Simplicity 1882 – Tantalising Tulips

This is my second make of the Simplicity 1882, using Nano Iro double gauze fabric from The Village Haberdashery. Annie, owner of this online shop, kindly offered me a metre of this as a gift, but I knew a metre wouldn’t be enough for what I wanted to do, so we settled on three metres at a discount. The agreement was that I’d make something from the fabric to show you all.

I then sat on my backside for three months. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I knew I needed to give myself time to think around this very beautiful fabric with its very large print. It needed just the right pattern. Then I made a test run, my Teases in Teal dress. In between, life became very busy. But I’m here eventually, and I hope it was worth the wait! I used up every last scrap of those three metres.

Why did I think Simplicity 1882 was right for this print? I felt I needed a construction that used several smaller pieces ie that would break up the print a bit. A shift dress or circle skirt would run the danger of me looking like I was wearing a pair of curtains. But I’m not, I’m wearing a truly luminescent double gauze. I love the fact that my final make only platforms one gloriously huge tulip over my skirt front! I also really like how the print performs on the rear of this dress:

Double gauze is two thin layers of gauze that are sealed together with stitches at regular intervals that ‘swap’ between both layers of fabric. It’s a loose weave, perfect for breathable summer makes. It’s also very cosy and warm which, I believe, also makes it perfect as an autumn dress with tights and a cardie.

On my particular double gauze the rear layer is white, which gives the top layer a wonderful glow. It also means that construction details are extremely easy to photograph!

Every seam was overlocked to within an inch of its life. (If you’re overlocking two seams together, as I have, you should feel certain that your fabric is fine enough to stand up to this potential bulk.) My overlocker has, with no shadow of a doubt, been one of my best sewing investments. It’s at the affordable end of the range, but if ‘affordable’ still feels expensive to you at this time of year, remember this: I paid for my overlocker by collecting pound coins and 50ps in a glass jar. You’d be surprised how they add up!

The photo on the right shows how I bring my last few stitches on a dart tip really close to the edge. This helps avoid a bubble – a tip I learnt from Beth of Sunny Gal Studio. Thanks, Beth! I have to say, though, darts really melt away under the iron with double gauze. It’s a very user-friendly fabric!

My practice make took me about three weeks to put together. This dress took me a weekend. Why?

  • I’d, you know, practiced! This was the third time of construction, so the stages were familiar.
  • I’d adjusted the pattern pieces on my first go, so I felt confident the dress fitted. A lot of time was saved by not scrambling in and out of this make, during construction!
  • I didn’t line this version. It felt a crying shame to put shivery cold lining fabric between myself and the warm touch of this double gauze.
  • The fabric was just much easier to work with, not having the drape of my crepe. (I’m a poet, and I don’t know it.) I didn’t have to interface the pocket sections on this version.
  • I knew where the sticking points were. Specifically, the sleeve insertion! This time, I graded the sleeve pieces down two sizes and adjusted the method of construction. They each went in first time. I could have wept with gratitude!

One point I should mention on both this and the previous make – my walking foot really came in useful. At stages, on this dress, you can be sewing through several layers of fabric – specifically around the pocket pieces and the collar. A walking foot makes life much, much easier.

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79 Responses to Simplicity 1882 – Tantalising Tulips

  1. Marie says:

    You are breathtaking Karen, this make made me gasp out loud! What a beautiful print…and we all know how I love a print ;o) There’s absolutely no way I can choose a favourite between the two versions though…you can’t make me! I love the simplicity and chicness of the teal dress and I love the funky, playful nature of this one. It’s perfect really, because they look so different!

  2. Vicki Kate says:

    I don’t think I could choose between them! They’re both beautiful but in different ways; the teal really shows off the details of the dress – the collar, bow and pockets are a real feature. The print version showcases the print first and foremost and the collar, bow and pockets are details that you see a little while later. To me, the teal is more formal whilst the print is more playful.

    It’s amazing what a difference fabric choice can make isn’t it? I don’t know why I’m always so surprised that the same pattern on the same person can look so different in a different fabric or print!

