Little Black Dress

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1609

Last Autumn my mum and I ventured to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace for the first time. I didn't come away with any fabric but I did leave with a free pattern - Simplicity 1609

As black is difficult to photograph and capture pattern details I have included a copy of the line drawings (courtesy of I was initially very cautious about sewing this type of pattern as A-line shift dresses can end up looking tent like on me. However as this was a free pattern I decided I had nothing to lose and gave it a go. 

I sewed this up in a size 14 and treated it as a wearable muslin. The pattern is unlined and I didn't bother with the facings for two reasons. Firstly I altered the neckline; I cut this as a V shaped neckline as I felt that the original design was too high on me. Secondly I was too lazy to cut a new facing pattern piece for a wearable muslin. Instead I finished the neckline and armholes with bias binding. The only other minor alterations I made were to omit the zipper (with my fabric choice it wasn't needed), remove 1" from the top centre back and to shorten the hemline by 3". 

The fabric is a ponte knit purchased from Simply Fabrics in Brixton priced at £3 per metre. Using a knit fabric for this dress did mean that I didn't have to fuss about the fit and construction. If made in a woven I would have to insert a zipper and I am 100% sure I would need to grade out a size on the hips. My last comment is that the pattern has you cut the front out as two pieces with a centre front seam. I felt that this was totally necessary and cut the front piece out on the fold. 

I actually have quite a soft spot for this dress. It is by far one of the least interesting items I have ever sewn in my life but I really like the shaping in the back and being a ponte knit it is so comfortable. Granted it is a bit tent shaped, but with a belt it ends up being quite flattering. This is in frequent rotation in my work wardrobe, often paired with my animal print cover up. In fact I already have some fabric earmarked for another version of this dress.

You can view my Pattern Review here. 

I have another project to blog and another on the sewing table. It's so great to have my sewing mojo back!

Happy Sewing!


  1. This is a cute dress! You are doing a great job.

  2. As someone who is 69, and lived through the original A-line dresses, I still prefer them to the current trend of sheath-like dresses, so long as they are made in a soft fabric that will drape and therefore not be tent-like. I find them comfortable and much more forgiving than a straight-line dress, and can be dressed up or down, as the situation demands. I think you made a great choice in style and fabric. I like the changes you made and think the dress is very flattering. With as bad as my shoulders are now, over the head is better than something with zippers or buttons. Great choice all around. I, as an old soul, would throw on some pearls and sling-backs and feel dressed to to go almost anywhere. You wear it well. Thanks for sharing your results. I am back on The Zone and have already lost 5 lbs. When I get rid of some more, I will tackle this myself.

  3. It looks really nice on you


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