Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I first became aware of Simplicity 9025 when a costume designer made me my very own version for a role in Pirates of Penzance.  The lines of the bodice are lovely.  And it is always fun having costumes made especially for you.  However, sometimes things do not go exactly as expected.  The designer put me in . . . yellow!  The horror!!  In retrospect, it was a very pale yellow with flowers, so it could have been a whole lot worse.  Years later I was put in a polyester mustard yellow which was less than flattering to my skin tone . . . which was SO much worse!

Looking back at the pattern envelope, I cannot decided what this pattern was meant to be.  Is it a bridal gown?  The picture shows a woman holding a bouquet, so perhaps it is.  But the illustration is holding a fan, so perhaps this should have been in the costume category?

The pattern sure has come in handy, though!  Just last year, I used the sleeves to make this velvet dress much more wearable in winter weather.

And then there is my first attempt with this pattern, made of quilting cotton (which was my go-to fabric choice at the time).  As fun as it would be to swan about in a full length princess dress, I thought a shortened version would be much more suitable for daily wear.  Not completely convinced that I wanted to let go of the over-the-top girly style, I added some ribbon and lace.

I remember quite vividly that this dress was my first experience with a failed invisible zipper.  If I had been reading sewing blogs at the time, I would have realized this was not completely my fault.  And with a bit more experience, I never would have attempted this style and expect to zip myself into something this fitted with an invisible zipper – not without an extra set of hands!

Unsure exactly what to do, I made my first lapped zipper with a hand picked zipper.  So much better!

Do you have any failed zipper stories of your own?

Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 9025
Shoes:  Chelsea Crew
Necklace:  Dabby Reid

Bag:  Harveys Seatbelt Bag


  1. Such a sweet, charmingly pretty dress. I tend to think the images on the pattern sleeve were aiming at bridal attire (with a charming note of Georgian style thrown in), but I agree that it's not perfectly clear what their intentions were. Perhaps they wanted their customers to interpret it in their own way, just as you've done with this beautiful dress.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Another lovely dress--blue is your color!

  3. All my zipper stories are failed zipper stories! Hate them with a passion.... I will use them, but it's usually a last resort.

    Love the dress! Feminine, flirty and fun. You look great!

    I remember that pattern in the books. Yes, wedding dress. Back in the late 80's to mid 90's almost any wedding dress could be adapted to costuming. I used bridal pattern all the time for my Victorian costumes. Just the style back then, I guess! Not historically accurate, but good enough at the time, when it was hard to find accurate patterns. But I love how you've adapted it to everyday wear.

  4. You've made this dress so sweet and wearable, but still with a historical edge! I'm with Becky - most of my zippers are fails in one way or another. Except for fly fronts. For some reason I can execute those nearly perfectly!

  5. I've admired your blog for a while...this dress is very pretty. I love blue; it's my favourite colour. Your dresses are inspiring me to sew for myself again. But your slim figure is much better than mine at the moment! I've gained a lot of weight since I used to sew for myself, so that doesn't make it very encouraging to sew again. But I do love looking at your blog! I love your blue purse and shoes too.

  6. Laura Mae, great dress!

    You mentioned quilting cottons, will you give us the pros and cons of sewing garments with that fabric? What ushered you away from using it as a fabric of choice? Which fabrics on the fabric continuum are you currently favoring? Has Britex Fabrics spoiled you (I wear a drool cup when I visit their website)?

    While blue is certainly flattering, I think purple is your color (though a blue-purple might offer complexion nirvana).

  7. This is over the top sweet on you...

  8. Oh my goodness I LOVE THIS DRESS!! It's so charmingly colonial but also completely modern. Looking at that pattern cover I would never guess it could be so cute sewn up! Well done :)

  9. Sorry to comment on an older post, but I'm a little behind on my blog reading. :) I have a question about your zipper story. Are lapped zippers easier to zip up than invisible zippers are on fitted garments? My experience has only been with invisible zippers so I wasn't aware there was a difference in wearability.

    1. Most standard invisible zippers are not very strong. If something is a tad small, you can generally force a standard zipper to close – not an invisible zipper. Also, any seamline bulk (like where the bodice meets the skirt) can make it difficult to close an invisible zipper). I live alone, so I have to reach around my back to zip a back seam closed. That motion expands the shoulders, making it more of challenge to zip a fitted garment.

      In my opinion, the invisible zipper is much more finicky than a standard one. They certainly have their place, but I do think twice about installing one because I have had issues with them in the past!

      They do make bridal invisible zippers which I have never used, but I imagine they must be of better quality.