Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sewing in Series: Simplicity 2263

Why reinvent the wheel if something works?

I know that 'indie' and 'designer' patterns are all the rage in the blogosphere, but the 'Big 4' (but now really 6?) put out some solid patterns without much fanfare (e.g. blog tours.) Take Simplicity 2263, which looks rather pedestrian.

Prosaic pattern envelope.  The ASG symbol is a clue.
All patterns are 'designed' by someone.  Bold face names do not have a monopoly on good design.  I've had more misses than hits with indie patterns and their instructions.

However, I pick up some signals that others may overlook.  Have you heard of American Sewing Guild (ASG)?  ASG probably doesn't have a booth at 'Maker' faires, but ASG members know quality sewing.  (Disclaimer, I used to belong, but am not currently a member.)

Patterns with the ASG seal of approval tend to be very well drafted and extensively tested.  When I see a new pattern with the ASG seal, I pay attention.  This blouse with a back that extends over the shoulder to the front is a winner.  I've sewn it three times.

Three versions of Simplicity 2263
I made the first version in 2013 with a 1/2 yard remnant of rayon challis that I purchased at Britex at PR Weekend SF 2012.  1/2 yard is obviously not sufficient, so I improvised a yoke with a scrap of ponte.

Not faithful to the pattern, with a yoke and knit neckband.
When I saw this gray and red rayon challis at Elfriede's in Boulder, I snapped up a yard to sew another one for an upcoming MIT alumni event. (Is it the female version of a school tie?)

I used the serger for version 1.  Version 2 and 3 got the full french seam and bias binding clean finish.

I love a neat inside.  
I recently made a third version, with a rayon crepe I bought at SAS Fabrics in Hawthorne (near LA.)  Rayon crepe is rarely found in fabric stores.  When I found this small piece in a pretty print, for only $3, I brought it home without any immediate plans for it.  After I made version 2, I knew this remnant wanted to be version 3.

Version 3 with bonus view of kitchen.
Shoulder pleats instead of gathering.
You want to see them out in the wild?

Version 1 at the Getty Center in Brentwood.
Version 2 at the Petersen Museum in LA.
Version 3 outside my office.
A great, easy-to-make and easy-to-wear basic.  What's not to like?


  1. I also like Big 4 patterns. But it is hard to find photos online from people who have sewn them up, to use as inspiration. The indie patterns have this weird cult following but they cost more and PDF patterns are a huge pain.

    Big 4 kids patterns are especially difficult to find photos of. Pattern Review has a few, I guess.

    Just a rant that nobody but you will appreciate. :)

    1. I use a Google Image search for the pattern #. It often leads to PR, but there are lots more photos than just the ones on PR.

      This pattern is so cheap. Simplicity is always 40% off at big box stores and on their website. JA's sometimes hold $1.99 or $0.99 sales during holiday weekends. I will buy two copies rather than trace 2 sizes (for myself and DD.)

      I visited Brooklyn last month. Some people really, really self-identify as alt and indie.

      I just want to make useful things I enjoy in my limited spare time.

  2. Yeah, I've tried Google Image search but there just aren't that many photos out there for most of the patterns I want to make. I am usually lucky to get 2-3. (Indie patterns have tens, for comparison -- all brightly lit and semiprofessional too!)


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