crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Simplicity 1881: ready for drinks on the forward deck


Pattern: Simplicity 1881, view A

Fabric: Cotton/lycra jersey from fashion fabrics club (long since sold out)

Notions: Bias hem binding tape


My husband was out of town all weekend at a Scrabble tournament.  As any of you with spouses know, a weekend alone can be a great time to hibernate and churn out some clothes in your private sweatshop (literally – my attic is hot!)  Before I knew it, I was finishing this up last night when he got home at midnight.

I bought this fabric a year or two ago.  Initially I was pretty excited by it, as it was a great deal (the same fabric was at Emma onesock for $18 a yard, and I paid considerably less!)  But then I was like “Self, what am I going to do with this crazy fabric?  I like colors, but I don’t want to look crazy!)  So I put it away in a bin and forgot about it until this year.  I’m seeing a lot of these big bold prints right now, so I thought why now?  I love a print maxi!

This is a new pattern – I haven’t seen any reviews yet.  I was attracted to the view with the mullet hem (long in back, short in front) but it wouldn’t work here as my fabric is white on the wrong side.  I almost made the high neckline, as I’ve always avoided halters.  I have always had a bony back and shoulders, and I don’t love exposing that part of me.  But I’ve been working out, and now I have actual muscle tone there (well, and I’m still bony, but that’s ok) so I decided to go for it and take a risk!

The pattern is pretty straightforward, but I do have a few notes.  The biggest is on the way the elastic is attached.  As I mentioned yesterday, it uses a bias hem tape to create a double casing for the elastic – pretty heavy duty!

Even with the elastic, I found that I needed to take the sides in a bit (keep in mind that I lost the elastic guide, so mine may have been too long.)  I cut a 6, which is smaller than I would usually cut, and then took it in more.  This is mostly a result of my desire to make the top secure – I wanted it to fit tightly!  I find that knits in general need to be cut small – the size guide doesn’t always take into account the stretch, and of course every knit is different (mine is pretty stretchy.)

I did not line the midriff.  I just cut an extra out of the fashion fabric and treated it as a sew in interfacing.  I don’t care how the inside looks enough to mess with three layers there!

Here is the back with the extra width taken out:

I am 5’8″ tall and the length is perfect for me without a hem (I don’t hem maxis, so long as they are hanging nicely.)  The cup size of the bodice is fine for my B cup, but would need adjusting for any larger size.  The straps could be longer – I would like a little of the tails to cover the big open space in the back.

I’m very pleased over all.  I can’t really review any of the other instructions because I didn’t use them (though I will say – a zipper?  Not needed.  I didn’t use one.)  I have no earthly clue where I’m going to wear this thing, but if anyone invites me to a tropical luau I am set!


31 thoughts on “Simplicity 1881: ready for drinks on the forward deck

  1. Thank you for the review. I was just reading the instructions for this pattern last night and was considering leaving out the zipper. Your dress looks stunning. I think this just moved to the top of my to do list.

  2. Fantastic. I hope you get a chance to wear this dress. It’s really beautiful. I do understand the need to make sure a halter dress stays put! Great work.

  3. That maxi is terrific! Now all you have to do is purchase the yacht to go with it – it does count as an accessory, doesn’t it?

  4. What a great maxi! I got some of this fabric, too, and I love it. I think you found the right pattern for it.

  5. Bangin body! Good on u for having the motivation to work out. I’m so lazy, my membership expired as I didn’t bother renewing it 😦

    This maxi dress is hot! The print is awesome!!!! Very pretty.

  6. Oh I love it! The fabric is so fabulous and it definitely sets the mood for something islandy. Oh to be in Hawaii! You look great in it and what’s all this about your bony back – nonsense! Your back looks marvelous in this dress! Love it all round!
    xoxo, Sunni

  7. I had the same fabric, bought from EOS. I made a cowl neck top, which worked out brilliantly and doesn’t look too garish. I did not reinforce anywhere, and the neck has stretched out. I almost reveal my bra when I’m wearing it now! I’d like to know how your wears.

  8. You look fabulous in that dress. I hope you wear it all summer long! Thanks for the nice detail photos on the elastic.

  9. You look awesome in that dress! I bought the same pattern last year and held onto it till I found the perfect fabric, cut it out and now the instructions are missing! Simplicity discontinued it and the instructions are no longer available. Do you or anyone else out there still have this pattern? Could you send a photo of the instructions to please.

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