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Simplicity and Craft Cotton Co have partnered up to create a really exciting new line of organic cotton fabrics! The fabrics feature illustrations from vintage Simplicity patterns printed onto a beautiful organic cotton base.
Imagine my joy being invited to choose which of these fabrics to use for my project! I chose one aptly named ‘Simplicity Patterns’ which has 3 different vintage fashion ladies also with the simplicity logo in a gold font. The background colour is a lovely soft cream and has faint outlines of pattern cutting lines all over.
Fabric and Pattern
The cotton fabric is soft and medium weight, plus easy to iron and not see through (which are my top priorities!).
The pattern I decided to use was Simplicity 8591 which is a reprint of a 1960s pattern. I’ve used this pattern before and have been itching to make another version. Although it’s a 60s pattern, the dress has the hallmarks of a 50s style dress with big gathered skirt, fitted bodice and frilly sleeves (can you see why I like it!).
The version I made this time was a mixture of all three views. I used the skirt (without the border,) the elbow length frilly sleeves (without the lace trim), and the big collar.
I wanted to add another colour into the dress and thought a contrasting sleeve and collar would look really snazzy. I initially considered picking out the bright blue on one of the dress illustrations but before I bought anything I had a look through my stash. I found a remnant of cotton with the most gorgeous mix of reds and browns and oranges. It has a really warm autumnal feel to it and the shades matched perfectly with the gold/taupe lettering on the Craft Cotton Co fabric.
It was only a small remnant of contrasting cotton so I had to plan very carefully to fit the pieces on. I definitely didn’t have enough to do the whole collar so the underside of the collar is the Craft Cotton Co fabric. It’s so satisfying to end with only the tiniest scraps of fabric after a project (literally a few centimetres of fabric in this case!). Although I only used the contrasting colour in the two places I think it’s just enough to create a bit of fabulous pzazz.
The basic construction of the dress is very standard and the skirt is larger rectangles so lovely and easy to sew. Yes, I did add pockets! In the side seams of the skirt and in the same fabric so they are satisfyingly hidden within the folds of the fabric.
One slightly strange aspect of this dress is that the side seams of the skirt are not designed to match up with the side seams of the bodice. The skirt side seams come slightly further toward the centre front and when you do this, the skirt gathers are evenly distributed. Despite having made this dress before, I forgot this, and merrily lined up all my seams nice and evenly. I stitched, stitched again and neatened the seam before I realised I had done it wrong so there was no way I was going to back and change it! So, my version had a slightly more gathered rump than intended (but luckily I don’t think it affects the overall look of the dress!).
One thing I did pat myself on the back for was my extremely neat zip installation! Regardless of how many zips I put in, I’m always very conscious how easily the line of stitching can go wonky, or the waist/neckline not match up. Very important to give yourself a little cheer when you do things well, I think!
If I had had enough of the contrasting fabric to make a belt then I would have done as I love to be matchy match, but as I didn’t, I added a brown leather belt which I think matched really nicely especially as it ties with my brown booties. All the way through sewing this dress I was imagining it with these lace up brogue boots and I absolutely LOVE how they look together! For wearing out and about during winter I’m thinking wooly tights and maybe a cropped, cream, knitted jumper with the collar popping out over the top.
I just need to give some love to these bangles too, how perfectly do they match?! Amazingly, a few days after I shot these photos I went charity shop shopping and found another one exactly the same! Who can resist a stack of wooden vintage bangles?! Not moi.
I loved this project! Choosing a fabric from this wonderful new line was such a treat and making a dress in a design I knew I already loved and would get lots of wear from made it such fun to sew.
If you buy one of these new fabrics let me know what you’re making! I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!