I’m so eager to share this project that I can’t wait any longer to try and get decent pictures. I really wanted to use this stunning Anna Maria Horner voile for an upcoming mom’s night out, but simply couldn’t decide on the right pattern. At first, I envisioned a simple sheath dress to showcase the pattern. Then I realized that the large scale would benefit from some pleats or gathers to break up the design a little. I’m not sure why I suddenly realized that the Lisette Continental Dress (Simplicity 2059) was the right thing, but it was serendipitous. I was drawn to the Continental dress when it debuted last spring, but I was skeptical that it would suit my figure and it sat for a while. With only a week until girls’ night, I finally (after a really quick muslin, I admit) decided to take the plunge. I threw this thing together with a shaky mixture of excitement and fear until the moment I debuted it for my friends last Saturday at Beau Monde. Isn’t it funny how some projects can actually put butterflies in your stomach?
This pattern was likely conceived as a casual dress, but with dramatic fabric, chandelier earrings and heels, I think it dressed up perfectly well for a night on the town. With a simple cardi and flats, it was just fine for Mass the next morning. I can imagine wearing this to school meetings as well. A super long cardigan would be nice, wouldn’t it?
No FBA was required for this, because there really is a *LOT* of ease built into this dress. That worked well for me, but if you’re less full busted you might think about how loose you like it to be. I took the shoulders and the lower armscyes in a little. I needed the fullness of my usual Simplicity size, but the arms gaped more than I liked. I didn’t want my enormous bra to show. I added a smidge of length as well as a deep hem that I finished by hand. I think the voile hangs a little better with an invisible hem but for a casual dress, I would simply machine the narrow hem the pattern suggests. I adjusted the front gathers while wearing the dress and pinned them into place. This way, I could make sure they were in just the right place for me.
Even in a dark color, this voile is a little sheer, so I added a lining in Bemberg rayon. I simply made a second dress, stitched them together at the armscyes and neck, then finished them together with the bias trim. Easy peasy. I made French seams down the sides of both lining and fashion fabric so they could hang independently. For fun, and because I had a few minutes to spare before meeting the girls, I added hand-stitched thread belt loops to hold the ribbon in place.
I spent hours placing the pattern pieces because I realized that unfortunate placement of those large light blue flowers could easily ruin the whole dress. I didn’t want a huge bull’s eye over one boob or my fat belly! I made the self fabric sash, but decided on this lovely charcoal gray grosgrain ribbon instead. The contrast drew more attention to my high waist and was a tad more slimming.
Conclusion: A versatile pattern suitable for all kinds of fabrics. I think it dressed up nicely and it will definitely make an easy casual dress. I’m thinking about cotton sateen or linen so I don’t have to fuss with a lining. Without all the additions I made for this dressy version, this pattern could be made up in an afternoon. In fact, this would be the perfect place to start if you’ve never sewn for yourself before. There’s only simple fitting and almost instant gratification!
This style was a little outside my comfort zone. I normally look for fitted things and I’m scared of anything that might make me look wider than I am. But after three children, I have a completely different body than I did 7 years ago and I’m still learning how to dress it. The moral of this story – if you know the designer is good, trust her vision and take a chance on something different!
(also, don’t let your husband take pictures.)