Pattern: Simplicity 1877Fabric: Linen
Materials: 3 yrds fabric, 1 invisible zipper, 1 hook and eye
Time: 7 hrs
Sizing: cut 12, loose fitting
Recommend: yes, yes, yes
Hands down, Simplicity 1877 by Leanne Marshall is my favorite dress that I made this summer (2012). Even though there are a number of details, surprisingly it is relatively easy to assemble. I love the flounce on the sleeves, the pleats along the front are so flattering and are enhanced by top-stitching, pockets are interestingly placed, and double darts could not be better. Need I say more?
There are a couple of things about the design that are not so ideal. The front is cut extremely low, hitting me mid-cleavage, so be fair warned. You can easily adjust this by changing the neckline on the bodice front pieces. Also, the inside of the dress is not as pretty as one would hope.
One of the suggested fabric is a soft lightweight linen which worked wonderfully for me. Though the pattern does not recommend it, I believe a lightweight suiting would work well for a winter dress, particularly in version B of the pattern. (Version B is the one I used.)
The outward facing seams are bound in bias strips which are include in the pattern. I found the strips fit perfectly in place. After sewing one side of the bias to the right side of the fabric, I whip-stitched the backside down. If you are not a fan of hand stitching, you can easily machine finish. The top-stitching might be nice since the pattern calls for top-stitching the pleats in place.
I will be perfectly honest with you, the flounce gave me a bit of a problem. The instructions were not clear. I had to cut an additional pair because I was just not getting it.
Here are the steps that should be taken so the first attempt is successful, or more successful than mine.
- Step 1) Cut two pairs of the pattern piece.
- Step 2) Sew the outer curve and the straight edge. Do NOT stitch the small curve, only the larger one. Trim excess fabric. Notch.
- Step 3) Turn inside out and iron.
- Step 4) The small curve is part of the shoulder seam and is wedged between the front and back bodice pieces . Make the small curve straight by bunching the larger side.
- Step 5) Pin the small curve (that is now the straight edge) to the outside bodice piece. It is a good idea to center the flounce or at least make sure it is not haphazardly caught in the seam allowance.
- Step 6) Sew flounce to single piece of bodice.
- Step 7) With the flounce now stitched to one piece of the bodice, take the corresponding bodice piece and stitch the shoulder together.
- Step 8) After finishing the seam allowance, tack the flounce in place, otherwise the waves may be a bit messy.
I know I mentioned it before, but the inside of the dress is not one of my best works. It is messy and I regret not spending the extra time to make it pretty. The edges are serged, but I dislike how the zipper lays and the seams that show the fabric pattern rather than white are just crazy.
The hem was simple. I serged the edge, flipped it inward, and then flipped another inch and a half for the hem allowance. I once again whip-stitched the edge in place. The pattern recommends using hem tape, but my fabric is forgiving and not necessary.
The back of the dress is as nice as the front. The one advantage over the front is that it is cut higher than the front. The invisible zipper is a great option too. I love how it blends in with the fabric.