Late last year I finally sewed Simplicity 1733. It had been in stash so long that it is no longer in print, but you can see it listed on Pattern Review here. I bought it not long after I’d sewn New Look 6071 for the first time back in 2012. I had been trying to work out how to modify the New Look pattern a little to allow for some gathers in the centre back and centre front mid-section to allow a little more stomach room and behold, the Simplicity pattern popped up! I bought it, then only made the jacket. What was I thinking?!
Anyway, my friend Kathryn had the top version of this pattern, Simplicity 1539, and recently sewed it lengthened it to a dress. Seeing her gorgeous version was all that I needed to spur me into action. Before long I’d pulled some cotton/viscose/lycra from deep stash and was sewing.
As you can see, I made the knee-length dress version and left off the sleeves. This is such a fun pattern to sew! The twisty bit is rather ingenious. Take it slowly, follow the instructions, and you’ll be okay. Because I’d already sewn the New Look pattern a few times I didn’t have any issues with this one. There are some subtle differences between the New Look pattern and the Simplicity. The New Look back has a centre back seam. The Simplicity is a one piece upper back with a one piece skirt back joined to it with gentle gathers in the centre. There is also elastic supporting the back seamline.
I sewed this in size 14 width through the body but 12 in armhole depth and shoulder width. The cotton component of the fabric makes it slightly less drapey and flowing than I would prefer, and it does stick to my underwear a little. Nothing drastic though.
The neckline is finished by turning once to the inside then zig-zagging in place after securing it with vliesofix. The armholes were finished with a strip of fabric used like a facing, sewn right sides together, turned to the inside, zig-zagged in place then trimmed close to the stitching. The skirt hem was turned to the inside once, secured with Vliesofix then zig-zagged. I seem to be using the same finishing techniques on everything at the moment! Construction was shared between the overlocker and the sewing machine.
Another difference between this pattern and the New Look pattern is the gathers. Not only are there gathers below the centre of the bust in the Simplicity pattern, but there are gathers at the sides of the wrapped portion. This lies flat on the New Look dress. The overall silhouette is certainly very similar, however.
Since this is a sleeveless dress, and I had plenty of fabric, I decided to make a matching shrug to make it more work friendly. Bootstrap Fashions 59279 provided me with the pattern. The pattern illustration is deceiving however. It indicates long sleeves – these are definitely three-quarter. I had quite a few problems figuring out how to put this together, and think that there was a disparity between the names of the pattern pieces in the instructions versus on the pattern itself. After a bit of tearing my hair out, basting, unpicking, and basting again, I figured it out and made sure to mark the pattern pieces with different colour highlighters so I would never in future not know what joined to what.
Not a great photo, unfortunately! This is not a typical shrug in that the sleeves are attached to a back and there are bands that then curve around the neck and the lower back. It’s really hard to explain – you might get an idea why I had pattern piece confusion. The neck/front pieces and lower back/side pieces are self lined, so not shapes that are terribly easy to figure out. The sleeves are obvious, as is the centre back piece. When you know how, it’s actually very fast to assemble, pretty much all on the overlocker with only the sleeves needing hemming on the machine.
Bootstrap Patterns and Lekala patterns both sell LEKO CAD software patterns, which means that often the same patterns can be found on both websites. Both are made to your measurements, but have slightly different tweaks and different website features. They continue to evolve! My experience with Simplicity 1733 has also evolved – because I have sewn another two. This pattern is now known as “the twisty dress”. Blog posts hopefully sooner than later!