit blog land for inspiration.  I found loads of great tutorials on ruffle skirts for little girls.  Check out SparklinBecks or Epicurian Style for references.  I also found a great write up at Analogme for a skirt for me!  Love the style ladies, thanks for the tips!  Armed with a bit of knowledge, my sewing machine and a glass of wine (or two), I set to work.  I gathered up my old t-shirts and a new tank I picked up at Target.

You can see the dark blue and green shirts are the ones that are my normal size and the bottom t-shirt was the gift shirt.  I mean really – how am I gonna fit in that?!  Just a touch big for me, but a perfect skirt for a little girl.  I smoothed out my shirt and cut out the base skirt using the biggest t-shirt.  Since my model is Caroline, I shamelessly stole the required measurements from Heather’s posting on the tank dress she made for Caroline.  But since I wasn’t putting a hem in at the bottom AND since I only have one side seam on the skirt base I didn’t need an extra inches for seam allowance so I ended up with a skirt base that was cut to 20″ x 15″  I sewed up the one side seam and my skirt base was done!

I chose to keep the t-shirt hem at the bottom of the skirt base because I didn’t want the hem to roll up.  Next, on to the ruffle cuts.  I decided on ruffles that were 3″ so I cut 3.5″ strips from the shirt – I cut as many as I could get out of the material and then I pieced them together to make two long strips.

The length of the strips is up to you – how much ruffle do you want?  And dictated by the amount of material you have.  The strips for this section of the skirt are about 50″ long.  The green t-shirt I chose had a design sewn into the front so I wasn’t able to use that section of fabric.  Placing the strips with the least amount of fabric at the top will give you the illusion of more ruffle because the top of the skirt is gathered.

After you’ve assembled your strips, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length.  I own a Pfaff so that length is 6 on my machine.  Sew the entire length of the strip 1/4″ from the edge.

Then take your strip and pull on the bobbin thread to create a ruffle effect.  Continue pulling the bobbin thread until you’ve reached the circumference of your base skirt – in my case the skirt was 38″ around.  Distribute your ruffle across the length of the strip.

Mark your base skirt where you want to place the ruffle using chalk or a disappearing ink pen.

I spaced my ruffles about 2 1/2″ apart on the base skirt.  You want to have overlap.  I then placed a ruffle on the line, pinning right sides together.

Alright, I know, I know this was the wine making this sewing decision.  (Friends don’t let friends drink and sew).  As you can see I’m about to sew the ruffle down and then flip it over to the right which is the bottom of the skirt.  It’s far faster just to sew the ruffle on right side up and right side out as the next ruffle will totally cover the un-finished seam at the top.  I honestly didn’t think of this until I was on my last ruffle.  Doh!  Either way will work, with this method, I just ended up with slightly shorter ruffles.

Now, remember to change your stitch length back to your normal length and sew that ruffle down!

Continue on with all the other ruffles until you have completed the skirt base.

At first when I was sewing the strips on, I was really trying to make sure any ruffle strip seams were in the “back” of the skirt, but then I just gave up because the green had to be pieced together so much.  There are enough ruffles that I don’t really notice the strip seaming too much.

OK, it’s time to get serious.  The base is done, my wine is gone and it’s time to cut that tank top.

I guess I can’t return it now.

Can you believe I found such a perfectly matching tank top at Target?!  Me either.  I was just looking for something in plain white and saw this little beaded beauty for only $7!  I cut the tank according to Heather’s directions at 3.5″ down from the arm hole.  It’s time for this tank to get married to the skirt!  Pin the right sides together and get ready to sew.

Press the seam down to the skirt.  Yes, I tried it too and it didn’t work for me either.  There’s just too much fabric there!  But I didn’t want it hanging up as a dark band underneath the white tank top so I decided to sew it into submission.  First I pinned the top ruffle to the tank so I wouldn’t catch it when I sewed down the seam.

I then went to town and just sewed that seam down.  It doesn’t have to look pretty, the top ruffle will cover all your crooked sewing sins.

Turn the dress right side out and voilà!

Layered Ruffled Tank Dress

Cute summer tank dress made from recycled t-shirts and a new tank top from Target.  Total cost: $7 and one new raging obsession with ruffles.  Seriously, everyone I know be warned: You are now going to get something with ruffles on it.  I may never give another t-shirt to Goodwill again!


Linking up here:


Pattern Review Simplicity 2430

This adorable blue dress accented with rick rack just jumped off the page when I was flipping through the pattern book.  It looks like there were several stylish options so I picked up the pattern.

I wanted to match the dress displayed in view B exactly so I even picked up the lightweight denim shown.  With yards of rick rack in tow, I began to cut and sew.  The lightweight denim, while really cute in this application, frays like crazy.  You can see from the bodice below, I’ve barely laid out the rick rack and it’s already fraying.  All the rick rack work would have been made much easier with the addition of Wonder Tape – why didn’t I discover this stuff sooner?!

The bodice, by far, was the most complex part of this pattern to figure out.  I don’t believe you need the front and back facing for this dress – it’s got plenty of structure with just the bodice front and back x2.  As you can see this led me to some small sewing calamities because I was paying attention to the other side of the piece.  Don’t worry, it was all hidden when I sewed on the second front and back bodice pieces.

As you can see, when I continued to work with the piece – more fraying!

After figuring out the bodice, the skirt was a snap!  Just more rick rack and a few panels.  There is a lining with tulle and admittedly, I just made the lining with no tulle.  The dress has enough volume without the tulle and the lining could probably be omitted as well.

I finished off with a center back zipper (rather than the lapped one recommended) button holes for the straps and a clip on flower from JoAnn’s – pretty darn close to the picture AND Caroline approves.

Pattern Description:
Little’s girl’s sundress bodice and trim variations

Pattern Sizing & Selection
AA 1/2, 1, 2, and 3.  I made size 3.

Finished Product As Advertised?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty basic instructions, not too difficult to follow.  For the life of me I still can’t figure out why the top of the bodice needed to be reinforced with a front and back facing.  I think it could have gone together with just the bodice front and back with lining.

As this pattern calls for not only a zipper, but two button holes as well, I have to rate this a solid medium on the difficulty scale – I don’t think a beginner could tackle it without a bit of help.

Pattern Adjustments:
The extra layers of fabric in the bodice along with the fraying made it difficult to put the zipper in so I switched to a center back zipper rather than a lapped zipper construction.   I also omitted the tulle and probably could have omitted the lining as well.

Fabric Used:
Lightweight denim