Pattern Reviews

Volume, Volume, Volume! Simplicity 8091

Ready to fly!


That’s what this dress screams to me. I’m a colorful, rainbow bat.

At least it’s seasonally appropriate!

Speaking of which: what did you dress up as for Halloween? My husband and I were murderjacks, which is an inside joke from our beer-centric Youtube channel. Check it out!

Back to this funky dress. It’s Simplicity 8091 view A. Simplicity describes this as a “cocoon shaped kimono that pulls over head.” That means the hem is a bit narrower and constricting, like a cocoon might be.

What that description fails to fully explain is that this dress has so much volume, you could safely use it as a parachute.

(But don’t try that at home.)

I posted a picture of myself in this over at the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group and one lovely lady said she would put out wine and cupcakes for me, as it was clear I could simply fly over to Tasmania in it for a visit. My husband also joked that it looks like a wing suit.

I’m fully happy calling it my bat dress. Yes it’s ridiculous, but perfectly so. And that’s what makes it awesome!

Also, it was one of my TWENTY-ONE potential October projects, so YAY for crossing one of those off the list!

Surprisingly I found this silky poly fabric at Joann’s. Have you ever had a fabric “speak” to you? I’ve heard of this happening to other people and, like you are probably thinking right now, I thought it was a bit nutty. But I was standing in the store, touching the pretty silky fabrics, and this immediately said: I WANT TO BE YOUR KIMONO.

There were three factors working in its favor:

  1. It had the perfect combination of colors in an abstract pattern, so no need to worry about pattern matching,
  2. It was only $6 per yard, and
  3. I had been looking to level up my sewing with some more slippery fabric.
So there you go. The stars aligned and I came home with three and a half yards of it. It turns out sewing it wasn’t nearly as difficult as expected, probably because the silky poly has some texture to it, unlike a smooth silk. That was a big relief.
Trying to choose a size was a bit maddening. Because of the gigantic amount of ease, I knew I wanted to size down, but also that no matter what, I would need a full bust adjustment. But how do you do that with a dress like this? Well that’s when a book like Fit for Real People comes to the rescue!
a French seam
It turns out the adjustment is very similar to a full bicep adjustment, where you open up from the center and taper to nothing at the top and bottom, but with a dart for better shaping. So easy! The dart hides in the folds of fabric. I also French seamed the insides because a pretty fabric deserves pretty details. That’s also my go-to finish for fabrics that fray.
It turns out a full bust adjustment was probably wholly unnecessary and what I should have done was a high round back adjustment. I keep having to pull this forward as the V slips up around my neck. So I’ll keep that in mind for next time.
This is a very fast make, except for the bias binding. Once I figured out my own personal fitting changes, it took maybe two hours to cut and sew it together. The real challenge—and this is what took more time than everything else put together—was the damn binding. I didn’t use the pattern piece because it’s simply bias binding, that’s easy enough to measure out. I almost decided to go with regular store-bought black bias tape, but I’ve done that on a lot of clothes and I wanted this to have a more elevated finished look. To give myself a break, since the only tape needed is for the finished neck, instead of trying to make continuous bias tape, I simply cut 1.5″ strips and sewed them together.
Changes I might make next time: a deeper v-neck, eschew the FBA for a high round neck adjustment, and maybe size down even more. I’m short and that much volume on a short, squat woman can be less than flattering.



This is now officially my house dress.
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