Simplicity 8511 Dress

Hi Everyone!

Well I finished my first goal of 2018!  At the top of my list was Simplicity 8511


I had decided to do view A.  To me working in an office, I thought the sleeves would work best for me.  I am sitting most of the day working with numbers, I know fun, right!


The fabric suggestions were:

Cotton Type, Crepe, Back Satin, Dupioni, Jacquards, lightweight Linen, or Taffeta.

I have recently ordered this great color CobaltBlue cotton yarn fabric from Fabric Mart.


I thought this dress would be so cute in the cobolt blue, with the sleeves and neckline being in the lighter turquoise color.  I really don’t know where the turquoise color fabric came from and I only had 1/2 yard of the turquoise.

Off to work!

Pattern Cutting:

I cut out a size 14 for my neck and graded to a 16 for waist and an 18 for hips.  This dress looked like it had more ease than it did: hint to self – next time check the final garment measurements instead of assuming.   So much to check.

I did lengthen the dress by 2″, I am 5’6″ tall and wanted it to come to my knee.  As you can see the darts are different then normal darts, but I really liked how these darts shaped my side bust area.  The back has a fish eye dart.

Surprisingly I did not have to do an FBA (Full Bust Adj), which I am currently running a D size right now.  I did do some flat pattern measurements and all seemed ok.


Fabric Cutting:

Well cutting out the fabric after washing, drying and ironing, I noticed that the fabric tended to wrinkle a lot.  So instead of lining the dress, I decided to take the lining and actually underling the dress.  I cut the same pieces out of the lining and sewed them to my fashion fabric at 3/8″ (simplicity uses 5/8″ seam allowances).  This made the lining and the fashion fabric act as one piece of fabric.

By doing that, it drastically cut out a lot of the wrinkling.

While cutting, I realized that I did not have enough fabric for the sleeve in either color.  So time to create my own sleeve band.

I drafted just a basic band for the sleeve instead of using the pattern sleeve (truthfully, I like mine better!, just saying).

I then pinned the dress together on my sized to me mannequin to make sure it would fit and look right with the new sleeve.

I like it, time to sew.


This was really simple to sew and came together fairly quickly.  The instructions were clear, except for the skirt vent.  I had to watch the wonderful Colleen G. Lea with FSBTV You Tube video on Sewing a Vent that she published in 2012.

It worked like a charm, thank you Colleen!!!!

The dress called for an invisible zipper and thanks to the Craftsy class “Mastering Construction: Zippers & Waistbands” with Sara Alm, I have finally found the best way to put zippers in.  I love putting in zippers.  She finally made video’s that explained everything.  She had you work with small samples and let me tell you, I find them so easy to put in now.  Thanks Sara!

Just a note, this is my own personal opinion, I did pay for the class.  I have about 65 classes, not watched them all.  I do have ones I don’t like, but this one was worth the money I paid in my opinion for me.  Her teaching on this best suited my style.

I did not line the dress since I underlined the dress.  To tight on the mannequin, I should have known then that there was an issue.  I did use my Serger for all the seam finishing.

I also stitched in the ditch for the collar and neckline.  I did not like the facing flapping all over and securing it at the shoulder seams did not help keep it down.  You can’t even tell with the stitch in the ditch method.


I love this dress and it is so my style, simple and easy.  But it is too tight in the hips.  Darn you Ben & Jerry Ice Cream!!!!!

But with my weight fluctuations, I know that will eventually get in this dress and when I do — watch out!!

I do like the front darts and I think they help shape the body nicely.

Don’t mind the little head at the bottom of some pictures, No that is not your imagination, that is my little one trying to see himself on the tablet too!!!!

In all, this dress will definitely be worn a lot when I am in that size range.  Good fit on shoulders, chest and neckline.  Since I did serge I cut off excess fabric so I can’t add more room in hips.

I hate making muslins and with my weight fluctuating so much, I really don’t feel the need to most of the time.

Well, until next time!



Sewing with your Weight Flutuations

Hi Everyone

Well I don’t know about you, but I know that my biggest challenge in sewing has been my weight.

weight gain

I know that sewing offers so much more opportunity to adjust to your weight than buying RTW clothes.

But now a days, it seems that by the time I get done making something, it is too tight.

The reason why, weight gain.  I am beginning to research how to let pants out, lol:)

let pants out

For me, weight has always been an obession of mine.  Coming from a long line of heridetary fat genes on both sides, it is hard not to be concerned.

I go between a size 6 an a size 16 all the time.  For instance, if I do:

1200 calories a day and workout 2.5 hours a day, I can be a size 6 (usually that only lasts about 2 weeks).

I can be a size 8 if I do between 1.5 and 1 hours a day with 1200 calories a day.

A size 10 (which was my norm) by working out 1 hour a day with 1200-1400 calories a day.

