Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A dressed up Simplicity 1365

I meant to sit down and make the Simplicity 1458 dress for the Sewing Challenge as planned but I got a bit side-tracked and made this instead!

This is a dress version of a crop top I made earlier as part of the Simplicity Sewing Challenge, a vintage 70s style button back halter top. 

When I was making the crop top, I knew the pattern would work really well as a dress. And when I came across this African wax print cotton I just couldn’t resist plunging in making one! I loved the bright colours and print of the cotton. It makes a change from all the other things I’ve been making recently – weirdly everything’s been either blue or a peachy pink… I’m blaming my current hair colour for that as I think I’ve been subconsciously drawn to those colours since I changed it!

It was simple enough to change it into a dress. I wanted a full skirt but the fabric I bought was really narrow so a full circle was out of the question. Instead I opted for a gathered skirt – a little riskier because of the added bulk at the waist but I figured I’d just work with it. I didn’t make a pattern for the skirt – I literally just cut out two trapeze shapes as wide as possible from the fabric! Because of the gathered waist there wasn’t too much point in measuring as I could just adjust it to fit the bodice waist easily enough. 

I also remembered to add pockets into the side seams too! I’ve reached a point in life where no make is complete without pockets…

If you’re doing this yourself, don’t forget to trim the seam allowance at the centre back of the bodice! The crop top pattern includes quite a big overlap for the buttons which needs to be reduced before you put a zip in, otherwise your sizing is going to be way off!

I love how this dress turned out! It’s so much fun to wear and gives me a surprisingly good hourglass figure. Definitely not a bad thing!

Absolutely no attempt at pattern matching was made but I think it still works without being too jarring on the eye!

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  1. This is absolutely STUNNING. I love it! I have some african wax and I am always scared to make anything with it that isn’t super plain. Turns out 50s and african wax is an amazing combo, thanks for the inspiration! (Also rtw is basically never pattern matched so I rarely bother – not worth the stress!)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it worked surprisingly well. I’ve always been a bit worried about using African prints as well but I’m definitely convinced that it can work!

  2. Love it love it LOVE IT! Even the fabric and I’m not usually a fan for wax prints πŸ˜€
    Personally I’d move the zip to the side but only as I find it easier to zip that way especially as there is no one ever around when I need zipping up πŸ™

    1. Lol. Luckily the back is actually quite low which means doing it up isn’t too bad. It’s definitely much harder to do up the buttons in the back of the original version!

  3. Oh my gosh! Too cute! I love that fabric. I need to do this now because I made the same halter top too. I think we made them about the same time. ☺️ I am so not ashamed to say I plan on stealing your absolutely fabulous idea.

  4. Wow , that print is amazing! Love the shape of the dress , don’t think you need to worry about pattern matching on this print. The shape looks great, a very successful rework of the original pattern – and looks fab with your hair !

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