finished objects · Sewing

Cynthia Rowley dress (Simplicity 2443)

Pattern: Simplicity 2443

Fabric: Ponte de Roma knit from Hancock’s, 2 yards

There is much to be said for the simple dress.  This deviates quite a bit from my usual style, yet I love it!  This is the second Cynthia Rowley design that I’ve sewn (first here,) and I think I might be a fan.  This dress is actually pretty similar to the first – both have skirts that are just gathered rectangeles, and a waistline that falls between the empire and the natural waistlines.  I made this dress because I wanted a simple project, as well as a dress in a neutral color that will work for multiple seasons.

My InStyle magazine this month says that big hair is back – at last, I’m ahead of a trend! (though it should be noted that big hair never left the south, but oh well!)

I love the back of this dress – the racer back is not my usual choice, but it is very flattering.  I cut a straight size 8.  If I were using a stretchier knit I would size down, but this one was pretty stable.   Construction was, for the most part, really simple.  The ponte knit was a dream to sew – now I know why everyone raves over it!  I used my serger for 3/4 of the construction, and my regular machine with a .5 width zigzag for the rest.

One caution though – the straps were really hard to sew to the body of the dress.  I stay-stitched, but then after having to resew the seam several times due to puckers I still got a little stretching.  Oh well though – it’s not so bad, and I’m proud of myself for finishing the tricky step!

After the dress was completed I took the straps up by an inch in front and back.  I like where the waist falls better now.  If I made it again I would make this adjustment before cutting, and deepen the armholes to compensate – you can see where they are a tad short in the front.

This dress feels very much like wearing a t-shirt, which is a good thing.  Now I’m going to make up the jacket from the pattern, and think about getting some other doubleknits for more fall projects!

36 thoughts on “Cynthia Rowley dress (Simplicity 2443)

  1. Very nice! This is next on my list and I’m curious about the zipper–you were planning to leave it off? Did that work out?

    1. I did leave it off – oops, I forgot to mention that! I didn’t interface the waistband (it really doesn’t need it.) It goes on perfectly fine since the whole thing is stretchy. Good luck with yours – it’s a fun dress!

  2. Beautiful in grey, I have used ponte before, it’s nice. Sophia ( is also nice, soft due to rayon. Double knits are wonderful, the stability yet there is just a bit of ease.

  3. I love the kind of “racerback” look to the back of the bodice. It’s somewhat unexpected and really gives the dress a chic feel.

  4. Well this dress turned out fabulous! It is very flattering on you. I haven’t yet sewn with a double knit and I am anxious to try. Nice to see that the results achieved from this pattern are so sophisticated. I’m sure your sewing skills had a lot to do with it too 🙂

  5. I love it! Great style and fit. That last picture looks like a magazine shoot, the lighting is awesome. And you SO do not have big hair. But then again I live in Texas. We definitely have some big hair down here!

  6. I love the elements of this dress. It reminds me of all the dancer dresses that I wanted to wear when I was little before I discovered my love for violin.

  7. You look great – love the shoes also. I have been planning to make this but now I am motivated – looks so comfortable. I was thinking a jersey knit but maybe something more substantial like the ponte.

  8. I love the racer back and the waist band. It looks gorgeous on you. I’d really like to try this one. My fear is that it wouldn’t be very flattering on my figure, but then if I made it in a black or navy … I might just be able to pull it off. Needless to say, YOU look divine in it.

  9. Wow!!! Sexy and stylish — bet you’ll have people stopping to ask where you bought this one! Love the racer back. Love the slightly lifted waistline. Length looks perfect. You look really fantastic.

  10. I had my eye on this pattern — it looks like a beautiful basic pattern that can be made up again and again. Stunning version! Love the gray, the casual elegance.

  11. This is just lovely! I really want to make one – alot of other pattern reviews have said the fit was not so good, and sewing the straps to the bodice near impossible.

    Was it really that difficult for you? Do you recommend the pattern despite the straps issue?

  12. Wow – this is so beautifully made and looks gorgeous on you! I think I actually said ‘oh wow’ to myself as the photos loaded! I’m so impressed – your posts always make me want to give sewing clothes another try, but I’m still a little too chicken. 🙂

  13. Love the dress (and your blog!) How do you hem your knit dresses? I have been zig-zagging the raw egde, turning up, and top stitching or zig-zagging. After I wash it, the hem rolls — have you avoided this problem?

    Dress looks great on you – very flattering!

  14. Absolutely beautiful. I was just looking at the Cynthia Rowley patterns the other night online. As a brand-new sewer, though, they seem a bit advanced for me now, but maybe one day…..

  15. What size did you use? Im having trouble picking the correct size & Im about your size. Thanks! Its first time using store patterns.

  16. I looked at this pattern a while back and was very unsure, but seeing it done, I think I’m a fan! I may very well have to work out it’s construction myself at some point very soon. well done, lovely dress xxx

  17. Hi Jessica! I know you made this pattern ages ago but I love your blog and your versions of the dress and was wondering if you could help me with a quick question. I am new to sewing knits and I am confused about something. I decided to leave out the zipper because quite a few reviewers said it was unnecessary. However I hae completed the bodice and can barely get it over my head? The waistband has almost no stretch width wise. I cut the waistband pieces so the stretch is going up and down as indicated. I used a thick soft knit of some sort. Do you think if I re cut the waistband with the stretch going across the waist instead it would remedy my problem or would it just be way too stretchy and shapeless? I hope that makes
    sense. I really appreciate any response and I will not hold you to the advice, I just thought you might be able to help since you have made 2 beautiful versions of this dress. I love your blog! Hope the house is coming along. Thanks, carrie

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