    It’d be the perfect pattern for a bit of contrast too – the midriff and collar and pockets for instance would then really pop.

    So, long story short, I can’t choose – I love them both.

  3. Nikki says:

    It’s that dress again!! I loved the teal version (which comes over blue on my laptop – must be my settings!) I do love the tulip version though. The tulip right in the middle at the front, plus the clever placing for the collar and the sleeves. Love it!

  4. I had to choose the teal, probably because the colour appeals to me so much. But, as Vicki Kate says, each version has something very special about it and that makes them seem very different garments.

  5. MrsC says:

    The print wins for me hands down. It is stunning on you! The teal colour suits your brilliantly but the print is just so funky and fresh. I have a huge length of double gauze in white, just love it to bits, but I still haven’t decided what to do with it. Still, fabric doesn’t have a use by date, does it? 🙂

  6. Jane says:

    Wonderful dress Karen and I’m glad you’ve seen the magical powers of double gauze at first hand! It’s my favourite type of fabric. Now, onto choosing between the two versions… If I had to choose the one that looks better on you then I’d say the tulip dress: the print is stunning, the colours suit you perfectly and the fit is spot on – as I said at the beginning, you just look wonderful in it. BUT, if I was choosing MY favourite I’d have to choose the teal. I love the colour, the chic simplicity and the retro look of it. Amazing how two dresses from the same pattern can have such different appeals! x

  7. Joanne says:

    Oh God I can’t decide. I love this pattern so much and it suits you unbelievably well. This double gauze creation is a triumph. I shall have to take the afternoon to think about it! Although I may have to agree with Jane and Mrs c. The task is possibly my favourite by an inch but the print is perfect on you. And those yellow shoes again – awesome. Want want want…

  8. Joanne says:

    Not task – teal!

  9. annabelvita says:

    They’re both gorgeous! I love how they both look smart enough to go anywhere but really easy to wear everyday too. I think the tulip one might be my favourite, but maybe I’m just distracted by those lovely yellow shoes?

  10. oh that print is fabulous! i chose the print as it’s so unusual, but it was a close one – i think the details of the pattern with the pockets really stand out in the teal. i may have to find this pattern – very inspiring makes!

  11. sew2pro says:

    Teal is one of my favourite colours and the design is shown off to perfection in the first, but I still vote for the print. It’s gorgeous and looks like you’d have lots of fun in it!

  12. Laura says:

    I love this dress! SO pretty! I’ve been eyeing up the Nani Iro – Melody Sketch in Tenuto from the village haberdashery lately so seeing this has inspired me more! How do you think the fabric would work with Colette Chantilly?

  13. Melizza says:

    You look and the dress look stunning. Like some people said, it’s hard to choose between the two. I love the teal because you can see the details (bow, pockets, etc) and the color compliments you so well. But the tulip print is such a statement piece. I bet people can’t help but look and admire it.

  14. Sam says:

    I had to go for the teal version. I think the plain fabric really shows off the detail of the dress that the print fabric doesn’t. However, that’s not to say that I don’t like the tulip version, because I do!

    How do you manage to get your photos looking so good? Mine, particularly of me modelling a garment, always look very unprofessional!

    • I do try hard to only photograph myself in natural light ie avoiding having any overhead lightbulbs switched on. Difficult, at this time of year. I then use basic photo editing software to crop and boost photos. You can use an online free editing service called PicMonkey to do the same!

      • Sam says:

        Thank you! I think my problem is using artificial light – and the fact that I always feel very awkward! I’ve just discovered Picmonkey and have also used Picasa. I’ll keep trying!

  15. Graca says:

    Both dresses suit you very well. The pattern was perfect for the print. And you’re wearing those shoes I love.

  16. Lucym808 says:

    That is a tough call. I voted for the teal only because I love the colour so much and because I think a plain print does more justice to the detail of the pattern. But the tulips are utterly gorgeous, and I’d never heard of double gauze. I’d love to rub it between my fingers and get the full experience!

  17. Lucym808 says:

    Have to ask: were you tempted to make the tulip dress with long sleeves? Cos I think that would look even more stunning!

