A dress I love!

I have finally FINALLY finished my Simplicity 1877 dress. Though this project took me forever to complete, it really is a quick pattern and I love the finished product!


I did a muslin for this pattern. Now I’ll admit, when I do a muslin, I don’t actually do every single step in the pattern because I figure it’s just a trial run for fitting – I don’t finish any raw edges, or put on any closures. I just put all the pieces together, try it on, hold the closing pieces together with my hands and go “yeah, this’ll work.” I know, that doesn’t sound very smart…

My muslin

After the muslin, I got started on the real fabric. Got all the way through to the end, put the zipper in, and then tried it on. The dress was huge. Ok, obviously my method of fitting with the muslin is not very exact, but I ended up having to take out about 4 inches for the dress to fit. How is it that my muslin was SO far off? If you’re a pro at fitting, suggestions are welcome. I might just have to start actually basting a zipper on the muslin…Gosh, so many extra steps before I actually get to make the dress!

Besides my fitting snafu, this pattern was super easy. I made version B including the shoulder flounces. I thought they gave some interest to the silhouette and decided to brave it, figuring I could always cut them out if they looked just absolutely horrid. I cut out a size 12, although who knows what size I should have cut out – 10 or 8 maybe? The binding around the neck and arms is attached in a different way than I was used to. If you’re more experienced you could just do it the way you’re used to. If you’re a newbie, just follow the instructions – I did, and it worked out great. If you follow the instructions, they tell you to sew over the binding where the seams meet under the arms and at the V in the neckline so that they will lie flat – be sure to do this, it will look much better.

My overall impressions of this pattern: I LOVE it! The silhouette is one of my favorites for any dress – fitted bodice, full skirt. And, the best thing is that the fitted bodice actually fits! This was another new design aspect I hadn’t seen – the bust darts were two vertical darts under the bust instead of horizontal beside the bust. Also, I feel like I finally successfully matched fabric (a sateen from JoAnn) to the pattern. The dress has pockets, which are always a bonus, although they seem a bit small – won’t hold my cellphone, but will hold chapstick and small items.

The skirt is put together very interestingly – it’s pleated center front, then gathered the rest of the way around. The pleats are sewn down with a triangle (you can see in the muslin pic) to prevent a pregnant-looking bulge. This is a great technique that I will probably steal if I run into pleated fronts again.

A new thing I discovered for this project –adhesive hem tape. The pattern suggests hem tape as an option for finishing the hem, although once I bought the tape and got to the point of using it, I realized I had bought the wrong thing. Just FYI – the pattern gives the option of using sew-in hem tape to finish the edges, then slipstitch the tape to the dress. But this was a fortunate accident because the adhesive hem tape worked perfect. I turned the raw edge under 1/4″ and sewed, then ironed the hem under 1” for my 3/4” hem tape and followed the package directions to adhere with the iron. I love that there is no stitching on the outside of the skirt – it gives such a clean look. I did buy tape that was a bit too heavy for my material, but it works ok. I’ll know better next time. The hem is a bit shorter than I was expecting (again, if I did the muslin properly there wouldn’t be any surprises!), but it’s not indecent and I actually like the length. Speaking of indecent – it has a very low neck line, so just be aware.

The finished product with shoulder flounces and invisible hem.

I highly recommend this pattern. The dress is simple and has just enough design details for some interest. It’s perfect to highlight a fabric with an interesting pattern on it. And if you don’t like the shoulder flounces you can easily just leave them out.

This is how I styled it for work.

I am so glad to finally be finished with this dress! I had put myself on a timeline because we have a few December weddings to attend, and I wanted a new dress for them. So I can check that off my Fall wardrobe to-do list!

And just to show off, this sleeping cutie-patootie is my niece I made the prior baby presents for. We had the shower just in time, as she was born just a week later.


Next up: McCall’s 5523 in hunter green corduroy. I hope this one won’t take me as long, so keep an eye out!


9 thoughts on “A dress I love!

  1. Pingback: Ah, nostalgia… | A Stitch Off

    • Yes, that’s a great idea. I try to do that, but usually I am so eager to get the project finished that fitting happens at the end. One day I’ll learn! Thanks so much!

  2. Nice pattern! I’ve actually never done a muslin before so not sure where you went wrong. Patterns usually have final garment measurements, which is what I usually go by. I quite often have a fair chunk of dress to work with when I put in a zip as I need an extra size in the front (for my bust) but less in the back as I’m quite narrow. Maybe it’s the same for you?

    • You know, I usually check the final garment measurements but I completely forgot to on this project! Thanks for the reminder. And you’re right, maybe my body proportions are just different than the pattern. I’ll have to work on that somemore and figure it out.

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