Here I am with another Simple Sew hack. I just can’t seem to leave well enough alone! Again, I am making some small changes with big impact, this time to the Simple Sew Utility dress, in order to make it feel ‘me.’
I have been wanting to add something to my loungewear repertoire for a while. Something with the comfort of nightwear, but slightly more put together for lazy days at home.
The first obvious change is my fabric choice. I have committed the cardinal sin of sewing a woven pattern in a jersey. Such risk taking behaviour! I have been admiring this ‘Boulevard’ soft indigo blue micromodal jersey fabric from Cloth Spot for a while, so jumped at the chance to use it.
I was not disappointed when it arrived. It has a very luxurious feel, being a fine knit jersey but with a lot of substance and weight behind it. It has amazing drape and good stretch and recovery.
So when is a Simple Sew Utility Dress not a Utility dress?!
Changes to the pattern
I decided early on that I would need to omit the pockets (I know; sin number 2!) In a fabric this stretchy they will not hold their structure and undoubtedly have an unattractive droop to them! This change is reflected in the front skirt of the pattern by squaring off the edge where the pockets sit. If you decide to do this, double check that your side seam with the back skirt lines up properly.
My next change is to lengthen the bodice pieces to allow for an elastic channel the full circumference of the waist, thus omitting the front pleats. This will allow the skirt to gather evenly. I added 3” to my pieces as I needed 1” extra for my long waist, and an extra 2” for the channel.
I also decided to remove the centre front seam and cut the front bodice on the fold (remember to remove the 1.5cm seam allowance ).
As I wanted a long dress I lengthened the skirt pieces simply by continuing the pattern straight down from the existing piece.
Finally, I raised and rounded the neckline to give it a more casual, sporty feel.
Sewing method changes
In order to stabilise this fluid fabric, I sewed some clear elastic into the shoulder seam on the wrong side of the back bodice before joining the front piece at the overlocker. This has resulted in the shoulders sitting really nicely, with no stretching or wavy seams.
When joining the shoulder seams together with an overlocker, I continued the thread chain across the neckline and overlocked the other shoulder in one step. If you make this chain shorter than the width of the neckline, it will help prevent any unintended stretching of the neckline while sewing the rest of the garment.
After joining the constructed bodice and skirt right sides together, I basted and sewed a channel 2” deep. This was then flipped towards the bodice and topstitched , leaving approximately 2” to thread some elastic through. I then sewed the elastic to form a loop and closed the channel.
The neckline is finished with a knit binding, I held a small amount of tension to the binding piece while sewing in order to prevent the neckline from stretching out. You could also make a neckband which is the same length as the neckline and subtracting 10%. Remember to add a seam allowance!
I think the resulting garment is close to what I had hoped to achieve. I have a luxurious and extremely comfortable feeling dress that will see me through days at home when I’m aching a lot. As I’m not a fan of how I feel in sportswear and leggings, this is perfect. Additionally, I have a long cashmere robe that I often wear as a cardigan that will pair nicely on cooler days.
I can’t say enough good things about this jersey. I am pleased that I have a couple of scraps that I am going to try and squeeze an Axis tank from or possibly some of the softest knickers are in order!
Marie always has a hack up her sleeve and this loungewear version of the Simple Sew Utility dress is super stylish – even if it’s just for around the house. Why not take a leaf out of her book and make the utility dress in a jersey? Clothspot have plenty of other colours to choose from and we’ve picked out our favourites below. Scroll down to check out the Utility Dress fabric requirements and sizing on the back of the envelope.
‘Bisou’ hot pink micromodal jersey fabric
Café-au-lait’ soft taupe micromodal jersey fabric
‘Vignoble’ rich claret micromodal jersey fabric
‘Tuscany’ soft terracotta micromodal jersey fabric
All £17.95 per metre.