“It’s meeee, it’s Cathyyyyyy, I’ve come home!!” Just imagine me shrieking Wuthering Heights when you see these pictures because that’s what I’m doing in my mind when I wear this, the most killer date dress I’ve ever made.


The pattern is Simplicity 8637 and I think it deserves to be a mega-hit. For one thing, it has amazing options: just by mixing and matching the sleeve and skirt options, I’m covered for summer weddings almost indefinitely. I can think of at least 3 separate indie patterns you could approximate with this one. For this summer, I felt like making something a little more dramatic (in fact, as a direct result of working on my collection for Design Your Wardrobe) and that great big flounce (and I do mean big) delivers. Fit-wise, I had to shorten it significantly, 4 inches in the skirt and an inch in the bodice plus I’ve narrowed the shoulders slightly. In planning this project, I kept going back and forth about the sleeves. One part of me said ‘sleeveless will get more wear’ but another said ‘go big or go home’. As you can see, I’ve gone the Kate Bush route and I have zero regrets. I feel like a million bucks in this dress. It’s one of those dresses that prompt people to stop you in the street to ask about it. 
This fabric, floral Viscose Twill Fabric in cherry, is completely key: it’s got the weight and drape to make the most of the movement you get in the skirt. It’s also affordable enough for the 4 metres I needed: and I did need 4 full metres! I’m a thrifty cutter, usually coming in well under the recommended requirements but this is exceptionally fabric hungry. I tried to get away with a facing on the bodice but ended up using scraps from stash for a full lining (as recommended) because it really needs that as well. It’s a heavy skirt to haul around and the lining is important. I’ve seen this fabric in all the colourways making the blogger rounds and it’s for good reason - it’s fantastic and a great price. The only thing I would say is that you mustn't skip any stabilising, any stay-stitching or under-stitching: this dress requires the works. 
But then you get the works, right? I don’t get out much in the evening but recently I managed two separate trips to the theatre and wore this both times. I don’t feel overdressed when I wear it with my secondhand clogs but I feel like my best self. The only thing I’m not 100% happy with is the hem: I recently acquired a narrow rolled hem foot, which is perfect for this sort of thing but unfortunately I had trouble going over the seams in the skirt flounce and ended up actually cutting off a partially-perfect hem in order to do a plain old serge-and-turn. I’m going to keep practicing with the foot because the result was fabulous when it was working but very bad indeed when it wasn’t. Live and learn. 
Overall, I’m really proud of it! Thanks for reading!
Jo xx