FINISHED! Sigma Denim Dress

When I returned from Sydney on Sunday, the Sigma Dress pattern was waiting for me in the post box! I didn't buy this dress originally when I purchased the Rigel bomber and the Saiph tunic, but after seeing some cool versions popping up around the blogs, I decided that I could probably do with this dress in my wardrobe.  Just have a look at verypurpleperson (with good info on fitting), jolies bobines, offsquare and my-zee-moo!
I've also had this denim dress on my pinterest page for a while as well and started to see it made with the Sigma pattern and used it as a loose inspiration.  Oh and I also just bought some new ankle boots on sale and thought a little denim Sigma would go well with them! Of course.

I had heaps of denim I bought last winter from Spotlight in my stash, the same as I used for the Miette skirt and knew that it would give me the look I was after with the turned up sleeves.  The problem with this denim - and why I will never buy denim from Spotlight again, is that the colour is not set. (of course this can happen to the best denim but still...) This fabric was washed twice before using it and since finishing it I have washed it twice more with those 'sheet things' that you put in the wash (hopeless) and then once after soaking in white vinegar.  It seems better now, but probably needs another dose of vinegar. My hands still have a tinge of blue.  Sadly my Miette rarely gets worn because of the problem with the denim.
I made variation 1 without the gathers in an XS (despite clearly falling into an XXS at the bust and hips) as I was very worried that the size would be too small around the waist.  This was unnecessary worry as my waist is slightly smaller than the finished measurements and this denim has stretch in it, but I hate the idea of not being able to do something up.  And when I asked Ben to pin the bodice on me to make sure it fit he said that it was really tight! Mm, clearly fitting isn't his area of expertise. Next time I really need to grade from an XXS.  At least I think this is the answer? The front is fine - with the darts lining up nicely - it's just there is a lot of excess fabric around the top of the back and shoulders. You can see in this photo the excess fabric.
I find the sizing of Papercut Patterns really big and given I've sewn one, two, three Papercut Patterns now which are always too big, I should be onto the sizing by now.  But I'm not.  Next time.

There has also been mention of how short the dress is. I am 5'2" or maybe just a bit shorter and I made it as per the pattern. I like this length on me, it isn't exactly work appropriate.. but I wasn't making it for work. And with stockings on in the winter it will be fine.

The dress in total took only 2 days, plus a night for tracing. It comes together well, using a flat construction method. It is overlocked on the inside with pink thread just as I did with the Miette.
The only slow point was at the pockets which took me a while to figure out. These aren't the neatest but I know what needs to happen now, so next time I'll nail it. The inside of the pockets does show, so be careful of your fabric choice here. My whole dress is made out of denim including the facings and the pockets.
I found the facings in the pattern a little small, but ended up running a top stitch around it at the neck.  I would normally just under stitch the neck facing but felt a top stitch would be ok with the denim and something a bit like my inspiration piece.  Despite becoming almost obsessive about my ironing and grading I failed to staystitch the neckline.  I think it's ok, but gosh I was so annoyed. The step isn't in the pattern instructions, but still I should have done it.
I was also being really careful with my invisible zip but clearly not careful enough as I completely forgot to check to see if it was lined up at the back.  Urrgh. I could have unpicked it but given it was in so nicely and opening and closing like a dream (despite that somewhat major problem of not being lined up) I wasn't going to unpick a 55cm zip only to find that there were little threads all over the place to get stuck into the zipper, because that has happened before! Most Sigmas I've seen around are worn with a belt, so when I find a belt to match my boots I'll probably wear it with a belt to hide that atrocity..
So, in the end I really like this dress in denim, despite the fact that it is a bit big. I can almost see me making another lighter denim one! If I make it again, here are the changes I'll make.

1. Grading the pattern from XXS at the bust to XS at the waist
2. Shorten bodice by 1/2 inch ?
3. Stay stitch the neck
4. Insert zipper higher to reduce the gap at the back and match the seams at the back
5. Nail the pockets.

42 comments:

  1. I love the colour of that denim. I bet you'll wear this heaps.

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  2. This is just lovely on you, very chic!

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  3. Who doesn't need a great denim dress!? Love it and the boots.

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  4. Well thanks! Now I need a denim dress! LOL!

    This looks great, even with the little boo-boos (which are not at all noticeable). I love this look on you, and it's such a great blank canvas for accessorizing. Perfect all-season dress!

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  5. It's beautiful! Well done. I always struggle to line up the that waist seam with a zip too *sigh*. Looking good! And thanks so much for the shout out xoxo

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  6. a denim dress should be a very useful item in your wardrobe! i made one a while back and love how casual and everyday it is. can't wait to get back to wearing it once temps warm up!

