Rib turtleneck dress |Vintage Simplicity 8977

Simplicity 8977

I’m finally getting around to posting about a little dress that I made ages ago (I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here…). I took picture last weekend, while enjoying the fantastic weather we had in London. In hindsight, good call, Batman, because it went back to being freezing here (although quite sunny) and those toes would not have lasted in sandals even for a few seconds. And I had it in my head that this dress requires chunky heels. I feel like I’m impersonating Mimi G while wearing this dress and you can’t do Mimi G without the heels.

See what I mean?

But let’s chat about the genesis of this outfit a bit. In August last year I went to Abakhan in Mostyn with my sewing bee buddies and I had a ball. As per usual with any Abakhan visits, I buy my body weight in fabric, and this time I had to carry it all back from flippin’ Cheshire. Not that it ever stopped me before, I often bring back more than I can carry from Manchester. Anyhoo… The point is that I saw this fabric and all I could think of was a flared turtleneck maxi dress (we were going into Autumn then, so it would have been perfectly season appropriate). I looked for the right pattern for ages until I came across this Simplicity vintage pattern, 8977 and ended up buying it off e-bay. It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but close enough, and I figured I could hack it to a much wider bottom.

Now, what I did not realise was that the fabric was not 150 cm wide, but about 120 cm, which put a bit of a damper on my plans. Basically, I did not have enough to make the skirt super flared, so I had to contend with a sort of extended A-line. Hmm, ok, I could live with that.

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Now, that’s a super simple project, right? Only 4 pattern pieces, a half an hour job, right? Wrong! How in the world the easiest makes take up so much time? I really struggled with the ribbing, to get it even. I also could not get the hem straight for some reason…

And of course because it’s such a simple project, I didn’t make a toile, not that I do even for more complex ones… And once it was all done, I put the dress on and realise the bust darts were sticking halfway up to my neck. I could for the life of me imagine why in the world did they draft them so high. And then I took another look at the pattern and realised it was a teen size, so maybe they draft the bust darts higher to make up for shorter upper body?

So at this point, I really could not be bothered to do anything else to it. I finished the hem and put it on a hanger.

But a few month later, I kept thinking I need to either send it to charity or fix it, I was in a sort of UFO cavalcade mode. I really didn’t want to move the darts on the pattern and recut etc, but there was no way I could wear it with the darts a million miles above my bust point. So I had this idea that maybe I could just get rid of them altogether. I mean, it was jersey and should be ok without darts. I had seen Neenah from Seamwork in the meantime, which is a very similar pattern, and I just said to myself, if they can get away without darts, so can I.


So I unpicked the darts and the side seams downwards of them, and just sewed it all back together, working the additional length downwards. And I think I got away with it. But then the bottom hem was completely uneven and to be fair, the original version was not the straightest either, so I ended up lobbing off a good 20 cm chunk and made it a midi length.

Whew, that was a long story for such an easy pattern. But I feel much happier with this project now, and it’s oddly comfortable to wear. Although I must confess I still struggle with what type of season id this suitable for… It goes great with sandals and flats, but it has long sleeves and a turtle neck. But then it’s a bit thin for boots and winter coats, not to mention it’s showing off from under my winter coat… Hmmm, complicated… Advise appreciated!

In the meantime, here are the details.

Fabric: wide ribbed cotton from Abakhan

Pattern: Simplicity 8977 Vintage, size 11/12, bust 32; I initially cut view 3 (maxi), but reduced to view 2 (midi)

Alterations: removed bust dart

Construction: I used the overlocker for the assembly and the coverhem for the sleeve and bottom hems. No particular difficulties at all. If you’re planning to make this yourself, just pay attention to the dart placement, best to tissue fit before cutting out.

Verdict: I doubt I would make this pattern again, as I have already got Neenah from Seamwork and that seems an easier option. I am still pinning for may flared maxi dress with a turtle neck… Oh, someday…

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But in the meantime, I will try to get as much wear out of this one, I love the colour and I feel like I do need a bit of pink in my life…

Thanks for reading! Since we got another bank holiday tomorrow, I’m off sewing two outfits for upcoming weddings. I’m really struggling with too many ideas, this is harder than the actual sewing!!


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  1. 16 April 2017 / 9:50 PM

    Hi. You look lovely!. Can I suggest that you peg the hemline in by 1- 1.5″ each side seam. Ok….You`re sacrificing comfort for sexiness. Mmm. Just a little bit? 😉 x

    • Alex
      16 April 2017 / 11:35 PM

      Thank you! And good point, will pin it up to see how it looks.

  2. 16 April 2017 / 9:56 PM

    Wedding outfit? ….Depends on the venue. Go for layers. Gorgeous dress with strappy top for the evening……With lovely quirky little bolero or jacket. Go girl!

  3. 16 April 2017 / 10:40 PM

    Love it! And I love the photo shoot too! 🙂

    • Alex
      16 April 2017 / 11:34 PM

      Thank you! We sort of live by the Grand Union canal, so it occurred to me after 5 years that it could make a good photo shoot background! 😬

  4. 17 April 2017 / 7:09 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this, I too have been working on what was supposed to be an easy skirt project which has turned out not to be the case. You have motivated me to not give up on it, thanks!

    • Alex
      17 April 2017 / 8:16 AM

      So glad to hear it! I hope you will end up wearing your skirt with loads of pleasure! Thanks for stoping by.

      • 8 May 2017 / 8:14 PM

        Finished it! and I am really pleased with it. Now on to the next project….

  5. 17 April 2017 / 10:44 AM

    Oh I feel your pain regarding weird darts! I had the same problem recently (actually the opposite problem, darts comically low which gave me droopy boob look) and came up with the same solution. Mercifully, mine was only a top, so I didn’t have that much unpicking to do.

    • Alex
      23 April 2017 / 12:44 PM

      I really hope this is not turning into a repeat occurrence, I so hate making toiles!! Maybe do a quick tissue fit though, to avoid unpicking… :S

  6. 17 April 2017 / 11:13 AM

    Oh it’s a pain when something that ‘should be’ simp,e turns out to be a pain but well done on sorting it!!

    • Alex
      23 April 2017 / 12:42 PM

      Thank you Sarah!

  7. 18 April 2017 / 6:41 PM

    Beautiful fit as always! I recently made a 1950’s pattern blouse… and the bust darts were also very high, my mom confirmed during her stay here that the bras were very high and pointy in those days. And maybe even more with teens! So either we have to alter the darts… or ask Jean-Paul Gauthier to makes pointy bras like Madonna.

    • Alex
      23 April 2017 / 12:42 PM

      Thank you! Ha ha, I will stay away from pointy boobs for the moment! I’m making a vintage Burda pattern at the moment and there is definitely a bit of pointy boob action going on here too!

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