Sunday, 6 September 2015

Last of the summer dresses: Simplicity 1652/Emery Mash-Up

We're just getting the last of the summer in the UK and September is usually a good month for chilly mornings and sunny days: today was just like that.    I am still wearing my summer clothes with the addition of a cardi when needed, but I've got an eye on my Autumn wardrobe with all the new pattern releases from Deer and Doe, all three new designs are on my radar and two are on my sewing table already! 

 Back to this dress, sewn up in July, a mix of Simplicity 1652 bodice and Christine Haynes vintage inspired Emery dress sewn in a Denyse Schmidt Shelburne Falls quilting cotton bought in the sale last year. 

The bodice is an Amazing Fit pattern that comes in different cup sizes and corresponding pattern pieces along with very large seam allowances.  The fitting process is a little long winded but you don't need to make a toile or test version.  Instead there is a lot of pinning and basting of seams sewn wrong sides together on the outside of the garment, repining to fit, unpicking and sewing again.  Sometimes this process is quick, sometimes the adjustments need lots of sewing and unpicking.  I used size 10 with an A cup- usually it is an AB cup on patterns like this so I was hopeful that the fit was going to be at least close.  Sadly not.  I had to remove a lot of excess fabric from the high bust area which is rather hollow on me.  I also found the back was very baggy around the shoulder and the shoulder seam too far forward at the neck edge so I straightened the seam removing a wedge of fabric from the neck edge.  

The result it a pretty good fit although when I wear it, I can feel my arm rubbing against the sleeveless armhole edge, maybe it needed to be cut away slightly more- it looks right but it feels wrong!  I have this on a dress with a similar sleeve and high neck so maybe the issue is my body shape rather than the pattern.   Apart from some rather fiddly fitting, I concentrated on getting the pattern placement right.  It is a strongly geometric grid based print so each side need to match up at the back and although the back centre seam tapers in to the waist, the pattern needed to have some element of continuity.  I won't lie, for a simple looking dress, it was hard work!

The skirt is from Christine Hayne's Emery Dress pattern.  I traced a size 6 from the pattern.  It's a softly a-line shape with gathered waist and side seam pockets which are enclosed in the waistline seam inside for a smooth finish.  It is a flattering shape for wider hips as the gathers are gentle.  I loved her instructions, especially gathering the waist in three sections rather than in two halves or all in one go.  I sewed the sam joining the bodice to the skirt in the same way and it gave a very balanced and even finished to the gathers.  I covered the inside seam in binding like this dress, it gives stability and is more comfortable to wear than an overlocked seam against the skin.

Pictures as usual thanks to my daughter.  Verdict?  I wouldn't be rushing to use 1652 again, instead I think I'd rather use a sleeveless Emery bodice, but I love the dress, it's uncluttered shape and its dramatic fabric!

sib blog


  1. Wear this dress every single day. Or make more, exactly the same except in different prints, and wear them every day. You look phenomenal.

  2. I'm sorry it was such a slog, but wow! I almost gasped when I first saw it... this is incredible on you Kerry!!

  3. The dress is gorgeous - sorry it sounds as though it wasn't entirely plain-sailing to make it, but it's so worth the effort - I agree with Jenny: phenomenal.

    I just clicked over the Deer & Doe patterns - I'm imagining the the Fumeterre is firmly on your desk - it looks as though it's been designed especially for you!

  4. it's lovely! Great pattern matching. I really like the emery skirt too, and use it as my default with different bodices.

  5. Deceptively simple but absolutely gorgeous!


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