Simplicity 1324: Split Decision


Some projects don’t quite work out. They have all the right ingredients, but the end result is … lacking. Kind of like the deep-fried Twinkies you can buy in the freezer aisle.

Let’s start with the fabric. This a semi-stretch woven with a suede-like texture. In mint green. I can’t remember why I bought it, but I’m pretty sure it was dirt cheap. It’s been on the shelf for a long time, waiting for inspiration. Or desperation. One of the two.

The pattern is Simplicity 1324. While I have a few quibbles with the skirt, and I haven’t yet tried any of the other pieces, I have to say — based solely on the technical drawings — this is a fantastic “wardrobe” pattern.


The pants have a waistband and a fitted straight leg, the knit tee is classic, and the jacket and skirt feel modern and wearable with simple but attractive seaming. For a new sewer building a pattern collection, there’s a lot of mileage to get out of this pattern.

Okay, onto the skirt, and straight to the point: the split looks great in the cover photography, but is too revealing in the real world.


While the length is okay for work (ideally, I’d add an inch or two, but really, it’s work-acceptable as drafted), the style is not.

Also, I cut a size 10, per usual, and this skirt is tight on me. Take your measurements, compare the fit across the back, and consider sizing up. I was too lazy to do so, and paid the price. As a result, the skirt is sitting higher on my waistline than the design intended, so now it’s both short and tight. Fantastic.

Crazy facial expressions that have to be edited out of the photo? Never!

Crazy facial expressions that have to be edited out of the photo? Never!

I’m on the fence over whether winter tights make this office-approved.

I made this as an optimistic muslin, so I may try it again in different fabric now that my expectations are adjusted. I have several looks pinned on Pinterest (@sarainstitches — follow me so I can find you — I’m always looking for sewing peeps to follow) that have similar design lines. Some print mixing might be fun, or just some cool trim, or even piping. Lots to play with here, provided I can get the fit nailed down.

As for this minty meltdown, I don’t think I’ll wear it much. Mint is a hard color to play with, especially since I’m not a fan of pastels to match it with. It was still a fun, mostly easy project, and sewing time is rarely wasted in my mind. Regardless of whether the project turned out, I got to be in my meditative sewing zone, listen to Beyonce, and practice my skills. That’s a win, people.


On an entirely unrelated note, I’ve suddenly decided that I’m kinda over heels. I seriously don’t know what happened. I woke up one day feeling like I didn’t want to compromise my foot health for fashion. I think over half of my shoes are heels, so it’s going to be a long time before they’re out of the rotation, and who knows? I may have a change of heart well before that time. (Let’s face it — I probably *will* have a change of heart. I mean… shoes, right?!) In the meantime, expect to see me focusing on sewing garments that look good with flats.

So, a somewhat skeptical welcome to you, my Minty Split Skirt. Let’s see if you can make it work!

Edit: Yeah, I wore this to work today and it’s not okay. Standing? Sure. Walking? Sort of. Sitting? Big fat nope. I’m just trying to get through the day without having anyone notice my lack of propriety. When the control top on your tights is visible when seated, it’s Officially Not Appropriate. Welcome to the weekend rotation, friend!

Bring on the Dancing Horses: Butterick 5211


There’s a stampede on my dress. RUN!!!

Dude, this dress makes me so happy. Really, it’s a triumph of modern marketing. I’ve never actually purchased fabric from Mood Fabrics, despite being on their email list for years. But for some reason, when I got the email headlined, “Do You Love Horses?” (I am neutral on horses, for the record), I clicked through and fell in love with this print.


The power of fabric compelled me.

Seriously, whatever algorithm contributed to that email campaign, it’s basically my internet shopping overlord. I am powerless against it, and I accept that.

So, I had to find the right pattern to do justice to these prancing ponies. The fabric has the look of a soft stripe from a distance, and I wanted to preserve that part of it.

I picked Butterick 5211 with a previous Beaute J’Adore post in the back of my head, where she’d modified a shift dress to have a dropped bell sleeve. Turns out Nikki has made this exact pattern as well, so I took that as a good omen — I love her taste in dresses!


