Finished: Simplicity 1913, the long time coming dress

27 Feb

This dress really was a long time coming – I really need to get better at actually finishing things! I think I started cutting it out when I was still doing my dressmaking course, which was probably sometime back in May. I then took a day off work to do some Sewing in August, and got it all done, other than the zip and the hem. I finally got round to putting the zip in sometime after that, but didn’t finish the top of it off, a friend who came to visit tried it on, and told me that if I didn’t finish it soon she was going to take it, and banned me from starting another sewing project until I’d finished it. I then made a Kelly skirt. Finally, sometime probably November/December, I finished off the zip and the hem. Seriously, why did it take me so long?! I could have had an extra 4 months or so wear out of it! I’ll learn, one day I’ll learn!


Squinty-squinty photos again. These pics aren’t the best, but if I wait til I can get some more, you’ll probably be waiting another 8 months to see this dress!

Anyway, it’s done now, and I wore it for the first time on Christmas day.

The pattern is Simplicity 1913, which came free with SEW magazine some months ago. The examples they showed in the magazine showed a couple of different looks for this dress – I was going for the more floaty, casual look, so I went for the flared skirt option.


I made it up in a size 12 (the smallest size of the one that came free), but what is odd is that the fit on this is nowhere near as big as my first dress (simplicity 1803) is. And I mean, there’s a huge difference – I took in 1803 quite a lot, and it’s still miles too big; on this one, there was actually a point when I thought it might be too small! Same pattern company, same amount of ease given for each pattern, no idea why!


The fabric I used is yet more stuff I got in my freecycle haul. I have no idea what it is. I’ll do a burn test when I get a chance. It’s very soft, and has a very slight stretch to it as well. The bodice is lined with some plain black cotton and the skirt is unlined.



When I sewed the skirt panels together, it turns out that I forgot to set my stitch length back to what it should be after basting the sleeves. As a result, the seams weren’t great as the stitches were too long. Probably one of the reasons it took me so long to finish! Eventually I went over the seams with a shorter stitch, which kind of worked. At that point I decided that no one was going to look at the seams too closely and just wanted to get the damn thing finished!


The hem was another thing I put off for a while. In the end, I decided to just do a rolled hem on my overlocked. It was much quicker, and I actually really like the look, it gives it more of a curvy shape at the bottom. I also tried overlocking the skirt seams to finish them, but try as I might, I could not get the tension right to create stitches that actually worked. In the end I gave up. The seams might still be unfinished. Maybe.

All in all, not my most perfectly executed dress, I think it just took me so long to actually finish that I stopped caring and just wanted to get it done! Another reason I should finish things when I start them!

The one thing I would like to learn how to do better though is finished off the top of the zip. I used an invisible zip and,because I don’t particularly like them (and am not very good at sewing them on), I opted not to put a hook and eye on, but just moved the zip up, so that it finished right at the top of the dress. I then had the tapes sticking out the top of the dress and wasn’t sure what to do with them. I couldn’t seem to find much help as to how to do it, and just ended up folding them over the top and stitching them down by hand, but I’m sure there must be a better way – do you have a neater way of doing it? Or do I just need to suck it up and sew the hook and eye onto dresses?!

On another note, I’m heading to Goldhawk Road on Saturday with some other sewing bloggers, and some non-blogger sewing friends. If you’re around and fancy joining us for a spot of fabric shopping, or a drink afterwards, then let me know :) it’s been way too long since I’ve been fabric shopping, I can’t wait!


10 Responses to “Finished: Simplicity 1913, the long time coming dress”

  1. Vairë Gwîr February 27, 2014 at 14:31 #

    That dress looks really good on you! What you say about sizing sounds quite odd indeed. I’ve only used the big 4 thrice (1 McCalls and 2 Simplicity), and I think the sizing was consistent, but I may have been just lucky.

    • Kelly March 20, 2014 at 18:43 #

      Thank you Vairë :) it is very odd. I think I’ll measure the actual pattern pieces next time!

  2. Claire (iwanttobeaturtle) February 27, 2014 at 16:37 #

    We all have projects that take forever! I’m glad you persevered though – it is a lovely dress. The flowers are very pretty. I don’t have much experience with Simplicity but it sounds odd that you found such a difference.

    • Kelly March 20, 2014 at 18:42 #

      Thanks Claire :) yeah, the sizing was odd, but then I’ve learnt not to trust big 4 sizing too much at all…

  3. J Govan Designs February 27, 2014 at 16:55 #

    Love it!

  4. Ruth February 27, 2014 at 20:30 #

    I totally know what you mean about things taking so long that you just want them to be finished – I get like that too! It looks lovely from the outside though, and you’re right that nobody is going to be looking too closely at your seams. And I can’t help you with the zip finishing I’m afraid because I did exactly the same thing as you with a zip recently! So I could probably do with a better solution too!

    • Kelly March 20, 2014 at 18:41 #

      Haha, yep, I just needed to get it done! I’ll let you know if I find a good way!

  5. Daniela M. February 28, 2014 at 17:28 #

    Well done in keeping going :) Your dress looks just lovely and it will be perfect for spring! I have this zipper tutorial on my pinterest board:
    I haven’t tried it yet, but it is a tutorial for an invisible zipper that finishes at the neckline.
    See you tomorrow!

    • Kelly March 20, 2014 at 18:40 #

      Thanks Daniela! Yes, I think it is a bit of a spring dress :) ooh, I’ll have to check out that tutorial, thanks! It was lovely to meet you by the way :)

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