Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Simplex aka The Bad Girl Trying to be Good Dress

Hey Dolls,

Hope everyone is well and happy as we hit the halfway mark for the year eek!  Where have the months gone?

I can't believe I'm only 5 days away from 33 and potentially a third of the way through my time on this dirty old disc.  I'm not worried about this birthday though because apparently it's the age where it can all happen as it certainly did for my hero Mr Cocker.  After years of trying he exploded on to our pop landscape with Common People.  This fact along with making of the new dress, which  I will talk about v shortly and my finish time for the 10K has taken the sting out of the tale of not getting a job I did want and was waiting to hear on.  I'd be lying if I said when I got the rejection letter I wasn't sad just because it would have made life a little simpler but hey ho.  I gave myself a morning of the blues accompanied by Miles Davies and then I thought hell woman if you're gonna get a no make sure you're wearing a vintage one of a kind frock when you say whatevs ;)  So get to work in my own way I did!

Nearly 4 years older than the last time I ran a 10K race but 10 mins faster. Did it in 57 mins boom!

So now I've filled you in on the state of play in the House of Demeanour onto the important stuff i.e. my new fave frock of all time evs :) I'll take you back to about to about a year or so ago when I was gifted a large wad of various fabrics.  I've slowly been working my way through them and in amongst it was about 3 and a bit metres of v gorgeous floral vintage cotton that I guesstimate is somewhat older than me.  When I clapped eyes on it I decided it was destined for great things and didn't want to waste it on any old creation so it sat in the cupboard until 2 weeks ago. Then I had one of my eureka moments whilst listening to Dolly Parton.  Another item that had been wasting away behind my fancy dress box was Simplicity 2444 that Zoe had gifted me for my birthday last year. In my mind's eye the two items created magic.

Good girls wear a nice frock to see Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall. Bad girls drink cans of cider in said frock on the train up there ;-)

On a side tale before getting into the main story but still of note is the fact that during my short spell away from the blogosphere I took a course with Mandy Bengeyfield at Fit2Sew.  I literally cannot recommend it enough.  It's basically the basics course of Fit for Real People.  Mandy went over to do the teacher training in America and now teaches just outside Croydon.  There are only two teachers in the UK, which is herself and Celia Banks in Manchester.  On the beginners course you fit a fitting shell to you and learn all of the major changes you would make to a pattern before having to do any fine tuning.  My days it was a revelation for me as a woman with ample frontage.  I learnt that I should go for a 36" bust on a pattern because the back and across my chest fits beautifully and then do an FBA to make room for the girls.  

The shape of Miss D in pattern form

Also due to years of typing and leaning over my shoulder tilts forward so adding 1cm to the back piece and and taking it from the front of pattern at the shoulder is a standard change for me now.  I learnt to tissue fit and the full ins and out of a successful FBA including how to do it on a princess seam.  In those 4 hours it finally dawned on me why I'd had such a missers time with princess seamed items, which according to popular opinion make the most of a curvy front.  It was because I'd only been adding the extra width to either the side or the middle as opposed to both, which retains the style line cue face palm moment.  Anywho the proof is in the the pudding and my days I feel like the biggest tastiest raspberry pavlova in the world in my new fab fitting frock :)  Pardon my uncouthness but if you are plagued by shit fit then  I cannot recommend this course enough.  Plus Mandy is friends with the Thrifty Stitcher who consulted on the Great British Sewing Bee and was terrific company and we had much delight in discussing the merits of all the outfits plus the handsome hound that is Patrick Grant.

This is my doctored Simplicity 2444 bodice.  Any beginners reading this take heart a big old mess on paper looks fabulous on the form, which I think is as true of life in general as it is of sewing.  Never be afraid to F around is the biggest recommendation I can give to anyone starting out.

On measuring the material I worked out that there wasn't going to be enough for the full skirt pattern that comes with 2444 but I still wanted a va va voom kinda skirt.  I wasn't to be thwarted and out of the corner of my eye I spied the Elisalex pattern and the Simplex was born!  As I started making changes to both the bodice and the skirt I realised there was going to be a lot of tooting and fruiting but that was gonna make for a fabulous number so more than worth it :)  Once I'd decided that I then thought hell let's line this baby and do your first ever lapped zipper and if you're gonna do that then put the blinking collar on it too.  I must give thanks to both Vicki Kate Makes and Scruffy Badger for their invaluable tutorials on lapped zippers and sewing lining to said zipper.

So without further ado here's what can be created when something in life that makes you feel sad also fire you up to look bad!  

