Monday, July 22, 2013

Simplicity 2588 - Bridesmaids Dress

I finally finished my bridesmaids dress for my brother's wedding!

Fabric used:
Stretch Poly Satin from Joann's - surprisingly satin goes

This dress pattern from Project Runway allows you to choose different skirt and sleeve options.  The bride chose the flat sleeves and the flared skirt.  The flared skirt has a pleat in the front.  I think the outcome is fabulous!  This dress is really flattering for my body type. 

Because the pattern instructions aren't very straight forward, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who has limited experience sewing clothing. 

ZIPPER --- The envelope tells you to buy a 22" zipper, but not what kind.  Use an invisible zipper.  I am taking a free Craftsy class called 'Mastering Zipper Techniques'.  This really helped me to amp up my invisible zipper sewing skills.

I learned that using fusible tricot can help the zipper go in easier:

HEM DEPTH --- I thought it was strange that the pattern didn't say how much to hem the skirt.  There are 5 other bridesmaids sewing this same dress for the wedding, and they may come up with all different hem depths. 

HEM TAPE --- The bride provided hem tape as one of the notions, even though it isn't even mentioned in the instructions.  I feel like hem tape is invaluable when hemming a flared skirt.  The end result is much smoother and looks nicer from the right side of fabric.  Satin can be a nightmare to sew with.  Let's not make it any more difficult, please!

POCKETS --- I also did not think that the instructions for constructing the pockets were very intuitive, but I hate reading yeah.  But I love pockets!  I can just hear Matt Smith saying, "Pockets are cool."

FRONT PLEATS ---The front pleats were harder to construct than I expected.  I think sometimes it's difficult to wrap your head around how to fold a pleat when it's just a flat piece of nothingness.  I figured it out after a few tries.  The instructions tell you to actually sew the pleat together, fold and press it to one side, and then remove the stitching.  There are poke holes in my satin where the seam was.  Not cool!  Does anybody know how to stop this from happening?? Satin is EVIL!

Fitting Alterations:
I made a muslin of the top before I cut it out in satin.  There were some fitting issues so I made the following alterations before cutting out my dress:

-Sloped Shoulders Alteration
-Lowered Armscye
-Shaved off fullness at bust
-Took in the bust seam and side seams
-Added 3/8" Length to torso (I thought I had a short torso, but every Vogue dress pattern I make, I add length to and this Simplicity was no different.)
-I also changed the slope of the yoke because it felt like it was falling off my shoulders.

*One of my readers noticed that my left shoulder looks different than my right, evidenced by the way the fabric is pulling worse on the left side.  She recommended that I scoop out the armhole more on the left.  I was amazed at her skill and eye for detail!  I didn't get to try this out because I'd already cut out my second muslin.

Fit and Overall Outcome:
 So the back view is pretty good.  The only real problem is the zipper.  The zipper puckers a little on the bodice and gets a lot worse on the skirt.  I constructed most of the dress with a walking foot, which was a total lifesaver!  I can't use a walking foot at the zipper, 'cause i need an invisible zipper foot.  Oh well, the relative smoothness of the other seams makes up (at least in my mind) for the puckers at center back.

I think the front view looks great!  The dress fits perfectly in the bust and pretty good at the shoulders.  There is still some pulling at the armholes but this is a raglan sleeve in a woven.  There is also pulling from the torso to the waist but I don't really care.  I didn't want to take the waist seam in any more in case I gain weight.  (I'm back to my pre-knee injury weight.)  My husband loves the cut of this dress.  He says with the amount of time I spent altering this pattern, I should definitely consider whipping it up in a different fabric.  I think I will.

Anyway, thank you for enduring this very long review.  Don't be intimidated by this pattern.  It's completely doable, it just requires a little more time and attention.  If you don't choose satin you'll have a much easier time than I did.  Let me know if you have any tips for sewing with satin or mitigating puckers with invisible zips.


  1. I love this dress on you. I'm a little confused with the European sizing of this pattern so thought you could help me. I'm a size 4 petite in "off the rack" clothing, sometimes a 6 petite in blouses. Any help is appreciated.

