You have to attend a garden wedding near the beach soon. Do you:
- Buy a super cute sundress of the rack?
- Forage through your closet and pull out your me-made Tiki dress?
- Give yourself two half days to sew up a foliage printed frock which means you can stealth to the dessert table multiple times as you will be in perfect camouflage?
We all know where this is going… Say hello to the sassy yet stealthy Simplicity 1873 party frock!
This is the quintessential Cynthia Rowley party dress – Simplicity 1873. It features a four-darted bodice with a pleated skirt and a variety of necklines. There is also a loose fitting jacket to go with if you are so inclined. But this lady was strapped for time and forced herself to put the black and white checked sateen for the jacket back at the register. I know, right? Where is my gold medal for self restraint?!
The fabric is a rather snazzy fern leaf print from good ole Spotlight. It has a nice handle, holds pleats well and the colour has stayed fast. Huzzah! But this fabric is not all unicorns and sunshine – do not be fooled! It has a sneaky looser weave than its plain coloured counterparts meaning all the work you put into a muslin is foiled. Foiled I tell you! Fern fronds- if you weren’t so good looking I would drop you like it’s hot. Boom.
So let’s real talk fitting. I decided to go a muslin for the bodice to get things sitting well (yeah, hell just froze over but go with it) and am so glad I did. The darts did not sit well and were ending right on my bust point. Totes. Awks. In the end, the following changes were made to the bodice:
- Side darts lowered by 3cm
- Both sets of darts shortened by 1.5”
- 2cm removed from each side of the back neckline
- Back zip and seam allowance removed so the back piece is now on the fold
- Entire neckline scooped out by an extra 2cm
Bloody hell. Just reading that list makes me want to have a nap. And I won’t lie – at the end of the fitting session this lady totally had a mint julep. #winningatlife
Construction wise this had some ups and downs. The bodice and skirt went together easily and well (just make sure you reference the instructions for pleating those five skirt pieces and not try to solve it yourself for twenty minutes. oops). I hit a snag when trying the dress on to sort out hem length and realised the sides had stretched. This was remedied with 2cm removed from each side and some of the pleats unpicked and deepened so the seams would match. The armholes and neckline are finished with bias binding to avoid a lining. Check out these mad hand stitching skills and pleats. Boss mode!
What I loved about this pattern:
- The sassy pleats. They are so lovely and voluminous and the skirt flares beautifully when you twirl. In fact, so beautifully that you accidentally flash your neighbours as they walk their dog. Ask me how I know. #totesawks
- Versatile pattern options. You can make View A or B for work and there is a cute jacket. Or just throw that all to hell and make all the View C party dresses you can manage. Bwah ha ha!
What I would change for next time.
- Go a fabric with some drape. There are some gorgeous drapey 1873s floating round the blogosphere. I need to make this happen.
- Do I dare cut into the amazing silk taffeta I bought at Mood Fabrics to make this exact pattern? Is it time… Eeep!
- Improve on my bodice fit a little further. I am not happy with how the underbust is sitting as there is a bit of blousing happening. Some extra time with Fit for Real People should hopefully provide an answer.
Pattern: Simplicity 1873
Fabric: 2.5m cotton sateen from Spotlight
Notions: Thread, stash bias binding
Overall, I am rather happy with my last minute frock sewing. The fabric makes this summer cute and totally appropriate for a garden wedding. If you need me, I’ll be in stealth mode near the dessert table! Bwah ha ha!