Saturday, February 9, 2013

Simplicity 1776 Pattern Review

I made this dress way back in November (I know, I'm a slacker.)  I really like it, but had to make several alterations to the pattern.  I chose the longer sleeves, no pockets, and round neckline.

Simplicity 1776
I made this with a navy broadcloth base and a lace overlay.  Both came from Joanns.  The pattern was very simple and fun to make, so I thought it would be a nice one to practice my overlay skills.
However, although the pattern was simple it needed a lot of alterations to be something I would enjoy.  The first problems I knew before I started sewing: it is WAY short.  I had to add several inches to make it long enough for me.  The second was the exposed zipper.  Yuck.  I did an invisible zipper instead.  I also had to bring the neckline in a bit.
After I had sewn the dress and put it on, I saw more problems.  This dress is quite straight and shapeless.  I don't feel comfortable looking like a box.  I took in the sides at the waist but it was still pretty plain.  Then my brilliant husband suggested adding a belt.  I added a simple 1/2 in belt with a snap to hold it together and I think that relaly did the trick.  Overall, I love the dress, but it took a lot of alterations from the pattern to make me like it.  I'd suggest using the pattern as a base, but be aware it's something you might have to make some (or many) changes to.
Here is a rare photo of me, modeling the dress as I wore it to my husband's work Christmas party (the tights are navy, not black, I swear!):


  1. Hi Kourtney - I'm in the finishing stages of making this dress, but I look hopelessly boxy in the stomach area. It billows out and I won't want to turn sideways in front of anyone.

    I am a beginning sewist and was afraid to install extra darts in the front so I was thinking of trying on a belt, however it's impossible to find an adult-looking belt small enough to fit me.

    THANK YOU for the idea of making my own belt! I think you may have saved this dress for me.

    1. You're welcome Melissa! I think a lot of people who make this dress have the same problem. I made my belt by cutting a 2 inch wide strip, then pressing and folding to look like bias tape, then stitching close to both edges. And like I said, it's just fastened with a sew-on snap. I also took in the sides quite a bit, you might want to try that. It will be a ton easier than darts. Just put it on inside-out and get someone to help you pin the sides in a bit.
      What a misleading pattern, it doesn't look shapeless until you put it on!

  2. Very nice! I think I will try your belt idea too. I plan to make this pattern in green linen for St. Patrick's day. This is a super cute pattern, but it is very boxy; I'm sure I will have to bring it in. It seems designed more for a stretchier material to pull on over your head (maybe?). I saw another blogger make it in velvet/sequin and it looked great.