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Gemma’s Simplicity 9010

One thing I’d like to think that I’m good at is being able to visualise how fabric will look as a certain garment. I can just look at fabric and know instantly what it should become, and what it would look great as, and it’s very rare that I can’t think of anything to make with it (although it does happen occasionally, trust me!) But that is usually when I am picking fabric myself, and receiving a box that contains fabric I know nothing about has certainly challenged this skill!

I didn’t have to worry when I received my ‘Glitz and Glam’ box, the gold velvet satin took my breath away with how gorgeous it was, and I instantly knew it needed to be a beautiful party frock of some description! However, I warn you now – this is not a simple tale of perfect fabric matched to perfect pattern, and to say I’ve struggled with this make would be an understatement. This will be an honest account of how I feel, as sometimes things don’t quite come together the way you think (or hope) they will, and perhaps this has happened to many of us with certain makes.

Let me start off by saying that the fabric is beautiful. It feels like liquid gold, and is perfect for the end of season soirees you may be attending at this time of year. I knew I wanted a pattern that would be fairly simple in terms of construction – no darts, buttonholes etc that would alter the way the fabric flowed, and something that would really let it shine.

I had seen recently that Mimi G had made a dress that fit perfectly to what I had in mind, and as you may know, I really love pretty much everything that woman makes! As a curvier lady, she shows me how things fit on a more ‘normal’ body (I say that term loosely here, as I know that topic can be a particularly heavy minefield!) and her patterns in particular really showcase that. This dress isn’t one of hers however, but Simplicity 9010, a simple (and easy-to-sew) long sleeve dress elasticated at the waist, and with a stunning V shaped back feature.

Mimi G made hers in a plain black fabric (which you can check out over on her website) and despite being simple, it looks really elegant, and I didn’t hesitate in deciding that this is what I needed to make! This is slightly unusual for me, as I do tend to overthink my makes as to whether they will look good on me, fit a curvier figure and a shorter one too, which may be a confidence issue, or just because I don’t want to spend time on a make that doesn’t fit or make me look fabulous! This time I was certain straightaway that this dress would be amazing, maybe I should have thought a little more….

It really is a simple make. Just front and back for the top, and two pieces for the skirt. No fastenings, just an elasticated waist which you insert into a channel you make when attaching the top to the skirt. However here is where my love started to waver. I’m not sure if my machine just didn’t like the fabric but sewing the seams proved tricky – I changed stitch length and tension several times, as well as my needle, however some of them looked puckered. I even pressed them quite a lot (even without a cloth, that’s how much I wanted them pressed!) but to no avail.

I also decided not to bias bind the hems on the V neck and turn them under instead, as finding a gold binding to match was tricky, but I’m not sure if this worked in my favour because of the stitching issue.

Despite this, the dress came together beautifully and looked just as amazing as I had hoped!

Until… I tried it on. Perhaps I should have made more effort with fitting during the making process, or sized down, but putting it on all my usual fitting fears came true – I have never been so upset! The top just seemed way too big, the V back neckline gaped so much it was at the waist and making the front constantly fall down, and the arms way too long. It just didn’t fit right, and certainly didn’t make me feel as sexy as the Mimi G version!

So I put it on my mannequin to decide what to do, as I really wanted to love this dress – the fabric and pattern are just so nice that I really wanted to do them justice, and the perfectionist in me was disappointed that it wasn’t an instant success. However my mannequin made it worse as the dress looked really good on her!! Or perhaps she helped, because after talking it over with Hayley and Laura (who both thought the dress looked fantastic) this gave me the confidence to make me take a step back and think how can I please myself enough to love my dress.

And so I tried it on again, and with the help of my Mr and lots of pins, worked out that by taking a lot of the V shape off the back (sad to lose that but hey) and pulling it in quite a bit, it really helped the front fit so much better! I took a little off the length at the bottom too, and with a good fit of the elasticated waist, I looked in the mirror…… and felt so much happier! It finally gave me the elegant wow factor I was hoping for, and although I still haven’t managed to sort out those annoying puckered seams, I’m chalking that down to experience.

So, should I have done some things differently? I would say yes, and I hope that by being honest about how it wasn’t as smooth sailing a make as I assumed it would be shows that no matter how good we may be we are always learning! Being a perfectionist while having body confidence issues to deal with might not always go hand in hand, but luckily the sewing community are a great bunch to help you work things out, and after all, isn’t that why we sew – to learn how to make things that make us feel amazing?!