simplicity 2594 top A + scrap panels = another drop waist dress

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva18This dress wasn’t supposed to happen, I promise. I only meant to make top A from Simplicity 2594…. but we’ll talk about that later. First, do you see what is behind me!?

s04Welcome to my daytime lair – the art room in CIAMO!

s13I’ve recently turned the art room into a mini museum so I just have to show off some student work.

s09I hope you don’t mind – they’ve worked so hard! And I’ve done so much yelling too.

s06Did you know that it is impossible to find black construction paper in Benin? This is stuff donated from Americans/Europeans who visit the center, but once it’s gone it’s gone. I can’t restock.

s08Which is why I’ve used white and tan to mount most of the work.

s03At the end of the day I’m always wiped. But when displayed nicely, it’s all worth it!

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva03Hey! Who is this? Why it’s Sim, the music teacher here at CIAMO.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva02I’m the visual arts teacher.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva04Together we take on all the kindergartners to fifth graders of Ecole Ganvé and try to give them the best arts education possible. I hope you agree that some silliness is necessary in any primary school teacher.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva01Ok, back to this top turned dress.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva22I only had 2m of this print fabric, plus some leftover red solid contrast from my Lisette mango dress. The goal was to use it all up, but with so little fabric I was limited by what I could make as most of my patterns are dresses that call for at least 3m of fabric. Then I saw this top A from Simplicity 2594 and thought perfect! I can use contrast for the yoke and print for the rest. (The pattern is from a care package form home)

Back CameraI made the top, but as usual the fabric was very stiff… thus not draping very well for the neckline. See photo. I let it have a good soak for 2 days in a bucket of water to soften it up. That, then wearing it and sweating profusely did the trick to get the fabric to relax and drape correctly. (What’s that blurry blob behind my head? I hang my undies inside to dry but I’m embarrassed to put them on the internet so I’ve blurred them out! I mean putting them on the internet would kind of defeat the entire purpose of hiding them inside my house so that nobody can see them.)

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva05See! Look at that neckline laying flat instead of poofing out. However I still had a lot of fabric leftover. Too much to justify chopping them into squares for a quilt, but too little to make anything wearable other than a mini skirt. Which I don’t wear, even in America. So… I had no choice but to make lots of panels (I love panels!) and attach them to my blouse. Ta da! So there’s the story of why I ended up making a dress: to use up scrap fabric.

Back CameraBy the way, here is in progress proof that it was supposed to be a top. Bonus points if you can spot Bosco’s tail. Oh, and the undies have been taken down so this photo is blur free.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva06What’s not blur free are these photos.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva07Autofocus is never your best friend.


simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva09So best to manually focus your lens and redo it.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva14Tada! Perfectly in focus. Now let’s talk about that waist tie.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva15Here is the dress without… you can see why I’ve kept it.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva16Originally I thought about sewing it to where the skirt is joined to the blouse to serve as a transition between the two, but it really sits at an unflattering location for me. This is intentional.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva17This is the ideal height where I would have attached the skirt panels and where I would’ve attached a red band. However then I could not wear this dress here without tights because it would be too short. So do I make something long and unflattering but realistically culturally wearable OR make something very flattering but not culturally appropriate?

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva20I decided to go with realistically culturally wearable since I am living here and 90% of the time I do not feel like wearing tights since it’s so hot. And if this dress survives Benin and I take it back to America, I can easily shorten it. So that’s why I’ve left the tie as a tie around the waist rather than a band around the skirt edge. This is why I love sewing: I can adapt my clothing to my needs depending on where I am. And then once I change places or if my needs change, I can easily change my clothing again to suit me! And repeat and repeat, there’s never an “end” to clothing as long as I know how to sew.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva10Now let’s talk pockets. Because of how low the skirt it, the pockets are very low as well.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva11I have to hunch over and hike up my skirt to be able to use them, But better than no pockets I say!

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva12The best part is that I didn’t have enough red fabric to make the pockets, so they are print pockets.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva13But then I turn around and the other side is a solid pocket! I have the best of both worlds for my pockets! It’s my own secret surprise.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva19The difference between slouching and standing up straight. My parents never forced me to practice good posture when I was younger so I slouch a lot if I’m not thinking about my back. Photos are really the only time I notice and make an effort to stand/sit up straight.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva24This dress didn’t take long for me to make. Why?

Back CameraThis is why. It’s called “HOW do I walk through that?” and “rainy season.”

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva25It rains every other day now… when it rains, it rains. Complete with thunder and lighting. They cut the power and everybody hides in their house. I don’t know what other people do but I just put on my headlamp and sew as I wait for the storm and rain to pass since I have nothing else to do indoors except read. Because I’m holed up in my house I sew sew sew, and before I know it, a project is done.

simplicity2594blousedropskirtdaviva26Don’t think I forgot about Bosco. He says woof! and my neighbor says hi!

Pattern: Simplicity 2594 Top A
Fabric: Da Viva & Woodin Red Contrast

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