Not All Sunshine: Simplicity 8013

I don’t really subscribe to the Birthday Dress trend in the sewing community. But, I’m turning 32+8 next week and taking a little mini break to Santa Fe with Jordan.  I thought it would be nice to have something fabulous to wear to dinner. I chose Simplicity 8013 because it’s stunning. But, also because it’s a 70s pattern. I was born in ’76 I love a little joke whenever possible.

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The reviews for this dress aren’t extensive.  I noticed that several were baggy in the bust or low enough that people wore chemises underneath. With that in mind, I made up the 12 bodice (which measures 37 at the bust), made my 1.5 inch FBA and pinned it onto my dress form (which I padded out using these instructions from Dritz).

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Paper Fit #1

I felt pretty good about the fit and decided to make the lining first so I could test it out. After sewing up the the bodice lining (not shown) I decided to add  another .5 inches to the FBA  (this is drafted for a B and I’m a G/DDDD) and raise the neckline by 1/2 inch.

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Muslin #2

For good measure, I of course tried it on myself. Not bad, eh? I thought I’d raise the neckline another 1/2 inch to keep the girls covered and and another 1/4 inch FBA based on the muslin below.

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Muslin #3

So, I confidently cut into my fashion fabric and was rewarded with a hard slap in the face. What in the hell is this gapey mess? I feel like I’ve been betrayed.

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I don’t know what happened. But, once I cut into my fashion fabric the bodice was horrible. Too much fabric, yet not enough bust coverage and weirdly small bodice too.

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Gah. It looks like Sadness from Inside Out.




Seems like this will be a Christmas 2016 dress rather than the milestone dress I planned. Luckily, I have just enough fabric to try again. But, I’m clearly going back to the drawing board.

On a positive note, my Chantelle bra matches my skin tone really well -_-

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Good lord that’s hideous.



  1. I am sure if you think it through you will figure out what went wrong. Different fabric attributes? Did you really make the bodice with all the adjustments you used on the lining? You’re a champ, you will figure it out. Good luck, and have a fabulous trip!

    • Like you, I think it’s possible I used the wrong altered pattern. Or, my sewing mojo is so neglected it’s up and moved out. Sigh.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 9:26 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. I have literally laughed out loud! Thanks for sharing that, one thing I love about the sewing community is the sharing of the good and bad! We all have wadders but hopefully you will resolve the problem!

    • Thank you! I always worry my sense of humor just comes across as sardonic 🙂 It’s too bad I didn’t photo my last fail. It was the Sewaholic Cypress cape and it looked like it was from the Grim Reaper’s collection.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 9:31 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  3. NOOOOOO. bot god you’re funny. do you think maybe the placement of the flowers are adding to the issue, visually? the flowers recede as the gray expands? that’s crazy that the fit would be so different!

    • I think you and Jasika are going to beat me to this. I might pick it up again for my anniversary in October. But, for now, into a bag it goes. You are completely right though. I didn’t think about the flower placement and am disappointed more aren’t showing at the front. I think it doesn’t help at all. It just looks kind of sad.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 9:39 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • First of all…did I know that we have birthdays that are in the same vicinity?? Because mine is the 10th (this Sunday) of April! SO yours must be really close!!!! YAY, ARIES! Also it is totally cracking me up that you don’t really subscribe to the “Birthday Dress” make for yourself but you made one, and making special birthday outfits for myself is my FAVORITE THING ever and yet I have nothing planned at all! Also, I am so glad that this happens to other people, where you make all these adjustments and put in all the work only to sew it up and have it not reflect anything that you just did. It’s like you have a sewing blackout and then you wake up and everything has gone haywire. I have those more often than I would like to admit. I am still waiting for a fabric to jump out and grab me for this pattern, which hasn’t happened yet, so you might beat me to the finish line yet, but I am planning on hunting OONA/MARCY down when I am in NYC in June so maybe something perfect will fall into my lap with her good fabric mojo…!

  4. Makes me wonder what will happen when you put the fashion fabric in the lining together. If you’re going to scrap that bodice anyway, why not trying to assemble that one with the lining and see what happens. I can’t tell from the photo of the drape of the fashion fabric. I wonder if that’s the difference. I wonder if you could use a lining with more body. Just some thoughts.

