Hello my dears. After bemoaning my lack of sewing progress in my last post, I’m delighted to have a finished garment to share with you!

I’ve seen several gorgeous interpretations of Simplicity 2444, for example this one and this one. However, it was this gingham version that really got me excited and I knew I had to make my own version IMMEDIATELY.

I made no alterations to the pattern, apart from adding 1.5″ to the skirt length, and I made a straight size 18 (I am so fat these days, I’m ashamed). I went for the short sleeved version and omitted details like the waist tie and cape collar. Also, I left out the pockets. I carry all my weight at the hips, so I don’t need extra fabric there to emphasize them.

I found the pattern easy to understand, although I constructed the dress in a different order than the pattern suggested. I’d never done pleats before, so I learned a new technique along the way. I used an invisible zip, rather than the centred zip in the pattern instructions. Also, I did a 5/8″ hem at the bottom of the skirt rather than a 1.25″ hem.

I used 1/4″ black and white gingham from Fabricland. I made no attempt to match up the gingham. I knew I would drive myself mad with my perfectionism so, for the sake of my sanity, I thought it best to take a more cavalier approach. I cut the skirt on the cross fold, and the rest of the pieces as normal. I haven’t sewn with gingham before and although I enjoyed using it, it is unforgiving. I found the squares make wonky seams look more obvious.

It’s not perfect by any means, but I am pleased with the result. The pleats are surprisingly flattering for a pear-shaped body like mine, they add fullness without emphasizing the hips.

I did have some problems – the main one being serging the armhole seams in the round. I found an online tutorial which suggested cutting a notch into the seam and beginning to serge at the end of the notch. The stitches at the end of the round are supposed to cover the beginning stitches. However, my armhole seam finishing still looks really ugly. Does anyone have any tips on how to achieve a neater finish?

So, would I make this dress again? Yes –  many, many times. I hope it’s going to become my go-to dress pattern. I’m planning another version (and trying to resist the urge to make one in every gingham colourway).

Cost =

  • Pattern = £8.15
  • Fabric = 4m x £2.35 = £9.40 (I didn’t use all of it)
  • Zip = £2.96
  • Thread and interfacing from stash

Total = £20.51.