  18. liza jane says:

    I’m a print girl, so I love the tulips version. That fabric! I bet it feels wonderful.

  19. Olive says:

    That’s one of my most favoritest things I’ve seen you make. Love love love it!

  20. orange says:

    I simply ADORE this dress. I would buy that in a shop in a heartbeat. I don’t always have the same taste as you in fabric patterns but this dress really pops and glows and gives me serious dress envy. Make me one please?

  21. sewbusylizzy says:

    I adore them both. The teal dress looks much more ‘serious’ and the colour is divine. This print dress is so unique and the fabric beyond fabulous. They are two completely different dresses and it’s a bit like asking us to chose a favourite child! Can we love them equally for different reasons? I am definitely going to track down some of this elusive double gauze in the UK next year – what a great souvenir!!

  22. Roobeedoo says:

    Impossible to choose – they are so different from each other.
    Both lovely (of course!).
    I wouldn’t have the courage to work with such a large print. You say you chose a pattern with lots of pieces to break it up, but I would have been looking for a simple shift to avoid the need to pattern-match… and I would indeed have ended up with a dress that looked like a curtain! I need to learn to look at prints in a different way. I have a real mental block!

  23. That dress (Tantalising Tulips) is delightfully pretty! so is the teal.

  24. Donna says:

    I like the tulip print because it’s the one that said “you could wear this pattern” to me. The teal one is lovely, but it’s says formal, professional event to me. The tulip one says fun night with friends.

  25. megthegrand says:

    Oh. My. Gawd. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. The print is marvelous, and I love the placement of your tulips right in front. Add in the fabulous shoes and tights and it a completely winning ensemble.

  26. LLADYBIRD says:

    So gorgeous! And I love that you match your wall 🙂

  27. I am always wild for prints but in this case it is the teal all the way. How great to get even more mileage from that pattern 🙂

  28. Jamie says:

    Wow!!! They’re both lovely, but I like this one even better. It looks fantastic on you!

  29. Fantastic print which suits you so well but I like the Teal one too.

  30. What an amazing new version! I love love loved the teal version (and it’s still my favourite cos it has a more classic vibe) but what you’ve done with the pattern here is so impressive. Breaking up the pattern in this way wouldn’t have occurred to me, I’d have tried the exact opposite! New approach for me to consider…
    Also fab styling again. Are those Chrome tights from M&S?

    • They are grey tights from M&S, but they’re pretty ancient now. I keep meaning to check if they still do them, because they are the perfect shade as an antidote to ye olde black tights.

  31. Jen (NY) says:

    Beautiful dress — maybe my favorite so far!

  32. Debbobbin says:

    I can’t choose as they look so totally different, The teal shows the design features of the dress pattern and the tulips show the print features.. You look lovely in both. I would choose teal for winter with some boots and the tulips for spring I might have a go with this pattern 🙂

  33. tinygoldenpins says:

    I keep forgetting that I ran out (that day) and bought this pattern when I saw your make in teal. It is so incredibly adorable and THE NANI IRO is amazing!!!!

  34. Helen Made says:

    Oh wow, how beautiful is this dress??? I loved the teal version, but this is just stunning!

  35. you did a fantastic job working with that big, somewhat random print! strangely, i find the details of the pattern just as noticeable on this dress, which is unusual, isn’t it? and i think i find them all the more intriguing in the tulips, as well. i want this dress. desperately!

  36. Miriam says:

    I think both look wonderful but I wouldn’t have picked them for the same pattern – I guess that’s is how fabric effects the final look

  37. Crystal says:

    Tough call since I really love both. The solid teal really shows off the interesting design lines, but I am tipped slightly toward the lovely print (worn with those awesome tights and shoes!) because I’m a print girl.

  38. Also, this was a really interesting review because I hadn’t ever thought from the view point of breaking up a large print with smaller pieces. Eye-opening and something I will mentally bookmark.

  39. Joyful says:

    I totally LOVE the print version – it so suits you. You have an amazing wardrobe!!
    I am struggling at the moment with a silky blouse in some super materila from Walthamstow outside Sainsburys man but it is slippery!! Also I am making a hash of neatening the seams so am going to buy an overlocker. Can you advise me re make – you said yours is a reasonably priced one??

