I’ve liked Simple Sew patterns for a while; in fact, the Grace Dress & Skirt was the first sewing pattern I ever bought and tried! In retrospect I was very lucky and needed few alterations so I was convinced I was a master sewer already – future patterns and fabrics would teach me otherwise!
If you’re reading this post as a newbie to Simple Sew, their patterns are a collection of staple wardrobe pieces that are a great option for both experienced and beginner sewers. From the patterns in the range, you could easily build a lovely capsule wardrobe with vintage inspired silhouettes that often go easily from day – night.
So imagine how happy I am to be joining the Simple Sew blog team a few years later! I may have a few more makes under my belt but I still kept my original Grace dress in the wardrobe as a memento of my first ever make, dodgy zip placement and all.
For my first Simple Sew blog post I decided to come full circle and use my original Grace pattern for the skirt. Although I’ve made the dress a few times now I’ve not made a skirt on its own and wanted to see how I would tackle this beginner friendly sew with more experience under my belt.
What I learned is that the pattern is indeed ideal for someone starting out in sewing but also would be a great ‘simple sew’ for someone with more experience. Here’s why I love the pattern…
1. It’s a simple pattern with several variations
With a full skirt and choice between midi and short length, the Grace skirt has in my opinion a lot of possibilities! When making the dress, you can opt for a scoop or v neck and short or no sleeves. You could also hack the sleeves to be longer or hack the skirt to be button-down. The whole pattern feels very ‘French’ to me which as anyone following my blog knows is something I’m aspiring to in my me-made wardrobe. I love a pattern with lots of variations and for my make I chose the midi skirt length.
2. A simple pattern gives you freedom to take your time planning
To plan the make I used my Pattern Trace garment pad and planner which were kindly gifted to me by the Pattern Trace team. It’s a really handy tool and makes sure you don’t forget any of those little notions that make a garment feel truly complete.
Before choosing a fabric I wanted to be sure it would blend with the rest of my wardrobe and the ‘Cool Autumn’ palette I’m working on (more on that in my blog soon!!). I’m also keen for as many of my makes as possible to be wearable in multiple seasons so decided on an ideally blue, lightweight fabric that would work with a light blouse in summer and a jumper/tights in winter.
This Lady McElroy Skylar Elegance lawn from Bobbins and Buttons is beautiful and they kindly gave it to me to use for this post. Isn’t it fabulous! The pattern makes me think of brushstrokes, graffiti and blue china tea sets all at the same time…
Knowing this is quite a straightforward pattern gave me more freedom to take my time choosing the fabric and it works well with such a bold print.
3. (For the skirt) you only need to take one measurement
Based on my waist measurement I cut a straight size 12 from the pattern. The only adjustment I made was to add an extra 5cm to one of the back waistband pieces in order to have an overlapping piece with a button (I always think they look lovely on skirts). If you’re not too experienced in measuring yourself just yet, this is a great pattern to start with and just take the one measurement. Make sure the tape measure lies flat and you are not holding it too tight or loosely on your waist.
4. You learn several new skills in one make
Despite being a ‘simple sew’ you will learn several skills in this make, including pockets, applying a waistband, gathering and inserting a zip. If you’re making the dress you’ll learn how to add a lining, which I promise is not as hard as it looks!
The most important thing with pockets is to match the notch marks between the pattern pieces and to ‘notch’ your pocket curves which helps them sit neatly. Personally I find this a really relaxing task, but maybe that’s just me!
I chose the gathered skirt and my not-so-secret top tip for gathers is this magical waxed thread I was given a while ago. It’s a thicker thread that still works on the machine and, when used in a long stitch, is ideal for pulling up gathers neatly and you never have to worry about the thread breaking.
Finally the zip is another skill to learn, or rather practise. You might not nail zips on your first go, and that’s ok. Ensure you have the correct zipper foot, practise if you can, and always tack your zip in place and check it’s right before sewing! I used an invisible zip and foot, then a 1cm seam allowance on the remainder of the skirt length and hand stitched the bottom of the zip in place.
5. It’s a wardrobe staple you can be proud of!
As soon as I finished this skirt I didn’t want to take it off! Especially in this gorgeous quality fabric, it feels so luxurious yet lightweight and so swishy. I love that it could be worn in summer or winter and feels like it can be dressed up or down.
I of course had to add some Modista labels to the make to finish it off – I’ve been wearing a lot of blue lately so have been using the blue ‘et voilà‘ label on a few makes as well as of course the isewlation label to remember this lockdown make.
Overall, I would really recommend the Grace pattern for any sewer whether beginner or experiences. I love the variations which are always a priority for me when pattern shopping and taking my time with a relatively simple make was a lovely reminder of how much I enjoy sewing, especially with a lovely lawn like this.
Thank you for reading and I hope this post has inspired you to try your own Simple Sew pattern!
We love Sally’s choice of fabric for her Grace skirt and how the cotton lawn works to create a simple, but swishy skirt. Here’s our picks of other beautiful cotton lawns from Bobbins and buttons. All would make a statement!
For full sizing and fabric requirements for your Grace Skirt or Dress see the back of the pattern envelope below.
Lady McElroy – – Crowded faces – Off white with navy – cotton lawn
£4.15 – £16.60
Lady McElroy – Jade zigzag – cotton lawn.
£4.00 – £16.00
Lady McElroy – Cygnus return – navy – cotton lawn
£4.15 – £16.60
Lady McElroy – Covent garden – green – cotton lawn
£4.15 – £16.60