I love bold geometric prints (this is probably not a surprise to anyone who has been to this blog before), and ever since zig-zags started showing up in earnest in RTW clothes I’ve been on the hunt for some zig-zag fabric. I’ve scoured the internets to no avail – nothing out there but quilting cottons and home dec fabric. Oh, and Missoni knits. You know, those variegated rainbow chevron patterns that make whatever they’re made into cost a million dollars and have spawned countless rip-offs. (Okay, I hadn’t heard of Missoni before the Target debacle either. I am not trendy.) Anyway, I couldn’t really get excited about all the earth-tone Missoni knock off fabric that I was seeing around, but when I encountered a yellow-gray-black colorway at JoAnn, I
gave in to the trend couldn’t resist. (Sidebar here: I generally do not buy fabric at JoAnn. It is pretty much all terrible staticy ravelly cheap-feeling junk, and also the JoAnns near me hardly carry any garment fabric anyway. But I figured I was safe with this poly knit. And indeed it behaved itself, though I can imagine it would be terribly clingy in a shorter, less gathered style.)
So out from the vault came Simplicity 2219, a pattern I scooped up last summer when it came out and that I (surprise!) never got around to making. But to be fair, I hadn’t found a fabric that screamed its name the way this zig-zag did. I opted to make the front neck bands in plain black ITY to mitigate the craziness of the print, and I really like the way it turned out:
I made this dress immediately after completing my Simplicity 1804, and I realised looking at the line drawings that I was going to have the same problem with inappropriate fabric pooling in back, since as far as I could tell they had exactly the same back skirt pattern piece. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as bad in the maxi length with the weight of the fabric to pull it down, but I wasn’t taking any chances. So I pulled out my Vogue 8571, which has an empire line and a fitted-through-the-waist flared skirt, and which I knew from making a (very, as it’s turned out) wearable muslin in the spring (never blogged, sorry!), fit me fantastically in the bottom region. I laid it over the Simplicity back skirt piece, matching waistlines, and cut the Vogue skirt shape from the hip up. And what do you know, it worked! I’ll be hanging on to that Vogue skirt back for all future Simplicity “we didn’t know what to do in back so we used center gathers” patterns.
Other than the skirt back, I made no adjustments. This is a very nice pattern that goes together surprisingly easily considering the number of oddly shaped pieces in the bodice. Many other folks have mentioned that the sides of the bodice are rather low, and I suppose they might be on someone with regular armpits, but since we’ve already established that my arms attach lower than they should I had no problems, and I actually really like having the extra space so my deodorant doesn’t get all over the dress. The neckline is fairly plungy, I suppose, but having no cleavage to speak of makes that not a big deal either, and I think the amount of skin up top helps balance the full coverage skirt.
The pattern may run a bit large, but cutting my usual 10-top-12-bottom worked out fine. Yes, I took in the sides a smidge, and I could have done more, but with a knit this stretchy I could have kept taking it in until I had a sock instead of a dress, so I let it be. I did add the elastic to the empire seam as advised in the pattern to help hold up the weight of the skirt, and I think it helps? I just zigzagged clear elastic to the seam allowance. I also did as they suggested and stitched-in-the-ditch between the contrast neck pieces and the side bodice, since all the understitching in the world wasn’t going to keep the lining from rolling to the outside along the neckline. It also makes the bodice feel sturdier and less slippery.
My pattern review is here.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with my first knit maxi dress. I wore it all day in San Francisco (with a jacket for most of the day, of course) and found that it did actually transition successfully from day to evening with just a shoe change, something that Michael Kors assures me is vital for a good design. However, my voracious appetite for zig-zags has still not been sated, so if you see any non-Missoni style zig-zag knits out there anywhere do let me know!