  40. Miriana says:

    This is a gorgeous dress and you look lovely in it! Yesterday I was considering buying some of this fabric in this very colour, so it’s great to see it made up – I think I know what to do now!

  41. Jacqueline says:

    I actually like both dresses, they look totally different.


  42. Karen says:

    Definitely the print one!!

  43. Love the colours, they are my favourite! Styling is great too

  44. Sarah says:

    Ooh, I love it! When I saw your teal version, I went out and snapped up this patten for me 🙂

  45. Law says:

    I love this version. The fabric is lush. Don’t know why though but the teal one wins it for me, it suits you so well!

  46. Michelle says:

    Oh Karen, this dress is fabtastic!

    (And I think The Drape of My Crepe is a perfect blog name)

  47. Shivani says:

    Stunning, Karen! I love that nani iro, and you’ve used it to perfection here. Impossible to choose between the two, though: they’re both gorgeous.

  48. Venus says:

    Hi there! I just found you through Flickr and I LOVE this dress!!!! I like the print version best. I think I’ll give this pattern a try… LOVE your blog btw, I’ll be back!

  49. ShanniLoves says:

    It’s so hard to chose! I love them both! I’m a big fan of prints but there’s just something about that teal. The color is gorgeous!

  50. symondezyn says:

    I love this version, the fabric is just beautiful!! I have to say my personal preference is the teal though, because it shows off the dress’s details so wonderfully 🙂

  51. That’s a cruel thing to do, to make people choose! This looks incredible on you. I’m with Roobedoo in that I wouldn’t have thought to deliberately break the print and now I’m going to have to go away and think about my way of approaching prints. This dress is so unique and such a statement and looks fantastic on you. But that teal colour calls to me like a siren…

  52. oonaballoona says:

    this post completely stumoed me when i read it on the train days ago. i can’t BELEIVE this is the same pattern! i refuse to choose on grounds of jealous rage.

  53. When I voted the totals were 136/137 I love this version because the bright coloured print makes me feel bright, energetic and alive and this is the most slimming dress I’ve ever seen on you. I’ve never heard of the fabric before either. My mind is re-visiting all your posts to see if I also think its the best you’ve made. I think it’s the best fitting and best looking. I bought this pattern. I’ll probably make it 10 times before I get it right though, it’s probably a big ask for me at this point in my sewing career but I will learn. Love your version of this dress sooooo much. Wow

  54. kiwiendormi says:

    OMG OMG OMG I am having a heart attack. this is one of the coolest dress I have ever layed eyes on in the blogosphere. This would sell at Anthropology in a instant… And at a very high price at that! Totally in love with this dress… and so impressed that you achieved this a large-scale print! This is the proof that lareg prints are not reserved for home decor. WOW.

  55. Becca says:

    This is so fun and so beautiful! You look gorgeous. The material and the pattern are a perfect match. I don’t know that I can choose between the two versions because teal is my favorite color but this print is just lovely. I love them both!

  56. Tilly says:

    Karen. I am coming round your house and stealing this. That is all.

  57. gingermakes says:

    This is AMAZING! I absolutely love it! What a beautiful dress, and what a great use of a large print!

  58. Sewingmrsc says:

    Awesome print, really funky, I had to vote for this one, but love ’em both!

  59. Trine says:

    This is utterly amazing. Love everything about it!


  60. Katherine says:

    can’t vote, as there is no “c) yes, both are awesome” options. they’re so different that they’re perfect for a myriad of different occasions. and I apparently need to get this pattern. . .

  61. Alessa says:

    It’s an amazing dress, you perfectly showcase the beautiful fabric! The dresses both look wonderful (I may need to earmark that pattern) but I think the Tantalizing Tulip wins by the breadth of a hair for the playfulness. 🙂

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  64. Is that what it looks like on a real person? Oh I wanted to get that pattern but was afraid of what the finished product would be. Ot looks amazing with either material.

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