Simplicity 1881: Nearing the Finish Line

I’m so close to done with my sundress!  I probably could have completed the project last night, but I was very stressed out while putting in the zipper, and decided I did not wish to stress myself out MORE by attempting to figure out how my narrow hem foot works.  Yet.  The hem, and the two hook and eye fasteners on the back of the collar are the only two parts left.

Where were we last time?  I believe I had a bodice, but without the waistband facing.  I added the facing (incorrectly at first) last weekend during the Sewathon.

Since then, I worked on the following:

1)  Stitching the front and back of the skirt together on the right side (non-zipper side), gathering the front and back, and then attaching the skirt to the bodice.

2)  Adjusting the fit of the dress prior to installing the zipper.  I had to do this because the zipper is on the left side, and once it was installed I wouldn’t be able to take the garment in evenly on both sides anymore.  I turned the dress inside out and placed it on Deirdre, pinning all the places there seemed to be extra.  This was mostly on the sides, directly under the armholes.

3)  Then the invisible zipper was installed.  It was a fairly long process, made more frustrating by the excessive number of words in the pattern instructions (grumble).  There was quite a bit of fabric, the bodice had some thick seams to stitch through, and my modifications to the dress for fit got in my way a bit.  Here I am basting the right side of the zipper down.


All said and done, the zipper is one of the better ones I have ever installed.  Below I am showing a picture from the inside of the garment and the outside.  My stripey fabric was clearly an awesome choice because the zipper looks just like another stripe.  Nevermind that it is supposed to be invisible …


That being said, I don’t believe that I am a fan of side zippers.  If I can avoid them in the future, I will probably try to do so.  Oh!  And Fred was rude while I was ripping out the zipper basting and decided he would poke a small hole in my fabric.  Le sigh.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

4)  I hand sewed the beads adorning the collar of the dress.  What do you think?  The pattern only called for three, but I am happy with my five.


And that’s it!  Aside from cleanup and overcasting on my seams.  And honestly there were not many seams, thanks to all the linings and facings on the bodice of the dress.

Here is the dress as it stands.  I have no excuse for my pose in the picture; I think I was just bored.  Or maybe I was practicing for my ballet debut in the Nutcracker.  Hard to say.


I’ll try to take a better one after the hem and the buttons are complete.  If the narrow hem foot hasn’t driven me insane …


9 comments for “Simplicity 1881: Nearing the Finish Line

  1. February 1, 2013 at 9:18 am

    I think it is fantastic! The zipper looks great, and five was the right choice on those stones.

    • Tyraenna
      February 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Thanks! The zipper definitely has caused a few small problems, but since you didn’t notice them, I will not point them out, hah!

  2. February 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    This dress deserves a ta-da pose! I direct a wave of envy at you.

    • Tyraenna
      February 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Haha thanks. Be glad I spared you the walk-like-an-Egyptian pose the camera also captured!

  3. February 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Very flattering, bud. I like your bead choices, too. If you can figure out the narrow hem foot, I’m going to invest in one. I’m working on a blouse right now that’s just screaming for one.

    • Tyraenna
      February 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks! I’m still dreading that foot. We’ll see how it goes.

  4. Ciara
    April 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Hello again!! I’m stuck on step 7-8. On step 7 I’ve sewn the right side and between the dots on left side and backstitched.
    No idea where I’m meant to “clip the bodice and lining” like what in the frick am I clipping! And the. Number 8! I think I understand the basting and the top stitch (to top stitch the armhole.
    I’m actually just after reading all of step 8 and I’m flummoxed!!! I want to skip it all!
    When will I have this dress made?!!!!

    • Tyraenna
      April 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Hi again 🙂 I also have no idea why Step 7 has you clip those notches, but I have had a couple of other patterns tell me to do similar things. In most cases, it seems to be when I am going to be using part of the seam allowance for something else – in this case the zipper install, in a different recent case it was an elastic casing I used it for. But this is just a guess 🙂 Step 8 is mostly about, as you mentioned, top stitching the armhole edges (which is optional by the way … it’s basically for looks). The other main point of Step 8 is to gather the top and bottom of the front and back. It also mentions basting a few times in that step, but in my opinion, basting is always optional. Stick it out, the dress is lovely when finished, even though it does take quite a few sewing sessions to get through it. Your hard work will pay off!

  5. Rachel
    April 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I like the choices you made with the pattern. It looks really nice! It also sounds like a bit of work to put together. I bought the same pattern except I decided to make the halter vrsion. I cut it out and the instructions disappeared. Ahhhh! It’s discontinued so the instructions are no longer available. Do you or anyone else out there still have this pattern? If you do, would you please, please, please, send a photo of the halter instructions to so I can sew this beast? Thanks!


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