Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1801

This is yet another project that I planned to make earlier this year, but got put off until recently.  Then lack of availability made photo taking a bit delayed as well.  But finally, as we head into mid-October, I present you with a really lovely spring/summer dress.  My sister bought some pretty cotton voile last year and I had this Cynthia Rowley pattern in mind as soon as she showed the fabric to me:

Simplicity 1801 - A Cynthia Rowley pattern.

I thought this was a fantastic pattern and the results look pretty cute:

My sister in her Cynthia Rowley Simplicity dress!

Who doesn't love a dress with pockets?

The back - almost as cute as the front.
I love that the top and skirt have
slight gathers at the waistband.

There are also small gathers at the shoulder yokes too.

And here is my official Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:  Dress in two lengths, or tunic top, with sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:  Sizes (6-8-10-12-14) and (14-16-18-20-22).  I found that this pattern actually ran pretty true to size, though I did check the measurements on the pattern sheet before I made the pattern for my sister.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, very easy.  The instructions were very straightforward, and I thought the construction order made sense.  I found I didn't really need to use them very much though because there wasn't anything too complex with this pattern.

What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?  Likes: The style is super cute, and it is a very easy pattern to put together.  I also thought the drafting on the pattern was excellent - everything fit together so well I was rather pleased.  The pockets and sleeves were a big hit with my sister as well.  Dislikes: I think the skirt is drafted a bit short.  My sister is on the shorter side to begin with, but to keep the skirt a respectable length I had to do a narrow hem instead of the 1.25" hem Simplicity wanted me to use.  Also, the cut on the neckline is a bit low.  My sister has requested I add a panel to the top so that she can safely wear this dress to work.

Fabric used:  Cotton voile (print and solid) that my sister got from Fashion Fabrics Club.  I underlined everything with a poly/cotton twill because the voile was too thin.  I also used interfacing as directed by the instructions.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  None, except that I reduced the depth of the hem.  One of the reasons I love sewing for my sister - she doesn't require nearly as many fit alterations as I do.  (Note: After the photos were taken I also added a small modesty panel to the deep v-neck as well.)

Would you sew this again?  Would you recommend this to others?  I would sew this again - I would actually consider making a dress like this for myself, though I am really liking the look of that tunic top.  The maxi style in this pattern is also cute.  And my sister might want another version of this dress too.  So, yes, I expect I will be making more of this pattern sometime in the future.  I would definitely recommend this to others - it is a fantastic pattern - but I would caution that the neckline is a bit low (not scandalously low, but perhaps a bit more exposed than some might be comfortable with), and that the skirt hem will be very high if you don't add length.  These are easy fixes though, so I still think this would be a great pattern for anyone to sew.

Conclusion:  Great pattern!  It is cute, well drafted, with good instructions.  There are also a lot of nice variations in one envelope.  What else could one ask for in a pattern?


  1. That is a really cute dress! Your sister is lucky you sew for her! The fabric is beautiful and it looks great on her.

  2. Great fabric for this pattern, the finished dress looks fantastic - lucky sister ... J

  3. Super cute dress. Your sister has quite a dramatic look, beautiful.

  4. Glad to hear your review. I've gotten myself into some tight corners with patterns that ended up being too complicated for me (or poor drafting/instructions). I'm definitely going to make this now.