Check out this ugly, shapeless dress I got for free at the Sassy Swappers Meetup. I snapped it up because I can’t refuse a cute polka dot. Plus, I knew there was enough fabric to make Simplicity’s 8425 choker cut-out top. I bought this pattern last year when the cut-out choker trend was all the rage, which is unusual for me as I prefer to make trend-resistant clothes.
Simplicity 8425 features a stylish choker collar dress, tunic and top. The pattern includes cutting lines for petite sizing that’s perfect for my short frame. Tops can be made with long or short sleeves or with a high-low hemline option. I chose view B because I didn’t have enough fabric for the dress or long sleeves.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Regarding fit, the short sleeves fall comfortably on my arm, and the waist is well placed. The cut-out shows just enough skin without giving too much away. The picture on the envelope is slightly misleading. The torso looks loose and baggy, especially on the dress (or maybe the model is super skinny). In contrast, my finished top has a slender silhouette. I’m usually a size 12 but cut out size 10 per the pattern measurements, which is odd as some reviewers on Pattern Review noted this pattern runs small.
The pattern has side slits I initially deemed frivolous and left out. Big mistake! You need the side slits to slip this top over your hips. The first time I popped the top on, I could barely get the bottom hem past my belly button.
The choker intimidated me, and I had to read the instructions a couple of times to get it right. You put together the collar like a tube where the bottom center seam is finished (this is the top of the v-neck cut-out), and the rest of the collar is left raw to be attached to the bodice. Then you finish the bodice + collar with a facing. I highly recommend grading the collar seam allowance where it meets the bodice as there are six layers of fabric and interfacing. Luckily, I nailed the collar on the first try. If you decide to make this top, take a look at Crafty Pinup’s video. She does a fantastic job explaining the collar.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Hindsight is 20/20. I should have been more careful aligning the polka dot pattern on the collar, which is uneven and vexing the perfectionist in me.
I was just as sloppy with the pattern matching on the back.
I blame my carelessness on my eagerness to see the finished garment. When I rush a project, I overlook details like this and sacrifice the quality of my work. Going forward, I need to slow down and carefully consider every step if I want my clothes to look more polished.
The New Gadget
I installed the center back zipper with my favorite new gadget, the invisible zipper foot. I hate sewing invisible zippers with my old, generic zipper foot because I can’t sew close to the teeth. As a result, you can see the zipper tape peeking through the seams. It’s a terrible look that screams homemade. My new invisible zipper foot has a groove that guides the coiled zipper teeth close to the needle and prevents any slipping or shifting while sewing. With this foot, I can flawlessly sew an invisible zipper in less than 5 minutes without cussing or crying. PEOPLE, THIS ZIPPER IS LIFE CHANGING. IT WILL FOREVER BANISH YOUR INVISIBLE ZIPPER ANXIETY. I can’t remember the vendor I bought the foot from, but it’s very similar to this one (yes, this is an affiliate link, but you will not regret this purchase).
I’m seriously thinking about making the long sleeve version in black wool crepe for winter. Fashion trends come and go, but this top is timeless enough to remake in a luxurious fabric.
If you’re looking to score new-to-you clothes for a refashioning project, you should visit a local clothes swap. It’s a fun venue to refresh your wardrobe in the company of sassy, stylish ladies. We have a delightful time admiring each other’s goodies while we chat about random things. I’ve brought my old refashions to these swaps and get a big kick when I see them snatched up. Head on over to Meetup to find a swap near you.
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