Sewing Sarah’s Dress

Occasionally, I will indulge in some unselfish sewing.  This year’s unselfish project is this dress for my daughter #2 who now lives across the Atlantic.  Those of you who’ve made things for recipients far away, know much better than I do, the process of long distance sewing when it’s a fitted garment.  But that’s fodder for another blog post.


Here’s a mini recap of how I proceeded.

Fabric: The main fabric is cotton lawn from Mood Fabrics Los Angeles, purchased in 2013.  Yeah, another notch in my stash busting efforts.   The lining is a pink polka dot cotton purchased in the Goldhawk Road area in London.


Pattern: Simplicity 2215, designed by Cynthia Rowley. The button front bodice is lined, but the pleated skirt has pockets but no lining; it has an invisible zipper from just under the arm to halfway down the pocket.  We chose view B, but eliminated the fringe. the skirt gives the illusion of another layer peeking out from under the hem. It’s actually a separate band and not a real lining.  Here is where I diverted the process to underline the entire skirt and extend the polka dot underlining below the dress hem. Why? Because the flowered cotton is on the thin side and needed “support”. See photo below.

Inside out view:   Bodice lined, skirt underlined, zipper on the side

Fitting: I had the good fortune to visit my daughter and son-in-law in the UK. Since she owns several dresses in this style, I bought the Simplicity pattern and took it with me. Armed with her measurements, I tissue fit the bodice on her, did an FBA (full bust adjustment) while still there, and brought the whole thing back home to sew it up. Perfect. The dress is now ready to travel back to the UK. Once fitted, the lined bodice was a breeze to make.

Quirky feature: one weird thing about the skirt was that the pleats are uneven – apparently part of the designer’s vision. It says so on the pattern guide sheet. But once made, it’s not an issue. I guess Cynthia Rowley knows what she’s doing. I’d love to know the story behind the uneven pleats.

What I added:  A touch of comfort when the dress is worn. The inside of the zipper pull & tape is exposed and might be uncomfortable to wear; to counteract, I added a little square of fashion fabric at the top of the zipper on the inside  – actually serged it in along with the seam. Let’s see if that helps.


Error I made (minor): The rule: women’s button front clothing features a right-over-left front closure, the opposite of men’s shirts and jackets.  That’s how it should have been in this dress. Alas, I was careless and created a left-over-right front closure in the bodice. Oh, well.

Finishing up: OK, the owner of the dress really, really wanted pink polka dot buttons on the bodice front, to match the lining. Pink polka dot buttons are available everywhere, but none were in the size needed. After finishing up, I found solid pink buttons gifted to me by my friend Judy, but the large ones were too large and the small ones too small.  So, the dress received white, partially transparent buttons. I added the yellow belt just to style it for the photo.

Now I’m off to do some selfish sewing, although I love making things for my daughters and son-in-law.



10 thoughts on “Sewing Sarah’s Dress

  1. Such a lovely pairing of fabric to pattern. I’ve been meaning to make this for years for my daughter but I might switch and make it for me! Thanks for the construction details.

    Liked by 1 person

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