I cut a straight 10, nervous about sizing down even though the pattern is loose and shapeless. It was a good move, since there’s just the right amount of ease for me in the hips. If you make this dress, measure the bust and hips carefully if you’re considering sizing down.

As far as construction, this dress is a breeze. There are no darts, no zippers, and pretty much no details of any kind to trip you up. It’s marketed as a “1-hour” pattern. (You know where this is going, right?) So naturally, it took me all of a 3-day weekend to finish this project.

This is my "I *will* cut you" face.

This is my “I *will* cut you” face.

Since my beloved equine poly crepe de chine is mostly sheer, I wanted to add a lining. What really took a toll on my time was waffling between a lining and underlining. I ended up going with a weird hybrid of both, noodling through that process slowly.

I interfaced the lining fabric at the neckline, as you would a facing (which is what the pattern calls for), but attached it as a lining. Because I serged all my other seams, I was able to press out any wonkiness at the juncture of the back neck and shoulders. It’s a clean finish, and I like that I was able to avoid top-stitching by doing it this way. That said, I can’t say I would recommend my methods to, well… anybody.

If you want to make this even easier, cut the back on the fold and nix that seam.

If you want to make this even easier, cut the back on the fold and nix that seam.

The puff sleeves are made with a simple elastic casing. If you wanted to make this a smidge more elegant, you could gather the bottom edge of the sleeve to a band of fabric. The way I plan on wearing it, the casing is pushed up under the puff and isn’t visible, so no worries.

Puff sleeves make me smile!

Puff sleeves make me smile!

I had big expectations for this dress. Like, huge. I love the fabric, and I thought I chose the perfect pattern. When it was complete, I was a bit let down. It didn’t look like the effortless chic dress I was going for! It looked (let’s be real) like a muu-muu. Not cool. (For the record, Pretty Tall Style absolutely nails effortless chic with this pattern. Seriously, go check it out.)

So, be ready to finesse the crap out of this dress. Push those sleeves up, or lengthen them a la Beaute J’Adore. In the end, this dress is all about the fabric and accessories and adding your personality to a design that is a blank slate. It’s about sashaying around in what is, essentially, a sack dress, and working the hell out of it.

Did I mention... POCKETS!?

Did I mention… POCKETS!?

Did I possibly sew myself up a metaphor for life? With these pinky ponies on my side, let’s just say that anything is possible.

Welcome to the wardrobe, my Philosophical Foal Frock.


McCall’s 6706: Loudest Skirt in the Room


Okay, I admit: I am totally SWFing Margo from Creating in the Gap with this skirt. (Also, is SWF still a valid pop culture reference?)

I’ve had this fabric forever, but what do you actually do with taffeta? When I saw Margo’s gorgeous checked skirt, I knew I had to copy it!

This was a fun make. I used McCall’s 6706, which I made previously in ivory shantung. (I never wear that skirt, BTW. It just doesn’t really work in my wardrobe. I might shorten it and add horsehair braid for a full, flirty hem. Thoughts?)


This time, I cut the waistband down by half. While I love the look when I see it on Pinterest, in real life, a wide, thick waistband just cuts me in weird ways and makes it harder to find the right top to coordinate with. I’m much happier with the narrower waistband!


Not many comments on the sewing process: this skirt is pretty easy. It’s tedious, since there are a million pleats to baste (and by a million, I clearly mean 16), but that’s it. I mean, there are only two pattern pieces, and they’re both rectangles!

And, always, I ended up wanting the skirt to be longer than drafted, so I serged the edge to finish it and turned up the tiniest of half inches. I know a bigger hem makes things hang better, but I just can’t bring myself to lose that length.

Practicing my LBJ forward lean...

Practicing my LBJ forward lean…

I’m not sure how often I’ll wear this. The taffeta, while adding amazing volume, is a grade too fancy for work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll wear it to work and swan around like a princess anyway, but it’s not going to be a go-to.

That said, and I know I’ve talked about this already, I have too many clothes already. My current rule for sewing new clothes? Make whatever you want. Make fabulous things. Make ridiculous things. Make things that sound really, really loud every time you get up to go to the water cooler. Just keep making things, and enjoying the process.


If you make a fabulous skirt that inspires you to curtsy in the process, even better.