Don’t panic – you’ve landed on the right blog. I’m sure it was a bit confusing at first, seeing as how this week’s post is a dress in a SOLID color. Looking back, I realized this is maybe only the second garment I’ve posted that wasn’t made in a printed, patterned or otherwise textured fabric. But, to not throw you off entirely, it is still a bright color. This pussy bow dress, with a button front bodice, had been on my to-sew list for almost a year. And with it finally being spring (although you’d never know it in this gloomy Pittsburgh weather), I thought it was time to finally make it.
I first picked up the fabric for this dress about a year ago at JoAnns. The fabric is now out of stock, but the original listing described it as a crepe satin. I had never sewn with a crepe satin before, but this fabric was lovely to work with. It has a very soft hand and drapes beautifully. It definitely feels like a crepe, and I believe the slight sheen is what makes it a crepe satin.
I originally picked up enough of this fabric for a pussy bow blouse…of course. As many of you already know, my love of a good bow neckline runs deep. However, after picking up Simplicity 8214, I decided to get a bit more of the fabric and go full-on pussy bow dress. Right around this time, I found out I would be spending the rest of the year in Australia, so the fabric and pattern had been sitting in my stash until earlier this month. It looks like this pattern is out of print, but I’ve linked to the Amazon listing. You can also find it on eBay or Etsy.
This pattern wasn’t an immediate winner for me. Every time I looked through a Simplicity pattern book, I would pause at this pattern (most likely because of the pussy bow neckline), but then just keep on flipping. I think I’m usually quite good at seeing beyond some of the unappealing photos and illustrations on pattern envelopes, but not this one. Something about the fabric selection or the way the dresses were styled really turned me off. Then, I saw this version by Mimi G, and it completely changed my mind on it. Her version looked so fresh and pretty. After that, I decided to give it a go.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that I did. Not only do I love the finished dress, but it was quite enjoyable to sew. I made view A, with a few simple alterations. First up was adding an inch to the bodice. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading reviews for every pattern I make or think about making. I guess you could say it’s part of my troubleshooting process. Anyway, one reviewer mentioned the shortness of the bodice. Knowing that waistlines often end up a bit high on me (and I didn’t want the elastic waistline right under my boobs!) I decided to add 1” to the bottom of the bodice. With this addition, the waistline landed on my actual waist, with enough fabric to blouse up a bit. Perfect!
I’m not a huge fan of long sleeves, so my next alteration was to take 3” off the sleeve length to make them more three-quarter length. I thought this was it for the alterations. Then I did a final fitting before finishing the hem. Looking in the mirror, I felt like a schoolmarm from some old movie, at the ready to smack an unsuspecting child across the knuckles with a ruler. Needless to say, this was NOT the look I was going for. The below the knee skirt was way too long on me.
The pattern offers two skirt lengths. One right above the knee and one below the knee. I figured the skirt on view B would be too short, but the longer skirt of view A would be too long. Oh boy, I’m starting to sound like Goldilocks. To get a skirt that was just right, I chopped four inches off the bottom. Suddenly, it was goodbye, schoolmarm and hello, sophisticated lady!
One last thing I need to include about this pattern. It has pockets!!! I don’t think I need to say any more on the subject.
I can already see myself getting a lot of wear out of this dress. Just putting it on for the photos made me feel so pretty and put together. It reminds me of something Kate Middleton might wear, and I think that’s about the best compliment I could give it. I couldn’t care less about celebrity news, but I must tell you, I will probably never pass up an article about royal fashion. This is something that always invokes a bit of ridicule from my boyfriend. What can I say? He just doesn’t understand.
“No, I don’t,” said Tim as he was proofreading for me…haha!
Until next time,