Before my most recent relapse, I had been doing a bit of sewing here and there to earn money: alterations and costumes, mostly. I decided that an Etsy shop might be a better way to channel my craft*, so built up a stock of retro-style clothing made from vintage sheets. Unfortunately, I am now not well enough to keep up with the demands of an Etsy store**, so decided to claim one of the dresses for myself.
The pattern I used for this, and all the dresses I made for the shop, is Simplicity 1873, a Cynthia Rowley pattern. Along with Simplicity 1419, it acts as my Big 4 base bodice pattern. They are both well-drafted with a good fit, and basic enough to mix and match styles. For this particular dress, I made the bodice neckline a compromise between views A and C – not too high and tight or too wide. The skirt is two gathered rectangles, cut at a midi length, with large patch pockets on the front. I’m surprised by the impact the slightly longer skirt has on the overall look of the dress – midi lengths are not something I have generally sewn in the past, but I am keen to sew more now.
As the bodice pattern was otherwise sewn straight out of the envelope, I was surprised by how good the fit is. I chose a size 16 bust, 18 waist in Simplicity sizes to represent a standard Australian size 14, and it worked well.
The fabric is a fantastic vintage sheet I bought at the Salvo’s many months ago. I couldn’t believe my luck! The print is so striking and reminds me of a Marimekko design. Plus it is the happy, bright kind of print I like to wear to reflect my personality.
This dress is perfect for a happy summer day. And I’m so impressed with the fit of the bodice, I may tweak it a little to use as my basic sleeveless bodice pattern. Thank you, Cynthia Rowley!
Pattern: Simplicity 1873 by Cynthia Rowley
Pattern details: paper pattern. Fit and flare dress with pleated skirt, sleeve and neckline options, and separate jacket. Sizes 6-22
Fabric: vintage sheet, from Salvo’s
Other materials: 12mm bias tape, from Aliexpress. Dress zip.
Mods: Size 16 bust and shoulders, 18 waist.
– made neckline scoop neck in between views A and C
– attached straight midi gathered skirt with patch pockets rather than skirt from pattern
*I can hear a million failed Etsy shop owners laughing at me right now.
**If you know how to off-load a stash of plus-sized, retro-style dresses and skirts made from vintage sheets, let me know.