Finally - Cynthia Rowley Dress (a.k.a. Simplicity 1314).

I finally found some time to tackle the backlog of blog pictures. A mammoth session with six garments finally photographed.  I can't say they are great photos (they never are with me, and I keep telling myself I must do something about this, but then, I remind myself that really, I am not interested in this aspect of sewing at all, because it is not sewing, if that makes sense.  But I like to show you what I have made, and I know lots of you like to see a pattern made up, especially if you are considering making it), especially as I took lots at once, which was just so boring!

I know you have been waiting for this dress to appear on my blog.  Cynthia Rowley, Simplicity 1314:

This dress is designed for stretch knits only, and has about a one third stretch, if you get my meaning.  My knit was a lot firmer than this, and I don't think a stretch knit would do me much justice, as it would just cling to the wrong places with me.  I'm small, but I do have a tummy, so a firmer knit is better for my tummy area.  It's a princess seamed garment, with an invisible zip at the back  and a seam at the waist area in the front and back panel.  And the seams are curved in quite a flattering shape, as I later found out.

As for size, I chose size 12, with size 10 shoulders.  I made a quick muslin of the dress out of old t-shirts - I keep them for this purpose.  Although the waist should be higher, according to the sketch and the pattern marking, I decided to go with where it was as it was and see what happened. Not that I was lazy, of course.   And this strategy worked well as the dress looks okay and the waist seam looks fine.  I lengthened the dress by 2.75 inches and added a split at the back.  I raised the neckline at the front and back - more at the front, less at the back.  When I was sewing the garment, I eased the back neckline into the facing to help it sit nicely.  I seamed the armhole/sleeve with a 3/8 inch seam, as it looked as though the 5/8 was going to be too high on my shoulder.

The fabric was a polyester/cotton knit, with a Lacoste look.  I had been wondering what to make with it, and this  sporty but still classic dress was the perfect choice.  I thought the fabric would be easy to work with, but it was a pain to sew.  Not any of my machines or needles liked it, but I ploughed on regardless. I chose to sew the seams first, which was just as well, because  the overlocker hated the fabric, and skipped stitches, but that doesn't matter.  You have to really go searching for the imperfections inside, and really, I don't think I encourage people to look inside my clothes.  What's in there is my business!  But I don't mind showing you some features.

The zip - I don't have a special foot, but you can get by with the ordinary zipper foot on an industrial machine - you have to really work at unfolding the zip a bit, but it is doable:

You can also see the waistline seam in the back, and the curved seams of the panels.  I actually matched the waist seams well when I inserted the zip - not easy on a knit.  I also had to use a black zip, so it was quite important that it went in well.  I thought black toned better with the very saturated blue I was using. The blue invisible zips at Spotlight are a strange colour and just looked wrong with this fabric.

And the back, inside, I managed to get those facings exactly even and everything looking neat. The instructions were good:

Beat in mind I was working with quite a thick knit, so I was pleased with the zipper insertion.

And the front seam curve, also shows the waistline seam across the front panel:

I made the dress as per the instructions and it went together simply and easily - excepting my battles with the fabric which really was a tough sort of knit to deal with.  Strangely, it feels okay on.

I took heaps of pictures of this dress, but only a handful turned out.  Self timed photos are just so awkward as you never know quite what you have until you load them into the computer. So, I have found the best - so you can only guess how bad the others where!  Eyes shut, scowling, out of focus, too dark, etc etc.

Well, that is hardly my best photo - no smile, poor posture and sticking my tummy out!

The back and side views are better:

Well, I do like this dress, and although some aspects could be tweaked, this is a very wearable new addition to my wardrobe.  Smart, able to be worn as a transitional garment as well as on cooler summer day,s and best of all, wash and wear.

I think this dress would look stunning in a stretch cotton sateen.  Maybe one day. And I certainly would not want to make it in anything stretchier or clingier (is that a word?)  as that just would not suit me.

Well, I will finish with my opening photo, because my posture is so much better and shows the dress to be much more flattering. And I am smiling.

I had some fabric left over, enough to make a skirt:

But that will be the subject of next weeks blog post.  Which means I am back to regular blogging and commenting from this week.  Things are settling down a bit.  Hooray :)

That's it for now, take care everyone, and see you all next week,

Sarah Liz


  1. It really is a lovely dress Sarah Liz, and I enjoyed your detailed construction information. Inserting an invisible zip into a knit is certainly a challenge and it looks perfect. This is a pattern worth investigation, I think.

  2. You did a fantastic job with this pattern, and your new dress is beautiful. The zipper insertion is really top notch.

  3. Lovely dress and colour. Worth your troubles!
    I had major problems inserting an invisible zipper into a slightly stretch fabric as the teeth were too thick for my special foot and stitches skipped and the sewing jammed in one place without moving forward. Even after doing one side, the zoo wouldn't own or close so I had to take it out. I had to give up. My class tutor inserted the zip on an industrial machine using an ordinary foot. I was in awe!

  4. That Rowley dress was made for you Sarah. Great fit and color.

  5. That Rowley dress was made for you Sarah. Great fit and color.

  6. Beautiful dress, and I love that color on you. You did an excellent job matching the seams too..
    Happy sewing.
    ps... I so agree with the photo taking thing.. I can not do photography at all.. Photos look awful that I take.. and really , I am not interested in it.ha

  7. Beautiful dress and those seams are very nice. You did an excellent job on getting this made with the fabric being so difficult so wear it with pride.

  8. Very nice dress. Your zip insertion turned out great. Very clever to sew this in without an invisible zip foot.

  9. Geat dress and color looks fabulous on you. I learned to insert an invisible zipper from a Sew Stylish Magazine article using a regular zipper foot.

  10. That dress looks really beautiful on you. The construction and fit look amazing.

  11. Your dress looks lovely and the colour is fabulous on you. Great job with matching the waist seam on the zip. To get mine to match I sew that part of the zip with a basting stitch - it holds everything in place for when I set in the zip.

    Oh, and I'm with you with the photos - I love it when they are taken and I can write a blog post, but boy - I could sew so much more if I didn't take photos!

  12. Very flattering dress in a great color . The fit is spot on !

  13. Thanks for posting this review, Sarah, I have long wondered how it would look on a real person and not a model. The answer is - very well; the fit looks perfect on you, the extra length is much better, and I love the curved seams. So flattering! The blue is a very flattering colour, and I think maybe a wine colour would look really nice in this. I like the mid length sleeves too. Unfortunately it's woolly jumper knitting time for me due to the cold weather. Ah well, I can dream! Regards, Trish

  14. Very, very nice dress on you Sarah Liz. Great job on all aspects of construction and the fit is spot on.

  15. This dress is so perfect on you: the fit and the colour. Everything is amazing! Bravo!

  16. Your dress turned out so beautiful. The fabric looks so professional. I'm glad you had enough left over to make a skirt. I'm sure you'll get a lot of wear out of both.

  17. Sporty but classic is a great description of this beautiful dress that looks fantastic on you! :)

  18. Beautiful dress!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Just a Blog Post

Rebecca Page Brand Ambassador.

2018 Make a Garment A Month Guidelines