Do you ever make something that fits so nice, you’ve got to make it twice? Last spring when I began consciously trying to improve my skills as a garment sewist, I turned to (where else) Instagram stories, asking folks what patterns to sew and what fabrics to use from a selection I’d pulled from my stash. In the end Simplicity 1803 and a lovely, light blue, medium-ish scale floral print fabric won out. BUT! I only had a little bit of the blue fabric everyone was messaging me about loving. Instead, I opted to make a “full size” dress from Simplicity 1803, which you’ve read about here.
The funny thing about making your own clothes is that if you make something you realize you really like, you can make more! And with tweaks if you want! I know normal people buy multiples of clothes they love, and this is kind of like that, but somehow way cooler because it involves crafts? At any rate, the way the skirt of my 1803 dress fit really delighted me, weird pocket placement and all (I’ll refer you to that other 1803 blog post for context). The waist hits at a very natural place on me, the skirt is full without being a million miles of fabric, and yes, there are pockets!
So do you just make half of the pattern?
YEP! And in the case of the skirt, the half you’re making is significantly easier, too! :) The only thing you have to figure out on your own is how to add a waistband in place of the bodice, and then you install a much shorter zipper. (Quick sidenote: If you’re into the idea of a tutorial on how to do this, I might be down if there’s enough interest. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see it.)
In addition to making just the skirt of the 1803 dress pattern, I opted to use heavier weight contrast fabric for the pockets and waistband. The yellow gingham was a fabric remnant I’d grabbed at a random JoAnn years ago. Having worn this skirt several times, I can tell you the heavy duty waistband worked awesome, but the pockets ended up not really needing the extra reinforcement in the end. I won’t change them in a million years though, because contrast fabric pockets that match a zipper and waistband spark endless joy for me in my handmade wardrobe.
P.S. About that zipper…
I try not to prattle on too long in these Handmade Wardrobe posts, so I’ll tack on this little post-script real quick. Forgiving the direct photos of my rear end, they’re here for a reason. The zipper I installed is one of my favorite finds from a local creative reuse center called The Wasteshed. You can buy used/pre-owned arts and crafts supplies, including fabric, yarn and notions. Thanks to shamelessly scouring The Wasteshed’s zipper drawers, I snagged that gorgeous, buttery yellow zipper in its original packaging for $0.25. The thing about original zipper packaging from 1949 is that the original price from the ’40s is right up front: $0.35. I paid less than the original package price for an all-metal zipper that was 70 years old! That alone is terribly exciting to me! ;)