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  7. This looks beautiful Kirsty! Now I might have to make another Sigma in a plain colour as I am super jealous of yours. Interesting that you are thinking about shortening the bodice, as I was looking at mine the other day and thinking that I really need to lengthen my bodice to sit on my natural waist but I was worried about the impact on the skirt (& hip placement). I'm undecided.

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  8. Super cool dress, Kirsty! I really like those contrasting turned-up denim cuffs.

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  9. Shell from SewEnSowJanuary 31, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    This is a great dress, you'll get heaps of wear out it it I'm sure. Interesting on the Spotlight denim, I've used quite a bit of it & haven't noticed that problem after I've pre-washed it on it's own. Is it the mid-weight one? I've done skirts from the heavy one & it's too heavy, but I've found the mid-weight one pretty good, the usual fading over time but no probs on other item so far, touch wood ;)

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  10. Very cute Sigma! Never thought of it being in denim before - it looks really good. :-)


    Shame about the denim colour running. Have you tried putting salt in the wash with it? I've found that helps set the colour - they recommend putting it in when you dye garments.

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  11. Denim - what a great idea! I really like the turn ups, and it looks like such a versatile dress.

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  12. I love the turned up cuffs! And the boots!! Also, I was at Sportscraft with my friend and found a whole rack of Liberty print shirts, dresses and shorts! Waaaay cheaper than buying Liberty fabric. Just thought you might be interested in cheating on your sewing machine ;)

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  13. Oh, I just LOVE this dress on you! very cute and sexy with those adorable little ankle boots. I love the turned up sleeves!

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  14. Maider.... MasustakFebruary 1, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    It turned out chic and sexy! It looks great on you!!!!!!!!! :-)

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  15. Despite all the little problems it is a great dress, very chic, and the turned up cuffs are a great touch! Oh love the pockets too.
    You look great in it!

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  16. very nice, looks great on you. hey thanks for telling me about jungle january, it looks like lots of fun.

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  17. This is such a glorious little denim dress!! The perfect little throw-on type of outfit (especially with those boots!! love!!)

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  18. It's a kind of a dress I like to have in my wardrobe: easy to put on in the morning when I am still sleepy, easy to dress up by adding some extra accessories, easy to wear all year long! Such a great addition to your hand-made collection!

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  19. I sure will. Just need the weather to cool down a little bit and then I think it will become my autumn staple.

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  20. Thanks Margo. I really feel like I need another one, with a perfect zip in a lighter denim now.

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  21. ha ha.. sorry to put another thing on the to do list!

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  22. I so agree, a denim dress is just such a great wardrobe staple.

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  23. Now I'm rethinking, but I do think my waist is a bit higher - or at least that's where it feels comfortable. A few things to do before I re make this dress, but I definitely will.

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  24. Thanks Morgan. Now if only I was game enough to turn my denim into jeans!

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  25. Good to know it was probably just a one off with this denim. Otherwise it was a really lovely mid weight denim with just the right amount of stretch.

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  26. Thanks Shar.. now if only I was game enough to move onto jeans like you!

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  27. Thanks for the tip on the salt. I had thought about that but wasn't sure. Will give it a go.

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  28. Thanks Gabrielle. The turnups are my favourite part too.

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  29. Yes, there are some lovely shirts at Sportscraft but my sewing machine would know for sure! :)

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  30. No problem. I didn't participate but there was just so much jungle fun going on I thought you should know for sure.

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  31. Thanks Sallie. I'm a sucker for an easy dress like this.

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  32. I think the belt will be ok for now, but geez..those little things can be sooooo annoying. Anyway, I still love the dress despite the bad fit at the back.

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  33. Thanks Carolyn. I'm looking forward to it being a real autumn favourite.

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  34. Did I ever mention that one of the first things I ever tried to sew was Gertie's Butterick 5824 coat since there was a sewalong and I figured that would get me through any problems? So funny to think of now! Sometimes my optimism far exceeds my ability so we'll see about those jeans! You should join in. You've sewn shorts and worked with denim so you're most of the way there!

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  35. I'm a bit late commenting... I love this on you Kirsty! Once you get the fit right it will be the perfect dress. Especially with those amazing boots.

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  36. Lovely dress. Just a quick note re the zip insertion. Try sewing the back seam all the way up matching waist seam with a while stitch to undo later. Stitch the zip in place on the zip tape. Undo the c/back seam then stitch zip firmly in place as normal. Might sound long winded but gives a perfect seam.x

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