It's been a few years since I've made a “hand-me-down” dress and our team's Christmas dinner was the perfect opportunity to make a pattern I've been eyeing for a while. The model is Simplicity s9326 and just when I thought I was done with ruffles, I realize that I'm not and probably never will be.
After finding this model, I felt like I had seen something similar, so after a few Pinterest-ing, I discovered that it was very similar to this Zimmermann dress And This And this and other stories one too.
The pattern's recommended fabrics for my version – View B – are “silky types”: charmeuse/silk satin, crepe de chine and rayon. View A (minus the ruffles) suggests cotton blends, linen blends, pique and satin. The reason they differ is because of the steering wheel. The bodice is fully lined and at some point during sewing you have to turn it right side out through the straps, so if you use a thicker fabric you might (literally) get stuck here. Because I wanted my neckline ruffle to be more structured, I chose a cotton poplin that gave exactly the look I was going for and worked really well.
The fabric I used is ours Adèle 100% cotton. For a full party mode, I briefly considered red (Good morning inspiration ❤️) but in the end, preference and predictability brought me back to black. I LOVE this Adèle fabric SO a lot – it has a slight sheen, is super smooth, cool to the touch and incredibly crunchy without being too crushed. Additionally, it is available in fourteen magnificent colors. Here are nine…
In the past I have used Adele to this shirt/pants set as well as my Top-to-Dress Leni. My next Adele sewing project is to try it with our Tessuti Multi-Elastic Waist Skirt. Yeah, this is totally a favorite fabric that I can't recommend enough. And if current ready-to-wear trends are anything to go by, cotton poplin is certainly giving linen a run for its money in terms of popularity at the moment.
I don't always work my patterns, but with this fitted bodice, I knew I'd be in trouble without it. Right out of the package my canvas was close to being a reasonable fit, but there were definitely some issues that I was definitely expecting. The first and most visible were the straps which needed to be shortened at shoulder level by about 6 cm (about 2.5″). The center front bodice was also too large and the bodice too long. Take two and my post-canvas version was an over-equipped disaster that ended up being too small (🙄). Luckily Silva was in Melbourne for Take 3 and she was able to help me out with an eleventh hour fitting and some very important tips, all filed away for my next attempt at problem solving with the bodice pattern.
I haven't sewn a commercial pattern in a while and, I'm not going to lie, the instructions would have made a lot less sense without this excellent YouTube sewing video tutorial by Brittany Jones which helped me immensely – the whole process would have taken much longer without Brittany's clear, step-by-step guidance.
It's not an overly complex pattern but this bodice took some time and attention. With all those ruffles comes all those gathers come all those loose threads and, sandwiched between the exterior and the lining, things looked pretty messy and stringy for a while. But once the bodice is complete, you're definitely in the home stretch of sewing.
In some areas the facing/lining was turning inside out so I had to do some extra stitching underneath (by hand) which the ruffle thankfully conceals. I closed the front slit and didn't include the ruffle at the lower back because I didn't want it to get in the way of the invisible zipper.
The ruffles on the front and shoulders are joined/stitched at a right angle and I didn't like how it looked so I rounded those corners.
I love this style of dress and it's a great option for business casual or fancier. It pairs easily with heels, sandals and sneakers for an all-occasion look that I can wear to work, play and party. I currently have no need for a silk dupion dress in my life, but I can't get it out of my head that this pattern would work. superbly in a silk dupion.
It's not perfect by any means but I'm very happy and definitely intend to revisit this lovely pattern in a print – perhaps a Liberty Tana Lawn? Stay tuned…