    • I think it’s a poly crepe de chine if I remember correctly. I need to find something with the same slip when I redo my alterations and muslin. The lining is a black Bemberg. I thought 8 yards of polyester deserved some breathable lining!

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 9:40 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. I know exactly how you feel!! Keep pushing…. I’m sure this will turn out beautifully 🙂

    Have a great trip for your birthday!

  6. I’ll bet it is the difference between a crisp muslin fabric and the softer slippery fashion fabric. I would be crying too.

    • Yep, I think the muslin fooled me with it’s properties. And having something with more slip showed how the fit should really be. Back to the cutting table!

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 10:01 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  7. I’m sending good thoughts that this is just a temporary setback. The fabric, pattern, and wearer are gorgeous. I want to make it finished!

  8. I hope you figure it out, the print is lovely, as is the dress design. I’d have cried too, the bodice made from the lining was perfect!

    On another note-is there supposed to be a link to the Dritz instructions for how to pad out a bodice on a dress form, or am I just reading it wrong?

    • OK, never mind-it showed up, naturally AFTER I’d posted the question! Thank you so much for the link, it’s a lot more clear than the instructions that came with my pad set!

  9. I think I’ve you’re done everything will fall together. There’s such a high waist band and like you said the brown bra looks great! Aside from, this pattern is fabulous. Wear it now while you still can. I’m over ny fifty mark and I’m finding a couple regrets of would of could of should of when it comes to garment wearing now. What’s the old saying, if you got it flaunt it! I mean look at the pattern cover, it’s beautiful! I want one now too. This nasty be the last user I could get away with that. IT’S GEORGIOUS! The lining is goon to hold you in. You did a fabulous job putting it together. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised after its all said and done.
    Please keep us posted.
    Good day to you.

  10. I’m no expert but it looks to me like that long bias seam stretched out, causing the droop! I made this dress too and I considered adding a bit of seam tape all along that seam.

    • Hi! I remember you green version. I did actually viseline seam tape there. I’ve been bitten by the bias growing bug one too many times myself.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 10:25 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • I agree with Allie. The bias has stretched, and may have also stretched on the lining. Seam tape/salvage is good. Also, trim a bit off the bottom and shoulder seam. If possible, take out a bit of the FBA as it was too much. I suggest sitting, with the bodice on, and placing, across your body, with whatever you choose as your seam tape, from shoulder to the end of the wrap–not inches, just the actual length of your seam tape. Baste in temporarily , put on the bodice as you are standing to see if you need to add a tiny bit of length back.

        • Thanks! Do you mean my shoulder is still wide? I have the narrowest shoulders. That’s with 1/4 inch skimmed off as is! I may have overdone the FBA. I thought the bust looked tight still in my muslin. And, maybe the bias just got away from me.

          I was thinking for a while I used the wrong pattern itieration when I cut out my fashion fabric. Or, that I should start with a 14 (39 inch bust vs 37) bodice instead (I’m 35 inches underbust).

          But, for real, the bodice wasn’t getting anywhere over my chest but was baggy at the bottom. Which is why I started to question which pattern piece I used.


          On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:29 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  11. Got nothing useful to say other than this made me laugh and I hope you work it out because from the muslin at least it looks like it could be a cracker.

  12. Oh no! May it’s not just slipperiness, but also a lack of give in the fabric? If you are in the mood for experimenting, maybe consider sewing some lingerie elastic to the facing/turned edge to snug it up a little. I haven’t done this on a wrap, but on other garments. (Borrowed the idea from a Uniqlo dress I’ve had for years). Basically, the elastic is treated like the kind of binding that is flipped to the inside and stitched down. Or, for no top sticking, it can just be sewn to the facing piece or lining near the seam line. Just a thought.

  13. To me, the fabric closely resembles the wallpaper in the 1940s farmhouse that my grandparents bought in a hurry when their first house burned to the ground. Not a look I would have chosen for myself, so I just mention that impression in passing. To each her own.

    The pattern for the dress is lovely. I like that, in the 70s, clothes were designed for the bodies that women already had — instead of what happened after that, in the aerobics/fitness craze that caused some women to have ribs removed so that they could have the tiny waists demanded by designer clothing. You were allowed to have curves, and softness, in my distant youth.