A size 12 with 1 hour a day and 1500 to 1800 calories a day.

If I stop working out, but just try to walk here an there and eat whatever I want, well, I just keep going up.  This is what I have been doing, going up.  I am almost to a size 16.

Here is one of my skinnier dresses I made when I was a size 8 in RTW about 4 years ago.

skinny dress

Now that I am 41, I am realizing that a number means nothing.  It is how you feel.  But the problem is, I don’t feel well.  I can’t really run with my almost 3 year old and my back is giving me problems for not being strong enough to carry little one around.

So for this year, I have put together some goals for 2018:

Try to be healthier.  I am currently a size 14 in RTW about to head to a 16, because everything is tight.  I refuse to get on the scale.  Do this by watching what I eat without being obsessive, and trying to fit in workouts when I can.  This does not mean a specific number, but by monitoring how I feel.  healthy

Since I am not going to pay attention to numbers, I will need to be more cautious of what garments I am going to sew.  So I have decided to make a wish list of items that would work with my body type, both high and low.


Here are the garments that I think would work best for me:

  • Simplicity 8511 – Shift Dress – I think this works good because it allows for extra room.  Then if I lose weight, I can always add a belt to cinch the waist.


  • Simplicity 8465 – Knit Top – This is knit, need I say more???


  • Concord T-Shirt from Cashmerette -T-Shirts are great staples for me, espically on the weekend, and it’s knit.


  • Dartmouth Top from Cashmerette – Another knit that I feel helps shape the body with the V-neck and wrap.


  • Mcalls M7121 – Long Maxi Dress – I live in Maxi dresses in the summer and they fit so great whether small or large.  Also another knit garment.


  • Charlie Caftan Pattern from Closet Case Patterns – Everyone did this one last summer, taking a closer look at it, I can see why.  It looks so comfortable and again will work whether big or small.


  • Kelly Anorak Jacket from Closet Case Patterns – I love this jacket, I need a nice comfortable fall jacket and this one looks like it could fit many sizes.


  • Bombshell Swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns – Hmmmm taking a risk with this one, but it’s a one piece.  I have such a long torso, that I have never been able to find a one piece.  So excited to make this one!!!


  • Mid-Rise Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns –  I did make these already and they were great, but were super tight, as I had put on weight from start to finish.  But I seen a pair of Liz Clairborne in JCP and they have stretch elastic all within the waistband.  So I might add this to mine.  Also instead of long jeans, I am thinking that I am going to make them capris’ as I live in those all summer.
  • Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio –  Yet another Knit.  I like these for Spring and Fall.  This one looks like you can leave it open, so again will work with weight gain or loss.


  • Mcalls 7364 – Relaxed pants.  I really like these for summer.  Here in Michigan we get so many warm days and my little one likes to play outside.  They look like elastic around the waist, so these should be comfortable and allow me to chase the little one around.


  • Sequoia Cargos & Shorts from Itch to Stitch –  I am not sure these will work for me, but they sure look comfortable.  I like that they are from a knit.


  • Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet – for Spring.  I love my Blackwood cardigan I made and wear them daily.  So for Spring/Summer I think I am going to make out of a real light sweater knit and shorten the sleeves to 3/4.


  • Brasov Warp Top from Itch to Stitch –  Yes, I made this already, but I love how it covers you up.  I can bend down and nothing is hanging out, if you get my drift, lol.  With a little one, that is a necessity.  I do find myself wearing mine at least once a week, so yes, I need another one.  It is also a knit.


  • Lago Tank from Itch to Stitch – I love tank tops for summer.  I like the fact that I can sew and make the neckline higher.  Again so nothing hangs out.  Everything in RTW is always so low!!!


  • Slimfit Raglan from Patterns for Pirates –  A knit, surprise, surprise!!


  • Kerry Cargo Pant from Style Arc –  These look cool and comfortable, may not add all pockets to keep the bulk down, but will try anyways.


  • Vouge 9299 Misses Top and Belt –  This dress looks so cute, so I will have to give it a try!

Here is my 2018 wishlist.

My final thoughts on this.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on losing or gaining weight.  I have been up and down for so long that it doesn’t really matter.

I have tried the so called “Lifestyle” change, but hey for me it doesn’t work.  I have the hardest time being consistent and maintaining.  Here I am at 41 and realizing, that this is just the way life is, take it or leave it.  One day your up and one day your down.

So for me, this is going to be a journey to do the best that I can do.  I will try each day with the best intentions, but hey, if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay.

So instead of beating myself up, I am going to use sewing to benefit me.  Sewing gives me such therapeutic care that I don’t want to stop.

So instead of making what’s on trend or what I think looks cute, I will take greater care to select garments that will work with me, small or big.  Garments that I know will fit weather I am small or big by the time I get done sewing, even if it ends up on the UFO pile, lol.

So come along and see where this journey takes me!!!