Monday, April 23, 2018

Simplicity 8166

I assume I am like many other mothers out there in that, while I spend a good amount of time planning holiday outfits for my kids, I am often found frantic in front of my own closet with minutes to go before we need to be somewhere looking nice.  This year's Pascha looked to be about the same, until I laid eyes on Manju's post about her Simplicity 8166 dress.  I fell instantly in love and ordered the pattern that day.

After looking at the finished measurements, I ordered the smaller size range and cut the size 14.  And when I say "cut," I mean that I did actually cut this pattern, rather than trace as I usually do.  I knew I'd never need a smaller size than the 14 and I wasn't planning to sew it for anyone else.  I then made a muslin of the 14 with no adjustments and was pleased to find that it did not need that much fitting work!  Here are the adjustments I ended up with:
  • 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment
  • 1" full bicep adjustment.
  • Lengthened the dress by 1.25" for my 5/8" self, (but somehow my finished dress still ended up exactly the right length before hemming, so I ended up cutting off 3" and making a wide doubled band to finish the hem).  
  • Widened front pattern piece 3/8" on each side from hips down.
  • Widened back pattern piece 1" on each side from hips down, tapering back to nothing at hem.  
  • I set the sleeves in flat instead of in the round.
I also sewed the side seams/sleeve seams at 3/8" instead of 5/8".

The widening I did from the hips down didn't quite work the way I had envisioned, and I ended up doing a lot of reshaping of the bottom 12" of side seams.  I ended up with a pegged silhouette that was probably fairly close to the way it would have looked if I hadn't made any adjustments at all.

I followed Manju's notes to cut the button elastic 2" instead of the 3 1/4" stipulated in the pattern.  I do think they ended up a hair short, as I ended up having to sew the buttons on closer to the edge of the placket than I would have otherwise liked. If I were to make this again, I'd cut the elastic 2.5".  I also took her advice and used elastic thread to shirr the neckline and the sleeve cuffs with elastic thread, rather than making elastic casings as the pattern dictates.

The fabric is Telio Misora Crepe de Chine in Indigo.  I had ordered it from Amazon back in September, thinking I was going to make the Style Arc Patricia Rose dress with it. My first muslin of that dress didn't pan out, though, and I haven't gotten back to it.  The fabric was also not at all the color it appeared on the screen, and really not indigo at all, but sort of a washed out medium blue.  Not really my favorite color.  But the drape was perfect for this pattern and I wanted to use stash fabric, so off I went.

I don't often sew with polyester and I'm admittedly rather a snob about it.  (Even my kids know that if a hand-me-down is all or mostly polyester, it goes straight into the donation pile).  But I will say that this fabric is quite nice for a poly.  It doesn't take a crisp press like cotton, but it presses well enough.  I did a lot of ripping and resewing, particularly when putting on the hem band, and the fabric held up like a champ.  My only complaint is that it can be quite static-y.

I must say, this is really not my usual style at all, and I'm still not 100% certain that I love it (my hem band adjustment, in particular, was not executed well enough to my liking).  But I don't think I've ever received more compliments on a dress.  I've worn it now three times, and every time I've been stopped and praised on my outfit.  It seems to be a style that spans age ranges. My brothers' 20-something significant others have commented multiple times how much they like it, and there's a little old lady at church comes up to touch it and ooh and aah every time I turn up in it.

As always, thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Ooooh, this is a departure for you, but I really like it! So interesting and different! That color is gorgeous on you, too. I'm like you, super picky about polyester, but I do love the washability factor! I love all the tiny buttons on this dress. So pretty.

  2. I had to do a double-take, you look so much like Princess Kate! Love your dress. You look lovely!

  3. Lovely colour, and all those little details are so pretty. Well done :)


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