    I am so proud of you for celebrating the eighth anniversary of your 32nd year! My own baby brother celebrates the anniversary of his 29th year, every year since the first time he attained that age. We are at the 21st anniversary in 2016 — which means that now we can put 21 candles on the cake instead of 29. He’ll be so excited … 29 was believable for him for many years, but no longer. Still, because we love him, we maintain the pretense.

    • Haaaaa to ALL of this. I was nervous about the print, but thought it would be fun. I did have a solid royal blue rayon originally, but I thought it would be too wrinkly. So, going the way of the 70s and under pressure, I bought this floral poly from Fabricmart. I think it need more floral at the front no matter what. I’m also starting to think I cut my bodice from the wrong iteration of my pattern alteration. This is nowhere near covering by bewbs.

      As for my upcoming birthday, I figure as long as I have some years on Jordan it will be *somewhat *believable. Maybe I’ll just keep the average of our ages as my birthday (which would put me at 34 this year. So, I’m sticking with 32 for now)!

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:09 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  14. Are you sure that you matched the center fronts? This is a lot of stretch on the bias especially if you stayed the seam. I see some issues with the darts on your muslin that I also see in your fabric. They are sticking out if you take a good look, instead bringing the fabric closer on the side. The tucks seem neater and more accurate on the muslin than on your fabric. If you are remaking the front, I would baste in the center front markings and your waist.
    line before starting. The other suggestion I have is to underline your fabric, at least the bodice. It seems to have less body than the muslin and the original fabric shown on the envelope.
    Have a wonderful birthday! You certainly don’t look 32 +8.

    • So, It’s not overlapping at CF on my fashion fabric because it was too small. Seriously. I had to take out the basting stitches.

      It’s always possible the surplice bias got the best of me. But, I did use a fusible tape to as soon as I cut and used selvedge trim when I sewed to firm it up.

      I do see the dart issues you’re pointing out also. I was attributing that to not sewing them nicely in my muslin. But, in the fashion fabric where the FBA may be too large they are just sad.

      Oh, the tucks are neater and more accurate in the muslin because I basted them in. I was at my whits end with the garment and took out the tucks to see if I could maneuver the bodice into the right place. But, yeah. There is still some bias stretch in there.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:37 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • Do you add in case seam allowances when you cut out your garments? I have found this invaluable in my side seams in anything I sew even if I’ve made it before. Different fabrics just seam to need different amounts of ease. I really like how the muslin bodice looks on you so I hope that this works out. It’s a dress worthy of the big 32 +

  15. OMG! Thats a gorgeous pattern! What a fabulous dress that would make. It looks like you’re wearing a push up bra with the fashion fabric but your dress form may not have that same effect. Is that maybe why it isn’t working?

    • I wish! haha. No, my bras have a really high and narrow bridge. So, I can’t get away with anything low cut.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 11:40 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  16. Happy upcoming Birthday to you. You have done a lot in your 32+8 years. Keep having fun and enjoying yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Such a nice pattern! I read as far as the muslin and thought this is going to be stunning. The bad fairy must have sneaked in and stretched the neckline or something. I’m sure you’ll get it tamed, have a great trip.

  18. Nooo! I liked the look of the lining so much! What happens if you compare both bodices? All this talk of stretching out is just guessing, did you measure the two bodices against the pattern? I really hope you can make it work as it is such a great ’76 dress. I had one just like this on the first date with my husband, 32+8 years ago 🙂

  19. You will totally rock this dress once you figure out your bias/fba issues. With your height, you can make this look fabulous. You don’t look a day over 29!

  20. And therein lies my almost anti-muslin stance. I’ve had this happen to me more times when I’ve muslined than not. It’s infuriating!

    It’s like a completely different bodice. Boooo! Well, the surplice style WILL look amazing and I cannot believe you are turning 32+8! Have a happy birthday!!!

    • I wouldn’t have even bothered if I wasn’t worried about having enough fabric. I generally know the alterations I need. But, between fabric issues and worried about nip slippage, I thought I should muslin in. It was all so promising! I guess I should go buy some slippery fabric to muslin again :-/ Rarely has a muslin actually saved me time TBH.

      On Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 2:44 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


      • Yes I would try it with a silky muslin fabric then you will be comparing apples to apples!

