Pattern Review: Simplicity 1800 [Oonapalooza!]

halter maxi1

Pattern: Simplicity 1800, view C
Fabric: rayon challis from Metro Textile
Size: 10 graded to a 12 at the hip

How have I not sewn a maxi dress until 2014??  I am so in love with this dress and how easy and elegant it is to wear.  If I could have a closet full of maxi dresses I would…well maybe not a whole closet, because I do like to show my legs in the summer, hahaha.

Sewing this dress coincided nicely with Oonapalooza month – you know, “What would Oona make?” (could we all get W.W.O.M. bracelets?).  Loud, bright colors and a funky print? Check.  Saucy silhouette that’s classy at the same time? check and check.

halter maxi2

This pattern is part of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit collection, which I’m a fan of – any pattern that offers different pattern blocks based on body type is a win in my book, especially when it comes to fitting the bust.  It’s hard to tell with the paisley print, but the bodice is constructed with princess seams that continue down into the skirt, which make bust fitting really easy.  I was very happy that I didn’t need to alter the bust when I tissue-fit the slim pattern block, woohoo!  That rarely happens.

halter maxi3

I’m planning on making the other views of this dress for the fall, with sleeves, and I have a feeling that the overall dress may fit better with those versions – here’s why.

The directions instruct to make an elastic casing at the top of the bodice back pieces, which I thought was odd for a halter dress, but the intention is for the elastic to support the back of the dress.  It didn’t work so well, even after tightening the elastic – the back bodice did not fit snuggle against my back.  In retrospect, I should have taken in the back bodice pieces and the side seams of the dress to get a better fit.  However, I just don’t think this piece was drafted correctly for a halter style dress, and instead was a cropped version of the regular back bodice piece.

I also had to make small tucks in the top of the bodice by the straps to prevent the top from gaping open – this wasn’t evident as I tried the dress on during the sewing process.  I ran into this problem before with another halter dress I made, and it was an easy (and invisible) solution to the fitting problem I had.  The problem stems from how the straps lie – they collapse and move in a bit when wearing and don’t support the top of the bodice, causing it to gape.  When they’re adjusted to lay in the correct position, the bodice is flat against my chest.  My theory is that if I make the other versions, the dress will lay correctly because of the sleeves supporting the neckline and fitting properly, and I won’t have a problem with gaping.

halter maxi4

The skirt is pleated in the front, which makes this dress great for eating a big meal…however it also makes me look a little preggo from the side!  A soft fabric is definitely best for a dress this style, anything stiff would make the skirt look like a tent.

halter maxi5

The way the pockets incorporate into the seam lines is genius, it’s like a little surprise, especially with a busy print.  They’re not too deep, but I can’t help putting my hands in them as I walk around.

Isn’t this fabric gorgeous???  I bought three yards with the intention to make a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, but since the paisleys curve in one direction, and the Lonsdale requires a print that is mult-directional, it wasn’t meant to be.  No matter, I’m absolutely in love with the garment that this fabric turned into

Did you sew anything for Oonapalooza Month?



  1. July 22, 2014 / 3:33 pm

    I've always really liked the pockets and neckline on this pattern – not that I've ever made it, but I've thought about it! 😉 This dress looks great on you. Well done! Moar maxis!

  2. July 22, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    I actually just bought this pattern, too! I was totally taken in by the pockets and the cute way the sleeves attach. I love your version!

    • August 5, 2014 / 2:35 am

      I'm a sucker for pockets 😉

  3. July 22, 2014 / 5:38 pm

    Your dress is beautiful.

  4. July 22, 2014 / 6:12 pm

    I have this pattern, I didn't realize the waistline was so close to being an empire. I'll have to lengthen the bodice if I make, that means. Glad I saw your version! It does make me want to make mine now!

    • August 5, 2014 / 2:34 am

      I don't think it's *supposed* to fit like an empire waist, but that's how I got my dress to fit me. Definitely make a muslin!

  5. July 23, 2014 / 1:04 pm

    ooo i do so love to be called Classy.

    i can't believe you don't have a closet fulla maxis either! she is a beauty! actually….i can't believe *i* don't own this one…

    • August 5, 2014 / 2:35 am

      Seconding Gillain: moar maxis!!

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