Sewing

Sew House Seven ‘Mississippi Avenue’ dress (Simplicity 8231)

As the weather gets a bit warmer, I decided it was time to sew a good old fashioned summer dress. Last summer there was a huge heatwave and I ended up wearing my pyjamas pretty much every day of the holidays, as they were the coolest garments I owned (temperature-wise, anyway!). It made me realise that I have a gap in my wardrobe: breathable, comfy clothes which aren’t pyjamas.

The Mississippi Avenue dress has an elastic waist (so it’s really comfy) but still looks pretty and put-together. Secret pyjamas! I made mine in a cotton lawn from Textile Express with the loveliest blueberry pattern on it.

Spot the sleepy dog!

Having seen this pattern on the Sew House Seven website, I was a bit confused to find an identical Simplicity pattern (see top of post). Then I read this blog post, which explains it all. The pattern I used was the Simplicity version, so it had the standard Big Four instructions. I thought they were much easier to follow than some of the other Simplicity patterns I’ve made- they didn’t skip over steps or explain things too briefly, which I’ve had problems with in the past.

Fit wise, I didn’t make any major adjustments. The only thing I changed was making the elastic shorter as the waist was too loose. I probably should have made the armholes bigger, as they’re a tad too tight, but never mind…

As you can see, the armholes are a bit tight

I’m continually perplexed by Simplicity’s sizing system- by their measurements I’m a size 6 bust, size 8 waist and 8-10 in the hips. For this I cut a straight size 6 and still had to bring the waist in! The whole thing would be so much easier if they’d just put finished garment measurements on their patterns (why is it only indie pattern companies that do this?)…

Lately I’ve been trying to slow down when I’m sewing, to enjoy the process of making as much as the finished product. In that spirit, I decided to use French seams (my favourite type of seam!) on the whole dress. Because the neckline and sleeves are bound rather than having normal facings, there are absolutely no raw edges on the inside. I love this, because whenever I put the dress on and see how neat it looks inside I’ll be reminded of how much work went into it. In my opinion this is what making your own clothes is all about- creating a garment that’s better than anything you could find in a shop.

No raw edges to be seen!
A closer look at the shoulder tie detail…

You can’t really see it as I’ve used such a busy print, but the dress has a really interesting triangular panel at the front. I think the combination of this panel and the high waist gives dress a bit of a thirties feel- or it would if made in a more period appropriate fabric!

Here you can see the panel a bit more clearly

Overall, I love this dress. It’s turned out exactly as I’d hoped, and I can totally imagine myself lounging around in it during the height of summer!

Pattern: Sew House Seven ‘Mississippi Avenue’ dress (really Simplicity 8231)
Size/Fit: I made a size 6, with minimal adjustments.
Fabric: Blueberry cotton lawn from Textiles Express
Sewing Time: Slowly, over about a week. Took a bit longer than normal due to french seams.
Quality of instructions: Pretty good, standard Simplicity instructions.
Difficulty: Pretty easy as there’s minimal fitting and no fiddly closures. I’d say confident beginner level.
Adjustments: Tightening waist elastic.
Make again? Definitely, although maybe with sleeves next time so they hide bra straps!

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