Sunday, August 04, 2019

Simplicity 8871 - Maximized

In my continuing quest to add more maxi dresses to my summer wardrobe, I made up a version of Simplicity 8871.

This is a simple v-neck or u-neckline shift dress with side darts and with or without short sleeves.  The pattern envelope adds a sash to give it some waist definition. Since my waist left the building years ago, I omitted that. No need to emphasize a feature that doesn't exist, if you know what I mean!

This is a simple sew. What I was most concerned about was getting a good fit through my belly and butt since those are the areas I carry the most weight in. It's a simple A-line shaped dress with a little waistline shaping so I thought it would work for me. BUT let me stress that this is NOT a plus size pattern.  The largest size is a 20. I bought it knowing that I would use my TNT dress pattern as a base to enlarge it.

Supply List ~
3 yards of linen/cotton print from Fabric Mart 
(This was purchased in the last six months & there are still prints like this online)
1 yard of blue piping - from the collection
2 7/8" buttons - from the collection
1 white 14" invisible zipper

Pattern Alterations ~
  • I did my typical sandwich of my TNT pattern, the new pattern and a piece of tracing paper to make a new front and back pattern piece.  If you've read my blog for any length of time, you've seen that process here several times.
  • I added 4" to the cut-off line between the short and longer sizes.  Then added 2" more inches to the hemline for a total of 6" inches to maximize the dress.

Design Changes & Sewing Info.~
This is a simple style and a   I knew it would need an amazing piece of fabric to make it work for me.

I added pockets to the dress front instead of using the side seam pockets from the pattern. Because I matched the pocket fabric to the dress front, they aren't obvious unless I put my hands in them.  That's why I added buttons to the front but I'm not sure that makes much difference either. 

An invisible zipper was added to the back of the dress.  While the pattern doesn't give instructions for a closure, I knew I'd never get the maxi dress on my body without a closure.

I added piping to the neckline to give it some distinction dithering over whether or not to add it to the armholes, ultimately ended up not adding it there.

Making the dress sleeveless, I omitted the facings, just turned under a 5/8" seam allowance, pressed and stitched. The hem was turned under 5/8", pressed and stitched leaving a slit on one side...and the dress was done.

A few photos ~

Honestly I was worried the dress wouldn't fit. That I hadn't added enough space to make the dress wearable for me. I wanted a semi-close fit ~ not tight and not loose ~ for this dress. I think I achieved that. 

At first I thought this would be a one and done for this pattern. Then my hand touched another one of the linen/cotton prints, so there will be more. I wore it to work on one of those hot, humid days and it was THE BEST wearing dress. It was comfortable and cool to wear. I was well put together without being overdressed. It was perfect!

So I've made another one and there are two more cut out waiting their turn to be sewn up. THIS is the dress I've been wanting all summer! always more later!


  1. This is lovely and you just look so confident and cool in it. The wonderful thing about a shift dress is how comfortable it is enroute to work, and how well it works with whatever sweater or cardigan jacket you have at work to deal with the inevitable office arctic blast.

  2. Lovely dress, I think you got that fit just right.

  3. The piping was a really nice idea. Perfect summer dress.

  4. I'm amazed at your output and in awe of your finishing details! Also, your finished dressed are much better looking than the bland pattern picture. You're an inspiration!

  5. Oooh, I have that print in my recent stash. Nice to see it made up into a garment. I bought the last of the yardage (6 plus yds) and intend to made a dress and a jacket for a Fall six pack. Your maxi dress looks very chic and cool.
    Theresa in Tucson

  6. The fit on this dress is amazing on you. You really nailed it!!

  7. Love your dress! I am a quilter but I always love to see what kind of garments people are sewing. You really knocked it out of the park on this one!

  8. Really great fit, and nice pairing of fabric and pattern.

  9. Beautiful outcome. You look maaaahvelous!

  10. Love your use of piping. You've said before that it gives the eye a place to rest. I think that's important on a simple design in a complex fabric pattern. Falling simply from neck to toes, it might be tiring to look at. But the simple addition of a solid border on the neckline frames you face and makes it the place to look. I don't know how you do it, but you always have a confident design sense.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. I've made myself 2 dresses from this pattern, and one for a friend, and you're so right about how easy it is, while still being a nice, classic style. Great summer dress. I love your maxi version! I should use an invisible zip in my next one; that would make it easier on and off.

  12. Could you suggest a post for me to look at which shows your alterations to size up? Many thanks

    1. If you put "pattern sandwich" in the search box at the top of my blog (left hand corner) a whole bunch of posts come up that detail how I make changes to my pattern using my TNT dress pattern. Since there are several, you should pick the one that works best for your situation.

  13. That looks like the perfect dress. You did it beautifully! I got to try this one 😊

  14. Yay for hitting the pattern jackpot! It looks so good! And there's nothing like a cool, easy wearing dress on a hot summer day!

  15. Oooo, love that print, Carolyn! Isn't it something how these days we try not to overdress at work? Reflection that that is, you look great and ready for a cute and comfortable day at the office!

  16. This is another lovely maxi to add to your wardobe!

  17. I love this dress! I really like the pattern, have paid no attention to it previously. This is on my pattern wishlist now!

  18. This really is a good dress! There's nothing quite like a dress when it's hot and humid out and you make them look classy! g


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