Believe it or not, I don’t actually try to make everything I sew read retro. It just happens. I think I just have to accept that this is my aesthetic. I’m subconsciously drawn to fabrics and patterns that end up reading very 1960s. So here I am in a mad for plaid dress made using Mimi G’s Simplicity 8221 pattern. I approached this project much differently than what I ordinarily do. Normally, I pick out a pattern and then try to find the perfect fabric to go with it. If I don’t have anything suitable in my stash, I just buy more fabric. But, since I’m going to Minneapolis in two and a half weeks (yes!!!) I figured I need to get serious about making a dent in my own fabric stash. So this time I shopped my stash for fabric first and then tried to find the right pattern to go with it. To learn more about my process and to see some detail photos, read on.
As I mentioned, this is a Mimi G pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years. Coincidentally, I bought this cotton flannel from Michael Levine fabrics when I went to Mimi’s sewing conference in L.A. two years ago. The fabric was $8/yard and this project used up the 3 yards I bought so total project cost was under $30. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this fabric, even though I love a loud plaid. Then I remembered that Mimi recently made a plaid dress herself using this pattern! So I decided to give it a go.
I didn’t make a muslin beforehand. I’ve kind of given up on doing that and I pretty much just guesstimate my size and forge ahead these days. I’ve found the finished garment measurements on the tissue paper to be pretty accurate. I did have to blend sizes for this pattern, though. I started with a 12 at the bust, 14 at the waist, and 16 at the hips. I also cut my sleeves in a 14 because I hate it when my sleeves feel too tight. I think I cut the belt at a 16, too, because I like a longer belt.
If you haven’t sewn with flannel before, it is a very easy, wonderful fabric to work with. Remember to pre-wash your fabric for shrinkage and I recommend using a size 12 sewing needle.
All of Mimi’s sewing patterns also include free video step-by-step guides on youtube. I watched her video on my laptop and followed along as I made this dress. However, for the life of me I could not get my front placket to sit nicely. It was a nightmare. I had to completely deviate from the instructions and just do my own thing, with a lot of trial and error, stitching and unpicking, until I was able to get the front to lay down nicely from where the dress opens all the way to the bottom of the center front seam.
It was a Make It Work moment. So if you’re struggling with that step, don’t give up. Just try to intuit how to make it come together and hopefully you’ll get lucky like I did.
Mimi’s pattern instructs you to make buttonholes and add buttons. I didn’t want to do that so I opted for heavy duty brass snaps instead, which I love.
Ultimately, I love how cozy and festive this fall dress turned out. Have you sewn this dress before? If yes, add your link in the comments so that I can check it out. I’ll leave you with some up-close detail shots.