    1. With sewing patterns, you measure your bust, waist and hip size in inches. Then you go to the back of the pattern envelope and select your size. There is no standard size that I can say you will be for every pattern, just figure it from your measurements and cut out the appropriate size.

      Here is a good article that explains more on the subject:

  2. With sewing patterns, you measure your bust, waist and hip size in inches. Then you go to the back of the pattern envelope and select your size. There is no standard size that I can say you will be for every pattern, just figure it from your measurements and cut out the appropriate size.

    Here is a good article that explains more on the subject:

  3. This dress looks really cute on you! Now that you have mastered it you should make as a day dress in casual fabric.

    1. I think I will! I wore the dress for the wedding and have no idea when I will wear it again. It would be nice to fix it up in a pretty cotton.

  4. This is a beautiful dress. You should be happy with it. A lovely colour also.

  5. Any time I am concerned about puckering on any seam, zipper or other, I hold the seam tightly on either side of where the needle is working and pull in opposite directions. I'm not sure that is stated well but I just stretch the seam as it is being sown a bit. It seems to make the two sides feed at a more even pace under the needle.

  6. I have found the pattern sizing to be inaccurate when following the back of the envelope. According to the envelope I would wear the size 12. I am a size 0/2 in dresses. I made the pattern size 6 and I had to take it in at the waist.

    After sewing for a few of my friends who were out of the state and could not try it on. I came to the conclusion that you must go two sizes up from the size you actually wear. So if you wear a size 6 in retail, you would make a size 10.

    Hope that makes sense and helps!

    1. A girl named Katie: Actually, there is no standard sizing for ready to wear clothing. Because of this, it would not be wise to simply go up two dress sizes when making clothing from a pattern. Some patterns do not follow the '6-8-10-12-14' model, and instead use letters 'A-B-C-D' or 'S-M-L-XL'. It's important to ALWAYS read the back of the pattern envelope. You will first need to measure the circumference around your bust, waist and hips. Then, take a look at the pattern envelope for the measurements of each size. For example, when I made a swimsuit with Kwik Sew 3153, I cut out an XS at the shoulders, a M at the waist and a S at the hips. This means that even though my body is not a standard 4 or 6 at the store, I can make the pattern fit my thicker waist and small shoulders. I knew that a size XS waist of 24" would not give enough room for my 29" waist and so I used the M waist of 29-30". Please see this article for more information on choosing a pattern size:

  7. I could tell that was a fabric from Joann just looking at the picture! I have the hardest time making their satin fabrics look nice. I was making bridesmaid dresses for my cousin's wedding and she bought fabric from Joanns, it was such a puckered mess even after french seaming, shortening stitches, loosening tension, and trying a zig zag stitch. I tried ever trick in the book and it still looked terrible. We eventually just cut our losses and bought dresses online and used the Joann-Horror-Fabric as bows for the aisles!

    I would love to see this dress made with a woven cotton!
    You did a great job!

  8. Can you explain in detail how you made all of those changes to your pattern bodice? I am also very petite - size 0/2 and CANNOT find a single solitary pattern that fits. I've made muslin after muslin. The closest I came was to making a dress that ended up too small. Every time I reduce the bodice the pattern is so misshapen that I can't smooth the curves out anymore. I need especially it seems to reduce the distance from the bust to the shoulder but have enough to sew the shoulder seam. Every adjustment line I've seen is under the bustline. Can you walk through the steps you took as you listed them above? It would be greatly appreciated. I can't find a decent petite tutorial on bodices anywhere, and I've scoured the internet for hours.

    1. Decide which pattern to use based on your measurements. If the smallest bust size is 32 1/2 and you are a 31 1/2, use the 32 1/2 size. Are you small busted or do you have a small frame? I am small busted so I have to do a small bust adjustment. There are a lot of different methods here: and here: I also found that apex of my bust needs to be closer to center front. See how I did the SBA here: I moved the side bust dart up. I narrowed the waist dart and moved the apex up about 1/2" because my apex is higher than the pattern. You can see the vertical fold I made to take out some fabric between the apex of the bust and the center front. You will have to find the adjustments that work for you. Try making a muslin and then blogging about your photo. You can join a discussion on and link you photo so that people can give you advice on how to fit your muslin. Good luck! Feel free to email me with more questions.


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