I put Simplicity 1059 on my to-buy list years ago after seeing Mimi G's velvet version. I didn't have plans to make it up any time soon, and I certainly had never planned to sew it in a woven. But back in June, during my sewjo explosion, I was casting about for something [else] to make for my trip home. I came upon the pattern while rifling through my pattern bin and decided to give it a whirl.
My instinct would have been to make it in rayon challis, but I didn't have any challis in a long-enough cut (note to self: buy some challis). I did have this graphic stretch poplin that I had just ordered from Fabric Mart, but I wasn't sure it was going to work. I was afraid the fabric had too much body for the pattern, particularly for the pleats above the bust. I decided to take a risk (and before you ask, I had been carried away by that particular sort of a sewing frenzy that grabs you by the throat and whispers harshly in your ear that there is no time to lose, not even to make a muslin.)
The next thing to do was to figure out what size to cut. I read a bunch of reviews online but didn't find any that discussed size in depth. Particularly, I was unsure whether to go to the trouble of an FBA given the finished measurements, which offer 5.5" of ease at the bust and a ton more at the waist and hips. My measurements (40-31.5-41.5) put me in a size 18. I would normally do a size 14 + FBA graded to the 18 at the waist and hip. I decided to risk the straight size 16. It had a 43.5" finished bust, and my bust is about 40". I ended up sewing the center front seam at 3/8" instead of 5/8" to make a little extra room, though it turns out that wasn't necessary.
The front of the dress is a very deep V. On me, the V as drafted just hit the top of my full-coverage bra, so I closed it up about 3/4" to keep everything hidden. On a smaller bust, the V would be a good deal lower, so keep that in mind if you are looking at the pattern.
The back of the dress has a 20" zipper. It was my first-ever lapped zipper, so that was good practice, but it is completely unnecessary. I ended up taking in the side seams about 5/8" from the armscye all the way down, and I can still get the dress on and off without unzipping.
As drafted, the pattern, which is a reprint of a 1960s pattern, has what I call a Judy Jetson sleeve. It's a cap sleeve that doesn't come down to cup the shoulder bone at all - it just goes straight out. I don't think it's the most flattering sleeve cut on a full upper arm, so I decided to cut in the sleeves at the shoulder. I cut them in about 1.5". They could be cut in even more, but then I would have had to draft new facings, and I didn't want to do that. I half-regret doing this, though - I did kind of like the style lines of the original sleeve. If I make it again I may leave the sleeve the way it's drafted.
I lengthened the skirt 1/2" while cutting. The hem allowance is something like 2.25" and I thought I'd probably want to lengthen the dress a little, but I wanted to be able to take at least a 1" hem. As it turned out, the dress is a-line and the instructions call for easing in the excess while hemming (obviously I did not read through the directions before starting). I really dislike doing that, so I wound up using some vintage rayon hem facing (inherited from my grandmother's stash) instead. I sewed the facing on with a 1/4" allowance, making the dress nearly 3" longer than drafted. For reference, I'm 5'8".
I wasn't sure whether I wanted to make the sash - I don't usually love self-fabric sashes, preferring a contrasting belt. But I'm glad I made it, because I really love how it looks. I made thread chain sash carriers at the sides.
I interfaced all my facings, but I ended up needing to tack them down in multiple locations. Because I narrowed the sleeve facings so much while cutting in the shoulder, there was no way they wouldn't pop out without being sewn down. The front facing also really needs to be tacked in several different spots. If I made this again in the sleeveless view, I think I'd prefer to line the entire garment. It would be easy enough to do if I omitted the unnecessary back zipper. Also, I don't think it would take any more time than cutting, interfacing and sewing the eight facing pieces (this pattern is called "Jiffy" but I disagree with that title - it wasn't a super-quick sew).
All in all, I'm really glad I took a chance on the pattern and the fabric. All of my fears turned out to be unfounded, and I wound up with a dress that fills a hole in my wardrobe, and that I really like to wear.
I also am glad that I had a chance to try out the pattern in advance, as it is now a contender for my dress for my brother's wedding this fall. I'm thinking about a long-sleeved, maxi version in a festive fabric for that one - maybe in velvet like Mimi's. Though I may need to rebuy the pattern. I cut out my pattern pieces because I was so sure I'd never sew it again - and I think I want to try the straight 14 next time, especially if I end up sewing it in a knit.