Why Reinvent The Wheel?

Simplicity 1882

Whenever I pull on my double gauze Tantalising Tulips dress I think, Dang! This is a nice dress. I really need to sew another one. Then I saw this cotton sateen selling for £3 a metre from The Man Outside Sainsburys. Can you believe I nearly walked away from it? Thank goodness I came to my senses and bought a couple of metres.

Simplicity 1882 Collage

I then hit a weekend where I had no plans and the need to distract myself with some meditative sewing. The Simplicity 1882 ticked several boxes:

  • I’d sewn it twice before.
  • Which meant all fitting issues had already been addressed.
  • It didn’t need lining.
  • I loved it!

So, with no need to make a toile, I plunged straight in. This is such a sweet pattern. The several pattern pieces break up a heavy print. It has a sweet collar and bow and – if I’d bought more than two metres of fabric – really excellent pockets. But two metres wasn’t quite enough, and even with some fabric and pattern jigsaw manoeuvres, I couldn’t squeeze pockets out of this make.

Simplicity Hem

It’s worth taking the time to hand sew your hems. Hand stitches sink into this cotton sateen, hiding from view. Cotton sateen is an extraordinarily forgiving fabric that is easy to work with, can be tossed into the washing machine and has that bit of stretch that makes life more comfortable. It also has great density of colour and is pretty affordable.

Simplicity 1882 William Morris Gallery

Every step of the way on this dress I kept thinking, Something’s going to trip me up. I waited for something to go wrong. It never happened. The zip went in first time. There were no problems with fitting. I didn’t even have to rip out a sleeve! I felt as though this dress was telling me something.

Well, one thing it did tell me is that if you have a pattern you like, that fits well and you know how to sew – why waste time reinventing the wheel? At least now I know how Dolly Clackett knocks out a dress in a weekend, often returning to well-loved patterns. There are no flies on that woman. She knows what she likes and she likes what she sews. Not a bad recipe for life.

Simplicity 1882 close up

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57 Responses to Why Reinvent The Wheel?

  1. You made a lovely dress. Love your sweet doggie!

  2. Sheree says:

    Love the colours of this dress. They really suit you.

  3. JaneyB says:

    What a beautiful dress – and the strawberry ring is a perfect match!

  4. Alice says:

    I’m a long time reader, but haven’t commented before. I think this is one my favourite items you’ve made. Both the fabric and pattern suit you so well! The best part is that you know it. I definitely agree with sticking to what you know works well for amazing results.

  5. Cherry says:

    Really suits you.

  6. Jane says:

    I think this dress is trying to tell you something too! 😉 It’s perfect and you look lovely in it. I really must sew this pattern up – I’ve had a copy ever since I saw your first version! x

  7. Oh this is lovely! And what a sweet pup.

  8. Thimberlina says:

    I’ve yet to find my tnt dress, but when I do I hope it’s as fab as yours! this looks stunning on you, could easily be dressed up for a wedding, or down for a summer picnic 😃

  9. Miss J says:

    So true girl!

    Every time I sew I’m drafting a new pattern or worse still trying a new technique, that’s why I’m knocking out a dress a quarter of I’m lucky! So damn slow!

    I like where you took your photos, looks like a pleasant walk and just the right frock for the weather.

  10. very pretty, I love it! great colors and fit is spot on. and you are getting some good use out of that pattern 🙂

  11. This is gorgeous! I wasn’t familiar with this pattern but I’m looking into it now… with all the great indie patterns out there, I often overlook the fact that the Big 4 have some nice patterns too. I’ve often had problems with the fit, but I’m tempted to try some of these “amazing fit” patterns to see if they’re any better!

  12. ellegeemakes says:

    What a fabulous dress! I have that pattern, but haven’t tried it, just might have to now….The neckline looks great on you. I think there is much to be said for meditative sewing, for repeating something that you’ve done before. It’s so simple and pleasureable!

  13. Frances says:

    Quite simply – Stunning.

  14. Jude says:

    Nice work. S1882’s a favourite of mine too. I’ve used in different cotton sateens both for me (long sleeved with self piping) and as a gift for my mum (short sleeved with collar and contrast). Amazing Fit fit amazingly. I originally found your blog while I made my first 1882, stumbling across your post of a turquoise and black version.