  21. Well maybe make the dress out of the lining, which isn’t weird to say is it?! You look amazing in white!

    I turned 32 + 18 in March and between work and having knee surgery the freaking second I got back from celebrating in Vegas, I bought a birthday dress at Target! No sh*t. A black lace sleeveless Aline dress and my necessary flats were children’s shoes from Payless. All that was to say don’t stress about the dress (which you’re not) and head out the Tarjay…

    Happy birthday and have a great break.

  22. Well, the muslin is gorgeous! and so promising. And down the primrose path we go….

  23. Thank you for sharing this. You are meticulous in your fitting and sewing – it’s quite an arduous process. My sewing mojo is still missing in action. I just don’t know where to start! Used to make lovely things – most of my clothes at one stage, even jackets for work. Sigh. I have a loose top cut out to try to get back into it. When I read your blog and see your wonderful sewing, I wish I could get back into it!
    For now, think I’ll just keep reading! You have a wonderful sense of style and colour.

  24. I’m so glad you have the humor to post your fails. Have you considered both underlining and lining the bodice?

    Happy birthday and enjoy Sante Fe. Are you staying in town? Have you ever eaten at the Shed or Cafe Pasqual’s? Sometimes, even if the wait at Pasqual’s is long, they can seat us immediately at the communal dining table.

    Seret and Sons, architectural salvage, is like an around the world trip. Drool-worthy. I have to go back with my minivan to load up. Also, Jackalope for more inexpensive world crafts.

    The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in ABQ is surprisingly good.

    We like Rancho di Chimayo for dinner. If they have room at the inn across the road, book it. The area is just
    magical at dawn and dusk.

    Plus, you can get a jump on textile shopping in Chimayo if you stay there. 😉

  25. OMG! I’m not sure where something went wrong but you’re Muslim was absolutely stunning! I agree that you are a champ and we’ll figure it out! BTW, nude bras for women of color are rare to find (and in most cases expensive if you do find one!) …yours does match your skintone perfectly! I am currently taking a bra making class specifically so I can create my own nude bras! Have fun on your mini vacation! Are you planning on coming back to the Tampa, FL area anytime soon?

  26. It makes you look big and you’re not. I did something with a similar pattern to improve the fit. I added bust darts at the side seams. I have a little bodice pattern piece that accomodates my FBA and I superimposed it on the front piece of the pattern like this and added a little length the same length as the bust dart. It fit much better and a much more flattering fit. Give it a try with some muslin and I hope you get a good result like I did. Good luck!

  27. Bummer! But in the other hand, Santa Fe is not at all formal so you can dine out in something stylishly casual with impunity. Enjoy your trip and be sure to fit in a visit to 10,000 Waves!

    • 10,000 waves is my bday treat to myself! Then, dinner at Geronimo!!

      On Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 8:37 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  28. this is so interesting and I think when you get it worked out that pattern/style will look fantastic on you. I have done quite a few wrap dresses recently and wrote a couple of posts on Craftsy detailing some slightly unorthodox fit adjustments. I almost think that on a wrap dress that if the circumference measure looks right, what is needed is bodice length – at the bottom of the bodice to compensate for going over the bust. and then maybe some more at the side seams as fit insurance, but a regular FBA ends up making the front pieces too large. Although that is odd that it looked OK in the muslin.
    in any case – have a fun trip and birthday!

  29. I agree with Beth (sunnygal) the FBA is off. I can see it on the paper fitting of your dress form. You added way to much! That is what is causing the neckline gap. Also, how different are the fabrics? (muslin n fashion) But I tell what, you pushing the dress to Christmas is hilarious! At least it has a chance! My wadder’s get pushed to the trash after I cuss them out! LOL!! Good Luck with moving forward. I’d be glad to assist if you need it. I FBA everything!

  30. Ooh, I feel your pain! However if you’re going to Santa Fe the fanciest you need is a colorful, maybe lacy top, a pair of dark jeans, and cowgirl boots a la “The Pioneer Woman”. Happy birthday and enjoy your trip. (Lotsa walking= comfy shoes)

  31. I hate when something like this happens! I hope you find a solution. I think you have enough suggestions from others to decide next steps. I know we have all been in this situation before and so frustrating.

  32. What a shame as your toile of the bodice was looking so good. I love this dress and am actually old enough to have worn it in the 1970’s – I left school the year before you were born – however, age and gravity has taken it’s toil. Ha, ha.

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