It goes without saying that my December review had to be a Christmas dress that Mrs Clause would be proud of. This dress is the most significant make in my sewing calendar and one which a lot of serious consideration has to go into to ensure maximum wearing delight! It has to be suitably festive and flamboyant, and have enough expansion room for over indulgences on the big day.

Bearing the above in mind when perusing the many, many options on the Minerva Crafts website, I hit the jackpot when I spotted this Christmas themed, novelty print Cotton Fabric. Red and cream, polka dot and GLITTERY festive shapes! There are two colour ways available – red print on a cream background and vice versa. I opted for the cream background colour but chose a red Bias Binding to trim my dress and red buttons for the bodice.

The pattern I chose was Simplicity 8732 which is a fairly new release, and is from one of Simplicity’s ‘1950s vintage’ designs. Although I do sew quite a lot of 50s style dresses, I haven’t sewn one in this shape before with a high waist and buttoned bodice so I wanted to give it a go. I decided to make ‘view A’ which has a pleated, button fastened bodice with collar, kimono type sleeves and a full skirt.  The bodice/skirt join is not quite empire line but still a few inches above the natural waistline. One note about the pattern when you’re buying your supplies, on the envelope it says you need a zip, which normally means dress zip, but on the instructions it states invisible zip. I had already got my dress zip so continued to use that, which wasn’t a problem in my opinion although the bias binding around the waist would have lain flatter on the one fold of the invisible zip rather then the double for a lapped zip that I did.

The fabric was great to sew with, just what you would expect from a broadcloth – stable and predictable. I was cautious about the gold glitter print in case it didn’t respond well to being washed or ironed but I can confirm it was not affected by either, and still looked as bright and shiny after being thoroughly handled and pressed as it did when it first arrived with me. I would suggest though that you use a brand new (so that it’s at it’s maximum sharpness) and slightly heavier needle in your machine than you might have for a standard cotton because the glittery areas are quite thick so you want to be able to sew through it without worrying about a jam.

The dress is a fairly simple construction with just bust pleats and no sleeves to set in as they are kimono style so cut as part of the bodice piece. The step I had to spend the most time on was the fit. The top of the skirt is encased in the bias binding and then the bodice attached behind, so once your binding is on you don’t want to have to make any adjustments when matching it to your skirt. I would make sure that your bodice fits perfectly and matches up to the skirt waist before adding the binding.

I would recommend adding a line of stay stitching to the top of each of your skirt pieces as where the skirt is quite long I was concerned that there might be some stretch when doing fittings.

The pattern has the bias binding around the edge of the collar, which adds a lovely contrast to the edge but when attaching mine I couldn’t ease it around the collar corner enough to have it laying flat so I have put a tiny fold in at the outer corner edge.

The dress length of the pattern was very long as always, so even taking into account the 2 inch hem I still shortened it quite a lot. The pattern illustration suggests the length to be mid calf however I didn’t feel this was the most flattering length especially with the high waist so I amended it to be just under the knee - so that the body to leg ratio was more evenly spread! Just below the knee was perfect length for me and I was pleasantly surprised with how ‘skimming’ and flattering the style was on as initially I wasn’t sure if the flat waist and mid-riff area would cling where you didn’t want it to, but the 1950’s style wins again!

I think I’ve done my Christmas dress justice this year as I’m thrilled with the final look – bring on the Christmas celebrations! The pattern and fabric were both lovely to work with. You can’t beat a glittery fabric at Christmas and the pattern is one I would really recommend for being straight forward but with a stylish final product.

Thank you for reading and happy sewing!



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