  15. So beautiful, I totally agree a repeat pattern makes for therapeutic sewing. You can just enjoy the sew with no worries in fit. Have fun wearing it.

  16. Chris says:

    This must be one of my favourites of your makes (and there are many that I like!) The pattern is great and the fabric is to die for! I’ll be in London soon, so maybe I get a chance to visit TMOS for a little indulgent fabric shopping.

  17. Who is the man outside Sainsbury’s?

  18. Ooooh….way to make my heart pitter patter a little faster! Your dress is gorgeous! And yes, it’s my favourite of the versions you have made. It’s so true! Sewing a tried and true pattern is just easier! And why not? I can’t think of a single reason!

  19. I think that this is one of the nicest things you have made. It suits you so well and looks very chic. I absolutely love the print on this fabric. Really going to have to put TMOS on my must-visit list for the next time I am down in London. Xx

  20. Claire says:

    I really like everything about this dress and how great to make something with no problems.

  21. Christina says:

    Perfect little dress for you. The bow is adorable!

  22. That fabric, that style, that woman in it, talk about a style sandwich! Perfectly accessorised by a black doggie 🙂 xo

  23. Such a beautiful dress. Lovely colors.

  24. So pretty! Beautiful fabric.

  25. Linda T says:

    Think I need to pick up this pattern! Lovely print for your pretty dress.

  26. danvillegirl says:

    This is a lovely dress! Very pretty fabric and perfect for this pattern.

  27. Such a pretty dress and perfect in this fabric.

  28. Sewniptuck says:

    You are clearly a traditional english rose type, this just sits so well on you. Don’t you just love it when the marriage between fabric, pattern and personality was made in heaven?! Enjoy x

  29. Bella says:

    What a perfect pairing of pattern and fabric! I have to agree with you about cotton sateen. What’s not to love?! I just made a tried and true skirt pattern from some cotton sateen and am so happy with the results! I think that the combination of colour, stretch, and a little bit of structure just make it so fun to sew with.

  30. Cherie says:

    Such excellent comments here, I can’t do better! You go, girl, it, you and doggie make quite a lovely show!!!

  31. Caroline T says:

    Hi Karen. What a beautiful dress and a bargain fabric. Am tempted to get on a train and visit the man outside Sainsburys! I definitely agree with you – if you love a pattern, know that it fits and suits you, no reason use a new one. 🙂

  32. You are so local to me it’s freaky. As soon as I saw the line “the man outside sainsburys” I wonder if you were an e17 lass and then when the pictures showed you in the William morris gallery garden…
    Love the dress! And we are so blessed with amazing fabric shops and stalls here aren’t we?

  33. chris says:

    What a beautiful dress, you look fabulous. I love what you make Karen and have kept so many of your blog entries to inspire me when I get to do some sewing during the holidays. Unfortunately we don’t have a TMOS down here in France and I never seem to find any fabric quite as lovely as you do. Any recommendation on your ‘go to’ internet fabric sourcer? Thanks for inspiring us all and keep up the great work 🙂

  34. I love this dress Karen. The fit is spot on. i couldn’t agree more on reinventing the wheel. I do spend way too much time on fitting ;o) I love Amazing fit patterns…I am thinking i should get them all…

  35. kieravanella says:

    What a stunning, stunning dress! Love it!

  36. Anne-Marie says:

    Beautiful colours, beautiful dress that suits you so well. You look great!

  37. Esther says:

    A lovely repeat that really suits you. I purchased the pattern after seeing your fab teal dress and have used it twice both in cotton sateen. I didn’t recognise the pattern for this one to begin with, the collar, pockets and sleeve options make it very versatile, I really must try the collar version. Today is the first day of our spare room becoming a sewing/office space (I had to sell the idea somehow) with some fab Goldhawk Rd feather fabric ready for sewing.

