Red amongst the reeds: Simplicity 1880

Firstly – a big hello to anyone who’s here because of seeing me featured on The Foldline; I love that site and those ladies!

So I’ve hopefully left it long enough since Valentine’s Day to be able to post something red and not incur any groans and moans. Eh, voila – my cherry shirt dress. This is Simplicity 1880, a pattern which consists of both the shirt bodice and a faux wrap bodice, with three sleeve length variations. Both The Little Tailoress and Miss Maddy Sews have made delectable versions. This is also the dress that features a yellow version on its cover which is nigh on identical to one worn by the Duchess of Cambridge:


If I hadn’t already had my eye on the pattern, the Kate-lookalike-option would’ve sealed the deal. (I may have to buy some yellow fabric.)

Of course I did self-covered buttons. I love those little chaps.

My fabric is… well, I don’t know what it is! I bought it in Dalston Mill for an unbelievably bargainacious £3 per metre where they told me it was simply cotton (it’s certainly not); I was half expecting it to disintegrate in the wash. Amazingly, its lovely drape and colour survived the pre-wash, but I then noticed some small flaws in the weave and somehow still managed to include these in the front bodice pieces. Sigh. Then the weirdest thing – I was pressing the finished dress and one small patch of fabric reacted badly to the iron, taking on that shiny, melty look we all dread. Just that one area, though, nowhere else! Gah, I bet Kate never has these problems.

Owing to these little glitches I’m calling this a wearable muslin. It’s a straightforward make but not a boring one by any means. I was surprised to find the fit almost perfect out of the envelope; as part of my pattern drafting I’ve identified that my upper body length is almost two inches shorter than the industry standard (#hobbit) and it’s not unusual for me to have to shorten bodices at the waistline – but not here. I did however shorten the skirt by about four inches because in the longer length with those sleeves I looked a bit too ‘more tea, vicar?’

As with my last post, these photos were taken near my mother’s house in Suffolk. I spent over an hour out on the fen and saw not a soul except a hunting barn owl. There are otters living on the river and after the photos I spent a ridiculously long time trying to be quiet and still just in case one should show up, but they clearly weren’t feeling sociable. Ever since I was a child otters have been My Favourite Animals (remember having a favourite animal??) and I think I’d actually lose my sh*t and fall in the river if I saw one in the wild, so it’s probably a good thing they didn’t come out to play.

There’s definitely an otter in there somewhere…


In other news you might’ve noticed a slight change to this blog’s aesthetic. I’d kind of run out of real life interior decorating to do so did a bit of tinkering here. I hope you like. x


8 thoughts on “Red amongst the reeds: Simplicity 1880

  1. You totally suit jewel colours! Such a cute dress on you. Shame about the fabric. I have had similar experiences, being told it’s cotton when it’s not. So annoying! I suppose we should stick to the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is!


  2. Lovely dress and great photos! Getting out to take pictures really makes a difference. I haven’t tried it yet 😉 Also love the new design of your blog, looks very neat!


    1. Thanks so much – I’m really glad you like the new look, that’s so good to hear. Going outside to take photos definitely can lead to some more interesting shots but I still find it incredibly embarrassing photographing myself in public!


  3. Love the dress…. Have just started following you after reading Fold Line. Wanted to follow some more UK based people. Keep hoping to spot a gathering at walthamstow( or somewhere) BEFOREHAND it happens!


    1. Hi Ann and thanks for the follow! I’m always up for London gatherings too – the Foldline forums seem the place to hear about them although unfortunately I missed the last one. Maybe we should suggest an imminent Walthamstow trip – I’ve not been there yet!


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