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Simplicity 8342 Summer Sewing Challenge Entry.


I was really pleased when I heard that Simplicity New Look were holding another sewing challenge. To celebrate 90 years of creative sewing they launched a competition for all to create and share an item of clothing from a choice of 5 patterns.

I  loved pattern 8383 the most, but as this pattern was for newcomers I was unable to choose it. This left the decision between the Vintage Make and the Dressmaker patterns (as I did not want the Childrenswear or Menswear pattern), and in the end I opted for the Vintage Make pattern as I preferred the jersey top on this and decided that I could hack it into a dress with the addition of a contrasting jersey skirt.

I have some jersey fabrics in my sewing stash, but for this project I needed two pieces that would work together, so a little shopping trip into Leicester was required (shame …not)! and the result was this pretty Autumnal berry coloured super soft jersey for the top and a matching berry floral design on a dark background for the skirt. These little gems were from Stuart’s Fabrics on Leicester Market, he has some great jersey fabric at the moment.



The pattern is a great one to have. There are 2 versions of the tie front top – either a halter neck or tiny cap sleeves. Also included is a ruffled wiggle skirt and cropped pedal pushers. I stuck to the tie front top and knew that I wanted to hack it into a dress as that way I would get more wear out of it.

The construction of the top is straightforward, as usual with Simplicity, and it took very little time to cut out and sew up. There were no surprises and nothing complicated. I cut a straight size 12 and the only alteration I made was to shorten the length of the shoulder straps by about 3.5 cm as they felt a little too long as they were.

In order to make it into a dress though,  I now needed to take off about 11 or 12 cm from the length of the body. A bit drastic, but this means that the waist seam of the dress sits on my natural waist. By the way, I loved the length of it as a top, and had I been leaving it as a top it would have been the perfect length – not too short and not too long!



The skirt was easy to add. A simple full or half circle skirt is fun, and gathers was also something I considered.  But in the end I simply chose a skirt from a  dress pattern that I have already made and used that! I simply stitched it to the top, made a casing for some elastic from the seam allowance, popped in the elastic to give a very subtle gather, and it was done!

I love a dress without fastenings that you can throw over your head and you’re good to go. Hooray for jersey knits!

Although all the detail in the design is focussed on the front of the top, the back is pretty to look at too. A small amount of gathering across the back allows for a comfortable fit and makes sure it stays in place!



Thank you to Simplicity New Look for the pattern, and congratulations on your 90th celebrations. It’s been fun trying to decide how to be creative with this pattern, and lots more inspiration can be found on social media using the hashtag #SimplicityTurns90

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x



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