  38. Ann says:

    Went back to sewing about 6 months ago and found this whole new world of sewing blogs. Must have been reading too many of them coz I knew exactly what you mean abou the man outside sainsbury! Unfortunately on my pilgrimage to see him ( I live down in West Sussex so it was a special outing!) he wasn’t there! Gutted still , an excuse to go again. Your dress is lovely…can’t go far wrong for £3 a metre! Wish I lived nearer!!!!

  39. Leigh Ann says:

    That is the prettiest dress I’ve ever seen! I want it. Can I have it? (Just kidding. I couldn’t get it zipped up.) You did a beautiful job.

    I always wondered how some bloggers turned out so many garments so fast. But then I’m the slowest sewist in the world (I refuse to write “slowest sewer,” yikes, it looks funny), and I bop from one pattern to the next, never quite perfecting anything. I think I need to focus and make a pattern several times until it’s good. Because that dress = gorgeous.

  40. Jenna says:

    I love the colours in this dress, they really suit you. It was lovely meeting you on Saturday – Ella is gorgeous!! xx

  41. Debra says:

    You are so good at picking the right fabric for a pattern. This dress is lovely but I liked the teal one so much I’ve ordered the pattern. It seems to be discontinued on the link in your post but John Lewis have a few left. Might have to add a little volume to the skirt so that I can cycle in it. Thanks for the review, I wouldn’t have considered this pattern without it.

  42. Tasia says:

    Love this on you! There’s something very satisfying about being able to sew a project from start to finish without worrying about fit or adjustments.

  43. I’ve had this pattern for ages and something newer and shinier always came along before it made it out of the envelope, but seeing yours made up has definitely pushed it up my to-sew list!

  44. Love! It’s a great print, good thing you didn’t walk away! I love this neckline on you. I also I love not reinventing the wheel. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before somewhere but except when I really want something new and fun I’d be pretty happy making lots of different versions and tweaks to a small selection patterns. I’m doing that right now: a trouser pattern I labored long and hard on to get the fit decent, and now I’m switching up a couple of small things and turning it into shorts. Feels wonderful to know the challenges are worked out and as long as I don’t bungle it up (always possible), I’ll really like the results.

  45. Kathy Lynch says:

    Quite simply: perfection! (I love that this dress looks equally good with heels or flats; must be the perfect length.)

  46. Looks like a really useful pattern. Thank you.

  47. Jan says:

    A beautiful dress, Karen. I have been inspired to buy this Simplicity pattern and have bought some fabric from TMOS this morning ( although he is not outside Sainsburys on Tuesdays). Have you seen the new fabric shop in Walthamstow? It’s near the haberdashery shop, on the same side and has some fantastic fabric piled high.

  48. B-rouchka says:

    Your dress does not ressemble to the Simplicity model at all. And I like your version muuuch more. Really wondering whether it is the fabric… Great job

  49. Peta says:

    What a pretty dress Karen – it looks really lovely on you. I like your idea of using ‘tried and true’ patterns. I already have several pieces of fabric ready to make multiple versions of the dress I’m working on at the moment (as soon as I’ve perfected the fit, that is!)

  50. Really lovely dress! It is an even more beautiful rendition than your previous one. You made it perfect. I love tha way you put yur invisible zipper, I still have to learn to do it better, as you can see:
    Maybe you direct us to some tutorial to improve the invisibility of our zippers??

  51. tinygoldenpins says:

    OK. I have this pattern. I have two stashes of large floral cotton sateen and hub is working this weekend. You got me. Yours is so so so lovely — those color!

  52. Love, Love Love, wanty, wanty that pattern. I love shift dresses and I am always looking for one with good details, this is it. Jo xxxxxx

  53. Anne Wheeler says:

    I rarely, if ever comment on blogs…I just wanted to let you know this dress is beautiful and you look fantastic in it!!! The style, the colors, the print; it just looks great!! I think this is one of your best!

  54. Twilight says:

    Oh my goodness! This is just so pretty!

  55. PinhouseP says:

    That is such a lovely dress! I really like cotton sateen, too. It is great to work with 🙂

  56. Andrea says:

    Outstanding design … I love to wear it myself!

  57. Pingback: Top 5 Best Fabrics For Hot Weather | Did You Make That?

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