Crafts · Sewing

Dressmaking: Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1873

I did it… 1 month late mind you, but I did it! I completed my first dress by following a pattern! And if I don’t say so myself, I think it looks quite fabulous!

dress hanging

Ever since moving to Berlin I’ve had more chances to pursue my hobbies, and I’ve come to realize I LOVE making things with my own hands, whether it be clothing, jewelry, extravagant cakes, or even home improvement projects, I really get a lot of satisfaction out of making things. Perhaps I pursued the wrong career choice? Should I have gone into the trades, instead of following the masses and expectations of my parents into an intellectual-based career… who knows? Is it too late to switch at the ripe age of 27? I don’t think the man would be too impressed…

Anyways, for fun I tackled this dress. Now, acquiring english dress patterns in Germany is pretty impossible. Although many of the sewing stores do sell patterns, they are all in German. If you are an experienced sewer then you could probably pick one of these up and be fine if as long as the instructions include pictures. However, since I’m a newbie sewer, I opted to order my pattern from since they ship to Germany.

I originally planned to make this dress to wear for Christmas back in Canada, but I never finished it time… life got in the way. Oh well.

dress wearing

Overall, I highly recommend this pattern. If a newbie like me can figure it out, anybody can! I was hesitant about the sizing, since I was between pattern sizes, so I actually traced out the pattern onto pieces of large clear blue garbage bags believe it or not, and used those as my cut-out pattern pieces. Turns out I fit pretty good into the size 34 (though I did need to take the torso in a bit), but I’m still happy that I made this decision, because now I still have the original pattern pieces intact. This way, I can make another version of this dress, perhaps for my sisters, who are a touch broader than me and would need the size up.

I grabbed my fabric from the Maybachufer Turkish Market in Kreuzberg, for 4€/m… though, in retrospect, I wish I opted for something a bit nicer, since I suspect the fabric I bought is originally upholstery fabric. Oh well, it’s just another excuse to make another one! 

This dress can be dressed up really nicely for fancy occasions, since it is slim fitting, a rich solid colour (in my version), and has a fairly conservative neckline (though, I think I may have made the shirt hem a bit too short). Or, on the flip side, can be dressed down with a slouchy wool sweater, fun tights, and wedge heels. Totally versatile!



6 thoughts on “Dressmaking: Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1873

  1. Hi! Just came across this as I was searching for people’s finished versions of this dress as I’m planning to make one this month. Yours is stunning! Most other versions are rather summery and lovely but I was hoping to find some slightly more wintery inspiration, which you’ve just shown me is possible! Beautiful. xx


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