Simplicity 1621: Meghan Markle’s Hi Low Linen Shift

Earlier this summer I spotted a photo of Meghan Markle in a hi-lo hem linen shift. It seemed to fit my Covid wardrobe which is mostly bra free, breathable and shapeless dresses. I turned to Instagram for a pattern and my girl Carolyn came through with suggesting OOP Simplicity 1621 (check her versions at that link).

Meghan Markle was pictured doing errands in LA wearing a Magic Linen dress
Her dress is $76 from a European company

The pattern is very simple but I still made some changes to fit and suit me best.

Alterations

I lowered the neckline by 2″ and narrowed the neckline for a more U shape. This is a better look for me since it mirrors the shape of my face, elongates my neck and breaks up a long expanse of cleavage. I made a FBA (natch). The dress blessedly already had darts. Mine are too high by maybe 1/2″ and a little too long. I shortened the center front hem about 2″ because I wanted the hi lo to be as dramatic as possible.

I added 2″ to the length so I could do the MOST annoying deeper hem. I had to ease in the fullness, which I’ve wanted to try. I don’t need to do that ever again.

Made a swayback and full seat adjustment. I think it really shows with how smoothly the back fits. I am not POSITIVE a full seat adjustment was needed, but look how the skirt isn’t catching on my butt shelf or riding up at the lower hem edge. I wanted to make sure this dress would fit as long as possible. And what’s a few extra inches in a VERY breezy dress?

Sizing: I made an XL, which is where I fall in the sizing. I could probably get away with sizing down, but I wanted all the lift and fullness. Achieved.

Fabric: A midweight linen I purchased from the Los Angeles branch of “The Fabric Store” in 2018. My original plan for this was pants. But, who needs pants right now?

I have worn this dress at least twice a week since I made it. I have another cut out now in navy where I’ve shortened the front hem even more. I do want it to fall just below my knee, but wanted to experiment a bit with the length and a more dramatic high lo.

As for the neck scoop, which I adore, I think I need to take a few contour tucks. When I’m slouched, it’s a little revealing (it’s not stretched out. I staystitched and used bias tricot around the neckline).

I feel like I’m about to yell at my kids to come inside because it’s getting dark

I think two of these will be enough for Summer 2020. But, I think I have found a TNT summer dress.

And, applause for my friend Liz. She took my photos and isn’t allowed to ever leave me.

71 comments

  1. You look terrific in that dress–the definition of summer. I love seeing simple, beautiful things in the midst of the madness we’re living in.

  2. I’ve seen you struggle with fit over the years and you’ve really nailed it here. Great dress for a hot sticky Baltimore summer. Great photos, congrats to Lizzie.

  3. Love it…..thanks and just what I need for the upcoming Australian summer.

    Love how you have made it fit……hope I do it justice. Xx Dianne

    Sent from my iPad

    • Dianne! This will be perfect. It’s so hot and muggy here, I can’t fully imagine an Aussie summer. I think the trick with this one is proportion. I knew it wasn’t meant to be “flattering” and focused on the details. It’s a great little pattern.

  4. I have *got* to get on the linen bandwagon. Summers in the U.S. South are the worst when it comes to the heat and humidity combination. This dress looks like the closest thing to comfort when everything is sticky. Can you say more about contour tucks for the neckline? I’ve never heard that term before, and I’d love to know how you’d go about adding them!

  5. I have *got* to get on the linen bandwagon. Summers in the U.S. South are the worst when it comes to the heat and humidity combination. That dress looks like the closest thing to comfy when everything is unbearably sticky. Can you say more about contour tucks for the neckline? I’ve never heard that term before, and I would love to know how you’d go about making them!

    • I’d sort of forgotten this myself until I was thumbing through a drafting book 😄. But, short version is I need to almost ease some darts and tucks around the neckline to remove fullness and create a contour. Especially because I lowered, it’s more open.

  6. Fabulous fit—and really comfy. (Do you really go braless?) Great photos, too, and I love that trough planter. Liz’s?

    • No, it’s a little shop on her corner. I think they have some carryout and wine. I don’t remember the name and hadn’t been myself in many years. I do go braless in the house 😄 But absolutely not outside the house. I’m getting fit for bras on Monday, so here’s hoping they’ll be comfortable again.

  7. I love the dress, would love to make it for our New Zealand summer and I have to say you wear it better than Meghan 🙂

  8. Beautiful. I like your dress better than the original because it covers the knees and elongates the face. If I make this dress I would also have to make the adjustments to suit me better.

