Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Reversible Piece - Simplicity 4014

Each year Julie adds a different creative element to the SWAP challenge. This year's element is that one piece has to be can be any one of the garments in the SWAP but you must be able to wear either side with the other pieces in your collection. As I said in a previous post, I really don't like reversible garments - just don't understand them! And because of this dislike, I almost did not participate in this year's SWAP.

So imagine my surprise when the reversible garment I made turns out to be pretty fantastic...well fantastic to me! *smile* In my original plan (which has changed quite a bit since it was originally created) the reversible piece was a wrap skirt that was going to be a black/white/red silk tweed on one side and a red silk broadcloth with a lace hem on the other.

However, as I started to sew the collection, I realized that I don't wear skirts in the middle of winter. It is just too darn cold and I am not really a boot wearer. Since this wardrobe is specifically designed for my new work environment, two pantsuits were a more practical choice than a suit with a skirt.

Now the challenge became what to make that would not only work with the other pieces I had already constructed but be something that I would actually wear. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until almost all of the collection was completed to figure this out. But boy am I glad that I waited.

I finally settled on a reversible dress - inspiration for this was described in a post a few days ago. My first idea was to use a TNT tank dress pattern and alter the hemline to have quite a bit of flare in it. Simplicity 4014 was laying in the pile of patterns that I had pulled for spring/summer sewing and it started "talking loudly" specifically because it contains a princess seam dress with the flare at the hem that I desired. The second requirement for this reversible piece was that it bring some color to the collection since the majority of pieces are black and white...color & print were definitely needed to ensure that the collection stayed true to my personality.

There were two polyester prints in my collection - that's what I went looking for Friday morning and what inspired the ode to my fabric closet - that I had purchased from H&M Fabrics on 35th Street in NYC. I am sorry to say that the store is now defunct...lost to the reconfiguration of office space that is now happening in the garment district. I loved H&M Fabrics because they had trendy, inexpensive pieces and the tag on these two pieces stated that I only paid a $1 a yard for them!

Now I read the pattern instructions throughly before cutting out the garment but frankly I found the wording and illustrations a little confusing ~ especially the sewing sequence. And since I was going to change some of the construction details anyway, I ditched the instructions and went my own way.

First a few of the changed construction details and then pics of the finished dress. Here is what I changed:

1. All seams are sewn 3/8" instead of the 5/8" the pattern recommends.

2. I omitted the back zipper in the dress choosing instead to lower the neckline so that I could pull the dress over my head.

3. I lowered the front & back neckline 5/8" and omitted the facings that were included in the pattern. Why did you need facings when the dress has a lining anyway?

4. I used a large full dart in the center front panel of the dress - I have a full high bust and find I need to use the biggest dart on a pattern not necessarily the one recommended for my dress size.

5. I cut the pattern pieces so that the shoulders were slim like tank top shoulders, that the dress would fit closely through the bustline and then fit loosely through the waist and hips. The first dress was constructed and then all changes were made to the second dress which was actually cut 1/4" larger all around than the first one.

6. The two dresses were basted together at the neckline and armholes. Then serged together. The satin binding was added last.

7. Both dresses are hemmed individually. I didn't want to lose the flow of the hem of the dresses by stitching the hems together.

Here is the both versions of the dress:

The first in the shades of purple print and the second one in shades of black & grey worn with the black wool crepe jacket.
I am finishing up the Dana Silhouettes top now...just in time to make the deadline!
And next week, I will post the "Seven Days of SWAP." These posts will be all about how these 11 pieces can take me through any work situation that may come stay tuned!


  1. Carolyn, great dress! Just one question - why did you make the second one 1/4" larger?

  2. Great dress! All your pieces look so good, and so good on you!

  3. Sewing the best garment at the eleventh hour, eh? Dang, you're good - talk about working magic under pressure! The dress(es) look(s) amazing!! I can't wait to see you modelling the whole collection - I know you will work it!!

  4. Vicki - I cut it 1/4" larger on the second dress to make it easier to is not a lot of space but it is enough to easily pull everything over and help it lay a little flatter.

  5. Oh wow that turned out so cool!

  6. Procastinating paid off! Lovely dress(es). Great idea for the style!!!

  7. I love it! Great job!

  8. Thanks Carolyn for showing your reversible dress it looks lovely on you and the fabric looks fab too.

  9. Carolyn,

    Your SWAP pieces are terrific.

    I'm traveling to NYC tomorrow and will plan on seeing your friend Kashi at Metro. I love that eyelet piece you got and am hoping to find something similar.

    Jeanette in California

  10. Great dress and it looks fabulous on you! See, procrastination DOES pay.

  11. You did a fantastic job with this dress!

  12. Beautiful dress! I love the print, both of them!

  13. Love, love, love, love, LOVE it!!!!

  14. OMG, wonder if Gaylen has seen your dress yet. I think that's the same purple fabric she has. How gorgeous and how clever of you. It looks GREAT.

  15. Carolyn - great dresses! Procrastination does pay off. I can also see that I need to quit dividing my attention between dogs, kids, husband and the television! Although I don't personally watch alot - I live with someone who thinks I need to spend time on the couch with him!!! Can't wait to see the Seven Days of SWAP. g

  16. You are phenomenally skilled... thanks for the step by step... I read it twice... and totally in awe... Love the dress or should I say

  17. Amazing! Very hip, but feminine and perfect for work!

  18. Carolyn-absolutely fabulous.

  19. The fabric is wonderful!! Great choice there!!

  20. What a fantastic dress! Or dresses? It's two in one! Those prints are fabulous!

  21. I've never seen that Simplicity pattern before. How old is it? I like both dresses. The pattern of the fabric is very bold!


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