The goal for my Marimekko dress was simple: I wanted to make a dress with Marimekko fabric that adhered to Marimekko’s aesthetic, so picking the right pattern was important. I needed something with simple, clean lines that showcased the print of the fabric and didn’t interrupt it too much. Enter Simplicity 1776!
There are things that I liked and things I didn’t like about this pattern, some of which I could pick up from just looking at the design and most of which I only figured once the first muslin was on me.
- The simple shift looks like a more wearable riff on the inspiration for this dress.
- Came with sleeve options that were not really my style but I could alter to make a cute little cap sleeve if I wanted.
- It looks easy as cake to put together and would allow me to practice my zipper insertion and seam finishing.
- This pattern carries a whole lotta ease! So much so that I wondered if I cut my muslin two sizes up.
- No contour darts in the front; only bust darts. So that whole circus tent effect that I was trying to avoid? Marginally diminished in this design.
- Not enough room to fit my hips/butt, so my first muslin pulled a lot and was generally unflattering south of my waist.
- Weird gaping at the armscye because my bust is large and just pulls everything in weird directions.
- Gaping neckline; see above for cause.
Lucky for me, 2 courses in pattern drafting over 6 years ago armed me with a lot of confidence/chutzpah to alter my pattern to fix all of the fit issues.
Fit issues, tackled one at a time:
- Inserted contour darts: I just traced the darts from the back piece to the front piece, so both had identical darts about 1/2″ deep at the waist. Once the muslin was on the dress form, I turned those 1/2″ darts into 1″ darts because it was still too baggy for my taste.
- Too-tight hips: Since I didn’t need an extraordinary amount of extra ease at the hips, I added 1″ at the side front hemline and graded it to the waistline. This fixed the too-tight hips AND changed the skirt’s shape from square and boring to a bit more flared and cartoony (in a good way).
- Weird gaping at armscye and neckline: I’ve altered enough patterns to know my large bust was the cause of this problem. I just drew a 1/4″ deep dart from apex to armcsye and another 1/4″ deep dart from apex to neckline. While I was at it, I also took in another 1/2″ from apex to center bust to give myself a shapelier bust and avoid a weird uniboob effect. I transferred all of these darts to my preexisting bust dart to keep things neat.
After trying on my pattern adjustments with a second muslin, I was all ready to cut into my fabric and start sewing. I’ll share my progress on the next post…