    • I just went and looked at my original pattern piece as I was cleaning my sewing room. I did also make a full seat adjustment (I said in my original post that I did not).

  9. Love this!!! I don’t sew a lot for myself but I may have to give this a try. Going ‘bra-less’ definitely pulled me in!! I wear overall shorts in the summer so I can go a-la-natural!!!

  10. This is even better than the one worn by Ms. Markle! I love your ability to transform to a perfect dress for you. You look beautiful in ths gown!

  11. Great dress, looks very cool and because the fit is perfect it is flattering. I don’t know how anyone with a large bust can go braless even at home. I can’t stand all the floppyness. I have found the stretchy bras for comfort are just right when I wear 2 of them. lol No jiggle, no floppy.

  12. Oooh, oooh, oooh! You could use two lightweight fabrics and make this dress reversible! Solves the curved hem problem — and the inside of the longer edge is visible when you walk, and not every fabric is real purty on the other side.

    Sorry for so many exclamation points. Am trying to drum up enthusiasm for life anyhow I can do it, during this stupid stupid stupid pandemic. Am also using the word “stupid” way too much in daily life. Sorry about that, too.

    Have a happy rest of the summer, Miss Celie, honey.

    • I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! I have to tell you a silly thing about me though. I’m usually very nervous adding contrast colors to something. I start to panic that I’m going to limit what I could wear it with, lol. But, I really do love the idea of a thick 3″ facing on the hem.

  13. Love your dress – and I’m not even a ‘dress’ person! Have you thought about doing a bias hem facing for your deep and curvy hems? I’ve taken to doing this and it saves me from having to use a lot of words. Be well!

  14. Isn’t it a wonderful pattern?! I love your version of this dress and understand why you have another one cut out to wear. BTW, I think I did make some changes to the neckline because of the challenge you noted! Your version is making me think I need to revisit this pattern…next year! *LOL*

    • Oh good! I was looking at yours again and trying to figure out if the lowering was necessary since I liked where yours fell. But then saw a few others where the neck looked much higher.

  15. You have done a perfect job on the ‘simple’ dress. I wanted to comment to thank you for the adjustment on the back seam, as I have the dress shelf problem on the backside. I’m going to have to sneak in a back seam to do that, but it will be worth it to save me the continual ‘reach around and pull down’.Hours may be saved!
    I have been adding a facing for the hem for my cottton summer dresses to the current makes, and am going to go back in and add them (and this FButtA adjustment) to the previous ones. They hang better, they look better, and I can always use something that coordinates.
    Once again, you have saved my summer bacon! Thanks thanks thanks!

  16. This looks so wonderful – the color, the fit, all perfect. You made me laugh out loud on the easing of the wide hem thing – oof! That does sound like a pain.

  17. This is just the ticket! No doubt this will now percolate in my own brain as “something worth sewing” for months 😆
    The way light is captured by your friends photos is incredible – warm and glowing. Lovely

  18. This looks great on you and seems so comfortable. You said you added a full seat adjustment. Is there a link to learn how to do that?It’s a problem area for me. Thanks.

  19. This is so cute. I agree that these types of loose dresses are all we need to wear in the summer. I just made a couple of Lou Box Dresses by Sew DIY and I lengthened them a little bit. I made one out of seersucker and the other is linen. They could be a new uniform. I love the neckline on yours. Happy sewing.

  20. Love it Renee! And the last picture has THE LOOK that definitely says, “Didn’t I tell you to stay out of the street?” =)

  21. Great dress, Guess what I have dusty pink linen in my stash. Will get the pattern. Thanks for you suggestions on alterations. I like the more dramatic hi low hem/ Thanks

  22. Great job with this dress! It looks terrific on you. And your blog post was nice and detailed for anyone who wants to tackle it for themselves. It may be an easy pattern, but getting the fit as good as yours takes some extra thought.

    • Thank you, Janeen! One reason I’ve come back to posting more on my blog is to make sure I can add details for myself and others later. I have found this to be one of the best things I’ve made, and I think it’s because I put some thought into the fit.

    • Oh! I think this would be a fairly simple one to draft. I like that it’s not cut on the fold. I found the front had a bit of shaping which is nice. Good luck!

  23. I just happened upon this site and became quite excited about getting back into sewing for myself. I quit because I’m short waisted and have a rather large butt. Can you explain to me how I can adjust a pattern to give me the fit that means I’m not always reaching back and tugging my dress down?

  24. This is beautiful and elegant and breezy! No wonder you want more. I don’t even wear dresses and I want one!

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