Simplicity 1423: DIY dress with ruffle sleeve

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

Hello Readers,

How are you? Notice anything different? Yep. Different wall to use for backdrops – yeah! We have moved house. I am drowning in a mass of cardboard packing boxes, but made time to shoot these photographs today. This is a dress that I made before we moved. Before I left my sewing room behind. Sob.

Anyhoo, yes, Simplicity 1423. What do I want to say about this? Lots actually. First of all, I have said before on this blog that I am automatically drawn to anything which has ruffles, gathers or frilly frippery. When I saw this pattern I wanted to sew it up straight away, and had this polyester crepe de chine in my stash which I thought would be perfect.

Here’s a close up of the fabric. It kind of has a very subtle animal print to it.

Simplicity 1423 - close up of right side of fabric used.

Simplicity 1423 – close up of right side of fabric used.

But do you know, this fabric was a complete biatch to sew? It is static, clingy and it puckers so badly. I have never seen anything like it, and I almost just chucked the whole thing in the bin. I changed to a new Schmetz 70 needle….but to no avail. There are puckers along the lower seams and parts of the hem (you can’t see them in the photos, but there are). It hasn’t stopped me wearing this dress already. Twice. Because otherwise this is a great “throw on and go out the door” dress. But it does bother me, because…I know it’s not right. If I ever make another version maybe a different fabric will make me feel better about the finished product? Are some polyester crepe de chine’s harder to sew that others? Should I have done something with my tension?

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

There are essentially three things you should note about this pattern:

1. It is designed to be a mini dress. I added 5 inches to the length because I don’t do minis. Be warned.

2. It is very generously sized. I cut my usual bust size but decided to grade up two sizes on the hips. I needn’t have bothered. I don’t know how many inches I removed out of the side seams and the back seam, but there were a lot! Next time round, I would cut the same size throughout.

3. The pattern envelope doesn’t indicate that this dress is actually fully lined. That’s because they expect you to fully line the dress with your fashion fabric. What’s that about? What if you were using an expensive silk or a light coloured lawn with a darker print on it…wouldn’t the print show through? I am a bit flumoxed by this. I chose to line using acetate lining, thus:

Simplicity 1423 - lining.

Simplicity 1423 – lining.

Here’s the line drawings because you can see the princess lines a bit clearer. I wanted to show you this also because a separate front lining piece is included in the pattern. I think the plain ruffle-less version would be cute colour blocked.

Simplicity 1423 line drawings

Simplicity 1423 line drawings

I did a rolled hem on the sleeves (I inadvertently used 5/8th inch….no way was I going to try and use 3/8ths or whatever they suggested anyway!).

Simplicity 1423 rolled hem.

Simplicity 1423 rolled hem.

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Misses’ mini dress or top is the staple you are looking for. Pattern includes top or mini dress with double ruffle cascade / sleeve or a simple sleeveless top & mini dress with contrast band. Optional tie belt included.

I made a non mini dress version of view A.

Pattern Sizing:


Note; the sizing on this dress is very generous.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

I think so. I omitted the self fabric belt and used a length of grosgrain ribbon.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes. But see below about lining!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Aside from the generous sizing, my major dislike about this pattern is the fact that the pattern envelope doesn’t indicate that this dress is actually fully lined. That’s because they expect you to fully line the dress with your fashion fabric. What’s that about? What if you were using an expensive silk or a light coloured lawn with a darker print on it…wouldn’t the print show through? I am a bit flumoxed by this. I chose to line using acetate lining.

I have worn this dress twice already and it is very comfortable and easy to throw on and head out the house in. The reason for my unhappiness with the finished product is not the pattern as such, but the fabric I chose to use (or my own incompetence!) It is a polyester crepe de chine which puckered along the seams and it very static. I did use a new Schmetz 70 needle, and maybe it’s just this fabric, but it does bother me somewhat.

Fabric Used:

Polyester crepe de chine and acetate lining. I would estimate use approx. half the amounts indicated on the envelope for the fashion fabric and half for lining, unless you want to use your fashion fabric to line?!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I added 5 inches to the length. I cut my usual size on the bust and initially graded out 2 sizes on the hips, but ended up taking out so many inches on the sides and in the back. Next time I would use the same size throughout, or even size down.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Maybe and yes. Use a nicer fabric to work with than I did.


This is a very feminine, easy to throw on dress. Maybe  a  nice contrast colour rolled hem on my serger with a nice, stable cotton lawn or georgette would make me happier.

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

See you in a few weeks when I have emerged from boxes and sewn my next item! Until then….



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About sewmanju

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing everyone can get to see mine.

14 responses to “Simplicity 1423: DIY dress with ruffle sleeve”

  1. Sam says :

    Very pretty! I’m a sucker for ruffles too, even though they don’t always suit me. Sadly I have no advice on how to stop the fabric puckering, I’ve had similar problems myself in the past.

  2. prttynpnk says :

    Oh sweet! I expected the ruffles to connect in the back the same as the front, but this has a lot of fun seamage! I want one!! Nice enabling…..again!!!

  3. Sew, Jean Margaret says :

    Very pretty and feminine dress despite your misbehaving fabric.

  4. Cathy (1d3c on ravelry) says :

    This is seriously cute on you! Once again seeing your version of a pattern has made me interested in a pattern I would have otherwise overlooked.

  5. black label says :

    Congrats on the move. Ive made 8 moves in the last 5 years, 3 of those being new countries so believe me, I sympathize with the boxes!!
    I love this dress – its so super feminine. Pity you had such a hard time with the fabric though. I like the blouse version of this particularly – I may give it a go one day 🙂 x

    • sewmanju says :

      Hey angelique. And you’re still sewing and blogging even with all that moving?! Kudos. Are you going to the minerva meet up? I can’t make Rachel’s meet up so am going minerva instead x

      • black label says :

        Well…to be honest, blogging started after all the moving & sewing took a back seat. Now that we are relatively settled, with a sewing room, it makes life easier.
        No, Im not going to the minerva event sorry, just to Rachels but maybe Minerva next year too :). have fun x

  6. Dresses at Kalkifashion says :

    hey lovely, really you are a very good tailor. I have read your many posts and found more interesting day by day. Nice job

  7. Lisa says :

    thank you so much for this review, it is one of the most comprehensive useful reviews I have ever seen so really well done and lovely job on the dress! Thanks again 🙂

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