Appleby Makes’ Zoe Dress

admin Pattern Review, Tips & Tricks 3 Comments

Hello! My Simple Sew make for this month is a nice and easy one! It’s the Zoe dress & top.

I’m about to go on holiday and I thought that a simple throw-over dress would be perfect to take with me to wear over my tankini. So that’s what I’ve made!

I chose a grey chambray fabric from Boyes (a local department store) and I think it was perfect for this project. The star of the show for this make though is the top-stitching. I have some pink top-stitching thread which I’m saving for a pair of me-made jeans. I knew I had enough to squeeze this make out of it too. The Zoe dress is a great project to try if it’s your first time with contrast top-stitching thread. Just remember that your bobbin has your standard thread in it, i.e. the same thread you’ve used to construct the actual garment!

The Zoe dress is a very simple pattern. There are two back pieces and two front pieces and they join to create a centre front and centre back seam. These seams get highlighted with top-stitching.

To make sure my top-stitching was nice and neat I used my ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot for my sewing machine. It has a blade running down the centre of it which you position in a seam allowing you to sew straight in there. I nudged the needle over to one side so I could get neat top-stitching parallel to my seam line. Hopefully you can see it in the photo below.

For the top-stitching I increased the stitch length to 3.5.

Two parallel lines of stitching!

The neckline has a facing which you stitch on with a 1cm seam allowance and flip over. You then top stitch 3cm away from the neckline. Not only does this look good but it also catches the facing so it stays put and doesn’t flip over. Just to make sure that I’m accurate I like to draw on the stitching line. I use an iron-off pen for this. These are so useful but you sometimes get ghost lines on some types of fabric when you iron the pen off. As I was going over this line with thick stitching I wasn’t too worried about it.

I tend to use whatever ruler comes to hand!

Drawn on and ready to stitch!

Here’s a close of the neckline and the centre front seam in situ!

I followed the instructions exactly and they were pretty good. There was no confusion at all. Just remember that the sleeve bands also attach to the dress with a 1cm seam allowance. That’s not stated in the instructions but it is stated on the pattern itself.

The one change I made was to shorten the dress. It came out a lot longer than I was expecting it to, so I lopped a good 20cm off the bottom of the dress. As I’m using it for hot and sunny climes I thought short was good!

The dress is loose-fitting and you want it to be. I am slightly between sizes with Simple Sew patterns. As a size 14 can be a bit too big I cut a size 12. I probably could have done to size up as I do need to wriggle around to get the dress on and it is a smidge too tight across the bust but it fits nicely everywhere else.

So, what do you think? I really like my new dress and I think it will be so useful! A perfect day dress for summer, but add a polo neck underneath, some thick tights and a pair of boots and you’ve also got a perfect autumn dress too!

Corrine blogs at


Comments 3

    1. Hi Cindy. All Simple Sew patterns use a 1.5cm seam allowance, which is built into the pattern pieces – no need to add it yourself. Some pieces use a smaller seam allowance – usually around necklines and armholes – but this is taken into account with the pattern pieces too. Hope that helps!

  1. Pingback: Simple Sew Zoe Dress | applebymakes

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