So we finally had some sunshine! I got a bit excited and decided London was comparable to the gloriously sunny streets on the packaging of Mimi G’s 8123 Simplicity pattern.
I wanted to make something I can get a lot of wear out of, so rather than a floral which might make the dress a bit formal, I went for this gorgeous denim from Sew Essential. It’s always a bit of a gamble getting denim online rather than in person; I find the variations in weight, texture and colour are more drastic than with other materials but luckily this denim was perfect for this dress. It’s lightweight enough to feel soft with a hint of drape, but it holds the structure of the style perfectly. I’ve been holding out for the right denim to make a Simplicity 1325 tunic and I think this could be the one huzzah!
As for the pattern, there are lots of small pieces so if you’re a whizz at pattern Tetris you can squeeze this out of a fairly small piece of fabric, especially if you go for version A as I did. Big four patterns get a bit of a hard time for the clarity of their instructions but this all seemed quite straightforward, the only step that stumped me a bit was the boob band (official terminology), so if you’re making this dress I’d say to just take step 23 slowly and read the instructions properly – I was being too hasty! After this step the dress was all coming along nicely, but I did find that the wrap over detail of the dress made it a bit difficult to gauge fit so I only tried it on properly after putting in the zip and it was MASSIVE.
After a brief chat with Athina Kakou I was reminded of the ancient sewing proverb:
“The Simplicity patterns doth giveth much ease”
It was too big to even attempt to adjust so I had to go back to the pattern, recut down a size and luckily I’d cut economically enough to have leftover denim to cut a whole new bodice. Annoying as this was, it was so much quicker to make the bodice second time than the first, and I took in the seams of the skirt so it all fit together perfectly. Even after going down a size I had to shorten the straps by 5cm and take in the boob band by half a centimetre, but we got there in the end and I’m so pleased with how it turned out!
The only other amendments I made to the pattern instructions was to stitch in the ditch on the waistband and the boob band so it sits perfectly flat (the button holes aren’t actually opened, they’re just for show and you actually put the dress on by invisible zip at the back!) and slipstitched the very top so it all sits really neatly, lining up the strap to the edge of the fold over detail.
Of course the hot spell lasted only a couple of days, but this meant I realised the layering potential of this dress! I was a bit concerned it may be a bit too dressy that I wouldn’t get much wear out of it, but it can be made totally daytime appropriate with a top underneath yay! The setback with sizing meant I didn’t make this as perfectly as I’d like and the insides aren’t as neat as they should be; I’ll wear it still but will definitely make another one or two of this awesome and surprisingly versatile dress!