Monday, 2 April 2018

an experimental Simplicity 8380

Happy Easter, humans! I am still two days away from my horrible dental work and still hurting, but on the plus side the swelling has gone, RuPaul's Drag Race is back (Team MonĂ©t) and I have finished my course of super-strength antibiotics so I can drink again. Yay! 

Here's a dress I had no plans to make whatsoever:

This is a Cynthia Rowley Simplicity pattern that I bought on a whim and decided to experiment with. I'm not 100% sure about it as a finished garment, but there are so many really great elements to this dress and I'm really impressed with the way it's been designed. I haven't used a Cynthia Rowley before, but if they're all like this then I'm definitely getting more (I was going to write "I'm buying all of them" but then I Googled and half of them appear to be tents, so no. There's definitely a couple I could try, though).

I got this fabric from The Textile Centre well over a year ago, and as soon as it arrived I thought, "Wow, I have literally no idea what to do with this" and put it at the back of my stash. I've had a few half-hearted ideas for it, but basically I'd decided to get rid of it and was just trying to work out how. Then I bought some really nice fabric of a similar weight and texture that I really didn't want to screw up on an untested pattern, and figured this would make a decent toile. 

In "For Fuck's Sake" news, the really nice fabric died in the pre-wash. 

The biggest mistake I made with this dress was to glance at the instructions, see that they wanted me to put a zip in, laugh at the incompetence and not read through the rest of the instructions. I was correct that there's zero need for a zip, but half the construction of the bodice is based around the idea that there will be a zip, and I needed to read ahead and correct for that, which I did not. I managed to fudge it and it's fine, but it would have been a lot easier if I'd constructed the whole bodice before sewing the remaining side seam up.

I LOVE the pockets on this dress. I thought they were just standard side seam pockets (and thus had to do a bunch of unpicking because I yet again hadn't bothered to read the instructions), but they're anchored into the waist seam so that the pocket isn't dragged down when you put something in it, and they're huge but with a much smaller opening, so there's lots of room to hold stuff and much less chance that anything will fall out. It's a little bit genius. I haven't quite got the construction down on this one, but I will be taking these pockets and putting them into basically everything that isn't super-fitted. SO MUCH ROOM. 

My overall impression of this pattern is very positive, but as yet I have no idea whether or not this dress will get worn. On the one hand, this is accidentally an amazing fabric/pattern match and I legitimately did not think I could ever get this fabric to look this good. The skirt is a good shape, I really like the pockets, and the large broken bust darts work fantastically for me. On the other hand, it is slightly too short (it's unhemmed here) to be worn without tights, and I don't like how it looks with tights or have sufficient extra fabric to alter it. I'm also not completely sure about sleeveless on me (while I'm not the biggest fan of my arms, it's not that - I just think there's something about a shoulder that ends where this one does, especially combined with a slightly higher neck, that looks a bit odd to me proportionally). I may never make this exact dress again, but there is a TON for me to steal and repurpose here, and I guarantee you will see bits of this reused in a bunch of different ways. 

I'm not sure if there'll be a post next week. My infected face has seriously impeded my sewing motivation, and the garment I'd planned to post about (the Victory Patterns Esther trousers) looks TERRIBLE on me so I need to rethink how I do that. If I can get something done, I will! 


  1. I think this is SO fantastic on you! I hope you wear it a ton!!!! And I bet it would look super-duper cute with a cropped jacket of some sort - denim, moto, etc.

    1. Thank you! It does actually look really good with my denim Lupin, so maybe I just need to plan to go to more bars...

    2. That should always be the plan, no?

      Hope your dental stuff goes well and you get back to feeling better!

  2. I love this dress on you! It looks so fun and flirty.

  3. This looks amazing! Perhaps find another fabric to add a band to extend the hem? Black or another wild b/w print?