My Mississippi Avenue / Simplicity 8231 Sundress Review

I made a dress! It’s been so long since I’ve done that; even longer since I’ve sewn one for myself that I’ve loved. But now I’ve done just that with Sewhouse 7’s ‘Mississippi Avenue’ dress …

I knew I wanted to sew a summer dress – a sundress – suitable for this years’ #sewtogetherforsummer sewing challenge and I confess I dithered for a while before deciding on this pattern. And then took just as long choosing the fabric; I wanted a print where the pattern repeat was fairly uniform but not too ditsy and I didn’t want to faff with pattern matching – I also wanted it in colours that would enable the dress to transition through to Autumn, paired with a cardi, tights and boots. I purchased this viscose twill ‘Feathers’ fabric from Patterns & Plains because I’ve used this ‘Linz’ base cloth from them before (in a different print). It’s a dream to work with and washes and wears brilliantly.

I cut a straight size without any alterations (apart from rotating the shoulders forward 0.5″). This very rarely, if ever, happens for me. There is a lot of joy – and time saved – in being able to sew a pattern straight ‘out of the envelope’! I have to say, I think the drafting of this dress is really quite clever – first off, the pretty shoulder ties make the shoulders a cinch to fit, literally…

…the gathering created by this cinching creates lovely pleats and shaping at the chest. The central panel is the stuff of my dreams; it allows you to fit an elastic casing through the back and side waist but leaves the front free; I hate the feeling of anything compressing my front, especially as I’m prone to perimenopausal bloating (fun fact ;-))

The dress features a high-ish, somewhat empire waist-line, a V neckline (more on that in a minute!), those spaghetti shoulder ties (which are fixed in place) and has several length options (it can also be made as a top)…

…the Mississippi is available in two formats – the indie downloadable PDF format (which I used) and as a paper pattern licenced by Sewhouse 7 to Simplicity; Simplicity 8231. Apparently there are some differences in drafting between the two formats; the indie version is graded closer to RTW sizing whilst the Simplicity version is closer to their own block, having a larger overall size range and a sleeve option. You can find the PDF pattern HERE and the Simplicity paper version HERE.

The dress sews up beautifully – apart from that, supposed, V neckline. There is no sharp V on mine but rather a gentle curve. I think if the central panel is stiched so it disappears to ‘nothing’ at the neckline – with the side front panels butting up against each other at the top then a sharp V would be created; I’ve measured the pattern pieces and this is feasible. However, on most versions I’ve seen – and certainly on my own – the top of that central panel is about 0.5″ wide at the top when stitched in, which creates a horizontal line not conducive to creating a V. I’m being really pedantic here – but that’s how my brain works! My advice would be, before you plough ahead and attach the bias binding at the neckline, take a good look at the garment in your hands first – if your central panel doesn’t disappear to nothing at the neckline, forget attaching your bias using the method shown in the instructions and instead attach it as for the armholes (starting at the shoulder line). You’ll more than likely get a neater, smoother finish that way!

These are the line drawings to illustrate what I’m referring to :

The only other thing worth a mention, construction wise, is a tool I found incredibly useful in the making of this dress. I’ve talked about the Clover Loop Pressing Bars before (in my latest Fave Tools & Gadgets post HERE) but they really are fab; I used them to press those spaghetti straps so as to easily get the seam line to run exactly centre) and …

… also to feed the elastic through that waist casing. I’ve used quite a few different methods over the years, from safety pins to bodkins – these bars are the best I’ve found so far; their length makes quick work of the job plus they they hold the elastic really securely!

I could really do with two or three Mississipi’s in my wardrobe – it’s an incredibly comfortable dress to wear; one of those effortless ‘throw on’ outfits that miraculously manages to make you look ‘put together’ whilst requiring zero effort whatsoever!

Are you planning a #sewtogetherforsummer sundress? (see the full details HERE) You still have time if you haven’t started – the closing date is the 21st June.

Until next time, happy sewing!

Disclaimer : not a sponsored post. I was given the pattern with no obligation to make or review by Sewhouse 7. Fabric and notions were purchased. Post contains some affilliate links. Sarah x

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