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Now that the summer weather is coming, I am continually on the lookout for new patterns for summer dresses to try. I am totally excited to see that over on Instagram, an event called #patternswap19 is happening in the next couple of weeks. Run by two instagrammers, the idea is that you sort out sewing patterns that you do not want, and swap them for patterns that you would like from other sewists. There are prizes for finished makes. Last year, I got 3 patterns from the swap, a dog coat pattern that I made for a friend, a child’s dress pattern that I made up as a princess dress for E (see it here) and The Simple Sew Zoe dress and top pattern.
The Simple Sew Zoe Dress and Top
The Simple Sew Zoe dress and top pattern is marked as a pattern for a beginner. It gives finished garment measurements on the back, which I always find so useful. I always make a wearable toile (find out why in this post) , but it does still amaze me how much I have to adjust patterns sometimes.
The pattern comes in size 8-20. Suggested suitable fabrics include denim, chambray, medium to heavyweight cottons, linen blends, tweeds and corduroys. I had some lovely yet cheap denim chambray, so decided to make a wearable toile in this summery fabric.
The layout and cutting plan in the instructions for the dress are really easy to work out and see. There are only 6 pieces to cut out in the dress. The dress on the front of the pattern has one pocket, but I decided to double up and cut two. The more pockets the better for me as a mum.
Sewing Up The Pattern
Sewing up the Simple Sew Zoe dress and top is also really quite easy. Not only are the instructions really good, but all my cut pattern pieces went together perfectly. The front and back panels are both sewn together to make a seam down the centre front and back of the garment. This means that you may prefer to pattern match if you choose a large pattern. Or you could make the offset pattern a feature.
Also, you are instructed to top stitch the centre front and centre back seams. This makes a really lovely feature. In fact there is a lot of top stitching on this dress. As you also need to top stitch when attaching the facing at the neckline. And when adding the cuffs to the cap sleeve. It really does give the dress a lovely finish.
I added both pockets as marked on the pattern, so they were evenly spaced over the side seam at the end. Again the pockets are topstitched into place.
The Finished Dress
I love this dress. It is a brilliant example of a beginners pattern, as it is very easy to make. For a more expert sewist I am sure it can be made in a couple of hours quite easily. It is also incredibly easy to wear. A pull over the head, throw-over style. Even suits me as a larger size 18 lady. It’s perfect for those summer days that we are promised.
However, I actually found with my toile that the pockets were too far towards the back for my liking. I have made the dress again since and have moved both pockets further to the front of the garment. Yet still positioned just over the side seams at the outer pocket.
I also found the dress to be quite long. It is below the knee by a number of inches. Even though the front of the pattern shows the design as being knee length. This does not bother me, but you may wish it to be shorter.
I have yet to try and make it in a tweed or corduroy version. I can see how this would work, but I don’t think that those fabrics would suit me in this pattern.
And I haven’t made the top from this pattern either. It uses the same pattern pieces. The only difference is that the main dress pieces are cropped to get the top. So the fit and sewing instructions are pretty much the same. I think if I were making it though, I would wish it to be tunic length with the same two pockets. I just have to have pockets!
Fancy getting your hands on this pattern? Buy it here!
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