I took a break from painting Lily’s room today to make my Dottie Angel Smock. I’ve been a big fan of Tif and her Dottie Angel blog for years. I was sad to see her stop blogging this year. I used to love reading her blog posts. I found her style and manner of writing to be quite inspiring and cheery. I even bought a pair of colorful clogs after reading her blog! We are about the same age too, and I knew she was someone I would love to be friends with if we happened to be neighbors, or if our paths ever crossed. These photos are inspired by her style….. The frock isn’t my normal more body conscious style, my daughter thinks it looks like a two year old would wear it, but she’s my toughest critic. But it does make me feel happy! I opted to make a shorter version, since I doubted I would ever wear it at as a dress, as it feels very much like a vintage housedress. Not that I have anything against vintage housedresses, I find them charming. But I know I would never run around in town in one. They do look perfect on the slim and tall Tif.This was the perfect outfit for my high heeled Hasbeen clogs. Now these are some Clogs with a little sizzle! The bag I made years ago from an Amy Butler pattern. All the fabrics are from my stash. The floral voile was found at an estate sale and reminds me very much of Liberty of London in print and woven quality. Perhaps it is? The chambray was bought in downtown LA, as well as the crochet trim … A huge cone of it for six dollars. At least a hundred yards worth!I was at Joann looking through the patterns last month when I saw the pattern. “Hey, that reminds me of Dottie Angel’s style!, I thought to myself. Well, turns out it was a pattern from Dottie Angel! Simplicity 1080. But it was sold out. So of course I found it at my local Wal- Mart! I’m happy with my end result, but what should have been an extremely simple tunic to make, was made unnecessarily complicated in the construction directions. I feel the directions for putting it together would totally confuse a beginner seamstress. There were many issues I’ll go over below. What was supposed to be a simple “palate cleansing” sewing project, turned into a day filled with sewing annoyances for me. You should know that I didn’t follow any of the sewing directions because I found quite a few head scratching moments as I read through them. I always read through the directions, then decide what changes I’ll make. And then to make matters worse, I lost page two of them before I even started sewing, so I had to do it my own way whether I wanted to or not! I knew something was off about the pattern when I saw the hem on view B. It went straight across instead of gently curving upwards as an A line skirt should. Although there is a bottom piece, the curve should mirror the hem which will naturally become curved when the original shirt block pattern is slashed and spread to create a flare. If I added the skirt to this piece that was cute straight across, it would be more narrow at the sides than at the center. This throws your eye off. I drafted a new skirt piece after I fixed the hem on view C. …. After examining the front and back pieces, I realized they they are identical. Even the neckline. Which is not usually done. And which leads me to believe the pattern wasn’t drafted from a design block at all . The back neck should be higher and the back width a little wider. Since both front and back neckline are scooped out, the dress will slip towards the back or front when I wear it. There’s no support there. All the patterns are separately printed, yet when I layed them on top of one another, I could see there was an even grade, so printing all those pieces separately makes no sense. They should just be nested like most of Simplicity’s other patterns. You would think Simplicity would know better. Don’t they have a professional pattern maker go through all the celebrity blogger patterns to make sure they are well drafted? I love Dottie Angel and her aesthetic, and I assumed that since her pattern was coming out under the Simplicity label, it would be more professionally made. She doesn’t claim to be a professional pattern maker, after all. It should be up to Simplicity to make sure the pattern is well designed and the instructions make sense. The pocket construction didn’t make any sense to me. Why would you face the top of the pocket and then still have raw edges on the top edge to deal with? Then a piece of bias binding is stuck onto the pocket and stitched down with the pocket. It’s recommend to first hand bast the binding in place, then stitch it down to the dress front. That’s a lot of unnecessary busy work there for a method that ends up looks home done. The excess bias strip is simple folded under the pocket. This is not the usual or recommended method of sewing on bias bindings. Right sides should be sewn together then it’s flipped over. I hate to be such a complainer , but come on people ! I paid eight bucks at Wal Mart for this pattern! The tie sewing method. What the? I prefer sewing my ties right sides together and using a pin to pull them right sides out, then pressing them, instead of folding them over twice as explained here and top-stitching. I like to hide my stitch-lines as much as I can. I went ahead and sewed them the way the pattern explains to but feel it could look better. The armhole openings on the dolman cap sleeves were too low. I had to raise them at least two inches or else risk having exposed side boobage. There is also something about French seams and finishing the insides with bias binding at the armholes which are folded under and then finishing the inside seam of the shoulder with bias seams. Huh? I stopped reading the instructions at around that point. It’s much easier to just sew the side seams up to the armhole notch, press the seams open, press the armhole seam allowance under, and stitch it down. That’s the usual method for a simple dolman sleeve. As much as I love French seams I don’t think they appropriate for this application. Yadda yadda yadda….. I still think this is fun design. But be prepared to sew it your own way if you make it!
You made it to the end of the post! Please stop by often for a variety of sewing projects, clothes making tips , and stylish handmade living. Feel free to email me at justine @ sewcountrychick.com if you have questions.