Are you looking for party dress inspiration? Particularly for a party dress that looks great on many different types of curvy bodies? While indie patterns typically get more buzz than Big 4 patterns on sewing social media, one particular party dress-appropriate pattern from Simplicity has quietly become a consistent favorite in the CSC community over the past few years.
The pattern in question is Simplicity 8096, a dress from Simplicity’s “Amazing Fit” line, and it has a lot of features to appeal to curvy sewists:
- An inclusive size range: 40″/102 cm – 54″/137 cm bust and 42″/107 cm – 56″/142 cm hip
- Cup sizes from B-DD
- Fit-and-flare shape
- Princess seams
- Bra-friendly shoulder straps
- Two different skirt lengths
With all of these options, this pattern could easily be dressed up for a holiday party or a wedding or dressed down for a casual summer sundress. Read on to learn how each of our curvy sewists made this pattern their own.
- Measurements: Bust –48″/123cm, Bra Size – 44D, Waist – 41″/104cm, Hips – 52″/132cm, Height – 5’8″/172.7cm
- Body Shape: Pear-ish/Spoon
- Pattern size used: 26W/28W
- Alterations: Tanya graded between sizes, did a slight swayback adjustment to the back bodice, adjusted the sleeves to fit, and adjusted the princess seams on the bust.
- Fabric: Green/white gingham print cotton, lined with green silk/cotton voile.
- Fit: Tanya has made other dresses with similar styles, but she prefers the fit of the Simplicity 8096. She both likes the fit of the pattern and ease of adjusting the fit. She also likes how the pleating of the skirt skims her hip/belly area without adding bulk.
- Changes for future versions: Tanya plans to make this dress again, specifically View B, with some additional changes. She’d try the C-cup instead of the D-cup pattern pieces this time and possibly raise the back of the dress to make it friendlier to a wider variety of bras that she owns.
- Read more about Tanya’s Simplicity 8096 dress in her pattern review here on the CSC!
- Measurements: Bust – 47″/120cm, Bra Size – 46B, Waist – 43″/109cm, Hips – 53.5″/135cm, Height – 4’11″/155cm
- Body Shape: In Georgina’s words: “A mix of an apple and a rectangle, so more of an eggplant (as I look at my stuffed dressform). I have narrow shoulders and usually need to make a sway back adjustment or add in extra darts at the back of the shoulders. Having a rather small bust compared to my waist and hips, I usually grade between sizes – for example, in some patterns I will trace a 22 at the bust and trace a 24 towards the waist and hips. Depending on the pattern, I may need to shorten the bodice.”
- Pattern size used: Bust 24W, B cup, 28W for waist and hips.
- Alterations: “For the dinosaur muslin I used view B and for the wedding party dress I used view C. In both cases I skipped the pattern skirt and went with a gathered skirt and a full circle skirt respectively.
For the striped dress, I slashed the front bodice piece in half in order to create a chevron pattern. I wanted a “V’ illusion above the waist, and an inverted “V” from the waist down.
I usually have to make alterations to the upper back in most patterns, but the S8096 back pattern pieces only cover part of the back so I did not have that issue here.”
- Fabric: “For my wearable muslin I used a quilting cotton in dinosaur print from Joann’s. The blue accents are a vintage fabric from my stash, acquired in February 2014.
For the wedding guest version I used a 96 inch wide stripped cotton. Perfect for circle skirt cutting. Also taken from my stash and a fabric purchase from my first year of sewing.”
- Fit: “I really like this pattern, especially for summer dresses. I like that there are different cup options which eliminates quite a few adjustments. Having separate pieces for the shoulder straps allowed me to adjust the pattern to my narrow shoulders.
This pattern looks very much like the Sewaholic Cambie pattern, which I own but never got to make because of all the alterations I would need to make. This pattern filled that Cambie void for me.”
- Changes for future versions: “Just after two makes, I can tell that this is a TNT for me. I would probably like to try it in a different and more challenging fabric type or use a cotton sateen for a cocktail or formal dress.”
- Read more about Georgina’s sewing projects on her Instagram feed: @Araucaria29.
- Measurements: Bust – 49″/124.5 cm, Bra Cup Size – D (Bra size 105E in French sizes), Waist – 43″/109 cm, Hips – 49.5″/125.7, Height – 5’8″/172.7 cm
- Body Shape: “My shape, I guess, would be a rectangle with slimmer legs, or an apple. Though I did like a description I made one day–tall, tubular and with lumps, like an ear of corn ;)”
- Pattern size: Marion sewed a size 26W with the B-cup option graded out to 28 at the waist.
- Alterations: Marion bought the bigger pattern based on the info on the back of the envelope, but realized when reading it, that she would have been better off with the next size down and a bigger cup size. The bodice is a bit big as is; she plans to take it in and accentuate the curve under the bust.
- Fabric: Marion used a mystery satin-chiffon that’s very light and see-through, but she likes its shimmer, and it seems wrinkle-resistant, so that’s a definite win. She I lined it with a cheap polyester lining fabric, and then added a second lining in cotton for the bodice and sleeves because she found that she really didn’t like the feel of the polyester lining against her skin.
- Fit: Overall, Marion is pretty happy about the fit and isn’t embarrassed to wear it in public. However, she is sure that she would have been better off starting with a smaller bodice size and larger cup size and is disappointed that the information on the envelope steered her towards the wrong size. Apart from that, the dress is a real pleasure to wear. The neckline is lovely, she enjoys the swishy skirt, the waist is high enough not to be constricting when sitting down, and she can get it on and off in 5 seconds flat. Although she did put in a (nearly invisible ) zipper, she doesn’t actually need to use it on her “appleish” body !
- Changes for future versions: In future versions, she’ll try to grade down the bodice and accentuate the curve of the chest, or she’ll get together with someone who has the smaller sizes and get the right size from them. She might not grade out to size 28, either, but she definitely plans to make more S8096 dresses!In her own words: “I have in mind a long version with the slit, that’s going to be perfect for next summer, and another short one in a less dressy fabric, for everyday. Oh, and I’ll skip the zipper! Also, in future versions, I’ll not bother with the French instructions that came in the envelope (I’m French), the translation is so bad that at some times, they didn’t make sense. Another curvy sewer very nicely sent me photos of her English instructions, which helped me finish the dress.”
- Measurements: Bust – 50″/127 cm, Bra Size – 42DD, Waist – 42″/106.7 cm, Hips – 51″129.5 cm, Height – 5’3″/160 cm
- Body Shape: Busty hourglass with a protruding abdomen.
- Pattern size: 24W with the DD cup option
- Alterations: No fitting alterations, but Kristine did flatline (underline) all of her pattern pieces because the gingham fabric that she used was very lightweight, and she prefers the hang and feel of underlined garments.
- Fabric: 100% cotton Gingham, and 100% cotton lining.
- Fit: Kristine loved the fit of her dress!
- Changes for future versions: Kristine has no major modification plans for future versions, although she is toying with the idea of moving the invisible zipper from the back to the side so that she can more easily zip up her dress.
- To learn more about Kristine’s sewing projects, check out her Curvy vintage retro sewing group on Facebook!