Simplicity 8086 by Cynthia Rowley: DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

Hello Friends!

After a few weeks absence I am back. We had a wonderful time in the USA…I had a whole day of shopping in NYC’s Garment District, and will share all the details with you (including what I purchased), soon. I have quite a back log of unblogged garments to show you, kicking off with Simplicity 8086, which I made to wear to a wedding right before we left for the USA.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

The wedding we attended was held at Dalston Hall, less than 30 minutes drive from where we live. This is a converted 16th century mansion which is now a hotel and wedding venue  with lovely landscaped gardens and, in fact, by the time the wedding took place late in the afternoon, it was actually nice enough to have the ceremony outside. Before we left, when we took the majority of these photographs, it was windy and cloudy. BTW, the wedding was actually of a colleague of my husbands, whose daughter happens to be in the same class as my daughter.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – no I didn’t make my daughter’s outfit. It was purchased from Monsoon.

Prior to the wedding I had seen quite a few of these “floating overlay” style dresses, particularly from Coast, which always seems to have lots of wedding guest appropriate outfits. I knew I wanted something lighter in colour and a brocade was one of the suggested fabrics for this pattern. The fabric I went for was ordered (after sampling) from eBay. I don’t know if it is a “true” brocade, but it was robust and easy to work with (didn’t fray badly) and I pre-washed the fabric and lining so I don’t have to worry about dry cleaning costs. It wasn’t particularly expensive either, so I won’t feel bad if I don’t wear this one too much 🙂 I think the floating overlay, which gives the appearance of a cropped top but with non of the tummy exposure, coupled with the fuller pleated skirt is flattering and the waistband emphasises a relatively smaller waist.

Apologies for the phone photos, but these will give you some idea of the inner bodice construction.

Firstly here is the inner bodice, front view, together with the waistband. The inner bodice is actually cut from lining fabric (it is not visible in the finished garment) and is lined. The waistband (and lower bodice back – see below) are cut from fashion fabric (and also lined).

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – inner bodice and waistband

Here is a shot, midconstruction, which shows the upper bodice back (lining fabric) joined to the lower bodice back (fashion fabric). The key thing you must remember if making this dress is chose thin lining fabrics. Anything bulky is going to create problems. Trim and clip seam allowances and understitch carefully.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – inner bodice showing lower and upper back bodice

Here is the back view on me:

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

As ever, you can read my full review below. But I wanted to address the elephant in the room: the attachment of the overlay to the inner bodice. IMO there is an error in the instructions for this pattern at step 19. After sewing one armhole as per the instructions, you must turn the overlay to the inside, lay the bodice/ overlay out on a flat surface, and twist both pieces to facilitate sewing the remaining armhole. I know I might get people contacting me in like, 2 years (!) asking me how I did it, and believe me, if adding photos was going to help I would have added them. But it just looked like a big twisted mess at this stage which wasn’t going to help anyone. That is the best help I can give you: it can be done, but you just need to think carefully through the configuration otherwise you will end up with a big mobius strip!

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Cynthia Rowley Collection. Dress pattern with lace overlay or popover in single or two fabrics. Get a 2-piece look with comfort and convenience of an all in one dress. Popover reveals bra-friendly dress bodice in back.

I would say the bra-friendly thing only happened for me because I raised the height of the back by 1.5 inches.
Pattern Sizing:
4 – 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, with the exception of step 19 – see below.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished dress. I made this dress to wear to a lovely wedding held at a converted 16th century mansion and I felt suitably attired. I think the floating overlay, which gives the appearance of a cropped top but with non of the tummy exposure, coupled with the fuller pleated skirt is flattering and the waistband emphasises a relatively smaller waist. There is nothing to dislike as such about the finished dress, but there is an error IMO at step 19 which may put some users off (see below). Be careful in your selection of fabrics (including linings): the inner and outer bodices are both fully lined and anything too bulky is going to cause problems. Careful trimming and clipping of seams and understitching is required.
Fabric Used:
Brocade outer fashion fabric. Polyester (?) lining fabric.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I raised the height of the lower back bodice (piece 10) by 1.5 inches at the centre back seam, tapering to nothing at the dot (this was to give me sufficient bra coverage).

I removed 1.5 inches from the length of the upper bodice back (piece 9).

I did a 1 inch FBA which added in a side bust dart.

I shortened the length of the vertical dart.

On the front overlay (piece 11) I lowered the bust dart by 0.75 inches.

I did a sway back adjustment, removing 0.5 inches from the lower bodice back and 0.5 inches from the top of the skirt back (and adding back to the lower back skirt hem).

I ended up sewing my waist darts significantly smaller (like 1.25 inches smaller) to give me more room at the waist and cutting a longer waistband. I also subsequently added 1.25 inches to the side front skirt seams and used 0.25 inch seam allowances to sew the side seams up.

I ended up doing a cheats FBA to the front overlay, adding 2 inches to the centre front and tapering to nothing at the sides. I also only took 3/8ths inch seam allowance sewing up the overlay side seams.