The Simplex built to rock the show

A good bad girl dress kisses the curves like the pattern gods intended ;-)

When you've been out all night it's good to know you can look respectable rocking a hat with it

A good girl wears an apron to do her cooking. A bad girl trying to be good does it in a new frock with big hair!

Finally this dress has the F factor, which is that it both makes me feel foxy and fierce.  Whipping up a storm in its wake like all bad girls should.

So there we have the bad girl trying to be good dress and I just need to say a massive thank you to the ever ace Aymi D for taking epic pics and working her creative magic on little old me.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite bad girls of all time Mae West.

"There are no good girls gone wrong - just bad girls found out"

Don't let the man get you down,

Miss D



  1. Seriously, what a gorgeous dress, you're a knockout.

  2. Scruffybadgertime13 June 2013 at 06:47

    Awesome 10k time, well done!!!!! It's so good to knock so many pegs off your pb!
    And this dress is beeeaaauuuutiful. I'm just trialling s2444 bodice and Am so glad to see you've made the stand up collar- it's darling. And v clever with Elisalex skirt! I'm also messing around with skirts, bodices, mixing them up due to lack of yardage!!

  3. Awwwwww dude you look fantabulostic in that dress! What beautiful fabric too, and I bet that fabric has been waiting patiently all those years to be transformed into something beautiful. Such history! Great job and really interesting stuff about the fitting process. Mwah xxx

  4. A Stitching Odyssey13 June 2013 at 22:05

    Love your Simplex, you look totally fierce my dear! And that fabric is to die for! Also, massive congrats on the running...I'm tempted to try out the couch to 5k programme. I've been saying it for ages but haven't taken the plunge yet though!

  5. You are gorgeous and so is your dress! Simplex - genius idea and a perfect match. I may even have to try it myself.

  6. Here from We Sew Retro and loving the dress! Also see you're a reader- I'm about 60% of the way through my to my reading goal for the year. :)

  7. This is too fab! I looooooooove it! So sorry about the job-- really hoping that something else comes up soon that's even better. But I'm glad to hear your 10K went so well! Awesome job, girl!

  8. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:28

    Ah thanks hot stuff :) I reckon another more fab door must be waiting through me to walk through. Good luck for your run too. You'll ace it xxx

  9. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:29

    Ah where would we be without books. As long as I've got some knitting or a book in my bag I'm good :) Thanks about the dress I'm super pleased with it xxx

  10. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:29

    Ah that's a such lovely thing to say mway :-* You should deffo try it. You would rock it my dear xxx

  11. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:31

    All power to you with the running. I've been a convert for years and everyone I know that takes it up whether they're 5 or 50 feels fab. Cheers on the dress too. I've discovered that although that everyone has a floral they can wear and with me it's big bright ones :) xxx

  12. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:32

    I blinking love wearing history so much more interesting than off the peg :) As I was making it I was wondering all the hands it might have passed through over the years before it found itself on my sewing table :) xxx

  13. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:33

    Thanks so much sweetheart! I'm a happy sewing and running bunny indeed. Can't wait to see what your mighty mitts whip up xxx

  14. rehanonmackenzie16 June 2013 at 17:33

    Thanks lady! xxx

  15. I love your dress - it is fantastic! The fabric... the curve hugging... the pretty pictures... the pretty lady! Speaking of pictures- my fave is the one of you in the kitchen. I love to look at ALL of the details of pics- love that you have a great dress on in the kitchen, great hair, and most of all I love that you have a serger and a bottle of beer (or cider?) hanging out nearby! ~Laurie

  16. Thanks for the review on Fit2Sew - I went yesterday on the Fit for Starters class and it was fantastic. I learn loads and am now about to get started on making my first item of clothing with a much clearer idea of how to amend patterns to fit.

  17. rehanonmackenzie28 July 2013 at 15:32

    oh fantastic! I'm so pleased :) you really will be a knock out with all the tweaks you'll have learned on the course. I'm definitely going back for the next level. She's such a doll Mandy. Can't wait to see what you make xxx

  18. rehanonmackenzie28 July 2013 at 15:33

    Red hot is what I say! :) It's pretty much my fave colour and good for all the seasons what's not to love woot! xxx

  19. rehanonmackenzie28 July 2013 at 15:34

    haha this has really made me laugh. I'm such an old lush I'm just a well dressed one thanks to sewing and your eyes are correct it's a bottle of cider. Thanks so much for all the compliments you're too kind xxx