Pattern Review: Simplicity 9326
It’s been a few years since I made an ‘occasion’ dress and our staff Christmas dinner provided the perfect opportunity to make a pattern I’ve had my eye on for a while. The pattern is Simplicity s9326 and just when I thought I was done with ruffles, I realise I’m not and quite possibly never will be.
The pattern’s fabric recommendations for my version – View B – are ‘silky types’: silk charmeuse/satin, crepe de chine and rayon. View A (minus ruffle) suggests cotton blends, linen blends, pique and sateen. Why they differ is due to the ruffle. The bodice is fully lined and at one point during the sew, you need to turn it right side out through the straps so if you use a thicker fabric, you could (literally) get stuck here. Because I wanted my neckline ruffle more structured, I chose a cotton poplin which delivered exactly the look I was after and worked just fine.
The fabric I used is our Adele 100% cotton. For full festive mode I briefly contemplated red (hello inspo ❤️) but in the end, preference and predictability steered me back to black. I LOVE this Adele fabric so much – it’s got a slight sheen, is super smooth, cool to the touch and fantastically crisp without being overly crushy. Plus, it’s available in fourteen glorious colours. Here are nine of them…
In the past I’ve used Adele for this shirt/pants set as well as my Leni Top-to-Dress. My next Adele sewing plan is to try it with our Tessuti Multi Elastic Waist Skirt. Yup, completely a fabric favourite that I can’t recommend highly enough. And if current RTW trends are anything to go by, cotton poplin is most definitely giving linen a run for its money in the popularity stakes right now.
I don’t always toile my patterns but with this fitted bodice, I knew I’d be in for some heartache without it. Straight out of the pack, my toile was close to being a reasonable fit but there were definitely issues which I was definitely anticipating. First and most noticeable were the straps which needed to be shortened at the shoulders by about 6cm (approx 2.5″). The centre front bodice piece was also too wide and the bodice too long. Take two and my post-toile version was an overfitted disaster that ended being too small (🙄). Luckily Silva was in Melbourne for Take 3 and she was able to help me out with both some eleventh hour fitting and a few all-important tips, all filed away for my next attempt at problem-solving the bodice pattern.
I haven’t sewn a commercial pattern in a while and, not gonna lie, the instructions would’ve made a lot less sense without this excellent YouTube sew along video tutorial by Brittany Jones which helped me ENORMOUSLY – the whole process would’ve taken much longer without Brittany’s clear, step-by-step guidance.
It’s not an overly complex pattern but that bodice needed some time and attention. With all those ruffles come all those gathers come all those loose threads and, sandwiched between outer and lining, things felt pretty messy and thread-y there for a while. But once the bodice is done, you’re definitely in the sewing home straight.
In some areas, the facing/lining was flipping out so I needed to do some additional under(hand)stitching which the ruffle thankfully conceals. I closed the front split and didn’t include the lower back ruffle as I didn’t want it to get in the way of the invisible zip.
The front and shoulder ruffles are joined/sewn at right angles and I didn’t like how this looked so I rounded off those corners.
I love this style of dress and it’s a great option for both casual or fancier affairs. It happily works with heels, sandals and sneakers for an every-kind-of-occasion look that I’ll be able to wear for work, play and party. I currently have zero need for a silk dupion dress in my life but I cannot get the vision out of my head that this pattern would work magnificently in a silk dupion.
It’s by no means perfect but I’m very happy and definitely plan on revisiting this cute pattern in a print – maybe a Liberty tana lawn? Stay tuned…