I took 6/8ths inch seam allowance to sew the upper back seam and used a 22 inch invisible zip (completely unncessary!) instead of 12 inches because I forgot.

I cut 4.25 inch interfacing strips and ironed them to the hem before handstitching the 2 inch  deep hem.

My front overlay seemed to be wrinkling at the bust when I had finished. I ended up sewing little bags out of the lining fabric and slipping in curtain weights. These bags were then slip stitched to the lining of the outer overlay at the bust darts and this seemed to do the trick: the overlay lay flat and I forgot all about them whilst wearing the dress.

IMO there is an error in the instructions for this pattern at step 19. After sewing one armhole as per the instructions, you must turn the overlay to the inside, lay the bodice/ overlay out on a flat surface, and twist both pieces to facilitate sewing the remaining armhole. I know I might get people contacting me in like, 2 years (!) asking me how I did it, and believe me, if adding photos was going to help I would have added them. But it just looked like a big twisted mess at this stage which wasn’t going to help anyone. That is the best help I can give you: it can be done, but you just need to think carefully through the configuration otherwise you will end up with a big mobius strip!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I will sew this particular dress again. I recommend so long as you bear in mind the error at step 19.
Conclusion:

I felt great wearing this dress. I think it is flattering, current and elegant. It certainly made me feel like the best dressed guest at the wedding 🙂

Finishing with a couple of photographs that made me smile. You get a bonus cow shot for free because that’s how we roll in these parts. Until soon.

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit

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Simplicity 8086 DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit – my beautiful family

 

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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 projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

50 responses to “Simplicity 8086 by Cynthia Rowley: DIY Brocade Wedding Guest Outfit”

  1. Penny says :

    This is both elegant and youthful! Love the fabric and the way you worked with placement of flowers on bodice.p

    • sewmanju says :

      Thanks Penny. I didn’t have too much fabric to play with pattern matching but the one thing I wanted to ensure was that I didn’t end up with “bullseye flowers” on my chest.

  2. Anonymous says :

    Such pretty fabric. Such pretty clothes. Such a pretty lady. Such a pretty family!

  3. Faye Lewis says :

    What a wonderful pattern pick for a wedding outfit. Love the color and the fabric!

  4. lindalee62 says :

    Simply BEAUTIFUL dress, & BEAUTIFUL family fabric is so perfect !!!!!! Love all of your clothes !!!

  5. Evesew says :

    Stunning!!

  6. JenL says :

    Really pretty – and you look beautiful in it! I really love that color of pale violet.

  7. Margaret says :

    Stunning! And such a beautiful family!

  8. Colesworth says :

    Gorgeous in that fabric, some lovely family photos too ;o)

  9. Meg says :

    Just lovely! I dig that little peek-a-boo back.

  10. Masha says :

    This is gorgeous dress! I love the fabric you chose, and the back detail is so nice.

  11. debbie iles says :

    Really, really beautiful. I love the fabric and such a flattering design too. I hope you get to wear it again!

    • sewmanju says :

      Thanks Debbie. Hmmm…no weddings/ garden parties/ formal do’s on the horizon for now….but here’s hoping! That’s kind of why I am glad I didn’t spend a whole heap of money on it. If I am going to spend a lot of money on fabric I tend to go for a classic style.

  12. Sheila says :

    Gorgeous dress and looks fabulous on you !

  13. Fiona M says :

    Oh wow! That’s a beauty, you look fab.

  14. catherinedaze says :

    It’s beautiful! And as always you pick the most gorgeous fabric.

  15. Myra says :

    Very Beautiful dress! And what a lovely family! You did a great job and his beautiful dress!

  16. La Vonda C says :

    You look like a DREAM! Oh my goodness. The combination of fabric & pattern is terrific and it is so flattering on you!

  17. Lynne says :

    Wow!! This is absolutely gorgeous!!

  18. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says :

    that is gorgeous, what a perfect choice of fabric for that dress. The color is so great on you. Lovely! and your daughter is getting so big! she looks so pretty too. great pics!

  19. Janie says :

    Beautiful dress. Wow your daughter is getting so big.

  20. Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! says :

    Very beautiful! The fabric looks so elegant as does the style. What a lovely family photo too!

  21. ccmercer1982 says :

    Gorgeous Manju – I love Cynthia Rowley patterns! Perfect fabric choices for such a special event ☺️

  22. Cawmags@tiscali.co.uk says :

    Wow, beautiful and its a proper wedding guest dress, glam.

  23. m3isme says :

    Simply lovely!!

  24. Catty says :

    Perfect dress for you! You look so beautiful! And those high heels! Wow!

  25. Ang says :

    What a wonderful and well-dressed family! Beautiful dress!!

  26. abbey says :

    How very beautiful!

  27. Letitia says :

    Love your dress. And have been thinking about making for a while, I have finally jumped in and I’m in the process, although I’m totally confused by step 19?!!! I just don’t understand how this is going to work out?!!!

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