Pattern review: Simplicity 8608 faux wrap dress

Wrap dresses are all over the high street at the moment, especially ones with delicate ruffles and bright summery prints. So it was to my delight that one of Simplicity's newest patterns ticked off all of these stylish boxes.

A couple of Instagrammers I follow had also purchased the dress pattern and I decided to jump on that band wagon.

I've only made one version of this dress which may be a tad premature for a full pattern review, however, there is SO much I need to say about this, I wanted to write it all down and share immediately.

First of all, cutting out the pattern took about a year. There were many many pattern pieces, the majority of them were for the dress flounces (the ruffles). There was a separate pattern piece for each flounce, as each one was curved to a particular side of the dress bodice, the skirt, and the overlay. (Yes, there are more than two pieces to the skirt... plus pockets).

If I have to read the word 'flounce' again, I may have to run away to Mexico. Once the dress was all cut out I began to assemble it.

I chose to do French seams because I hate myself. Well, the fabric I chose was a cheap viscose so it was prone to fraying and I wanted my ruffle wrap dress to be as pretty on the inside as it was the outside. The French seams worked well, it just made the entire process a lot longer.

There are a few design features to the dress which I think need to change, and I'll start with the bodice.

Firstly, the faux wrap means that half of the front bodice is hidden underneath the other half. Therefore, it really isn't needed and I'm not too sure why I spent so long cutting out the front ruffle for it to be hidden inside the dress.

Secondly, the ruffles themselves didn't need to be gathered (much), as they fitted straight onto the pieces already. I read this before making the pattern so I'm glad I didn't waste time doing two gathering stitches on each ruffle, I could just gather by hand to save time and thread.

Thirdly, the top of each ruffle is left to just... hang. Nope. Sew them into the shoulder seams people! On my version, I top-stitched them down and I'm surprised this isn't a part of the pattern already.

Onto the skirt.

The skirt overlay ended up hanging down lower than the back of the skirt - what was that all about? I managed to unpick the curve and raise it so it hangs in a proper upside-down V shape like a real wrap dress should.

I probably read the notches on the pockets wrong, but I also found the pockets were far too far down the side seams of the skirt, so next time, I'll make sure to raise them and tuck them fully into the waist seam.

There was a paragraph of instructions I really didn't understand when it came to the skirt flounce, something about folding and pressing, and folding and pressing. Ignoring these completely, I just attached the flounce to the skirt edge and it looks fine.

The elastic waistband is something I wasn't too sure about as I think a wrap dress is more flattering when it's entirely fitted. However, I went with it (including making a French seam for my waistband channel) and the belt over the top cinches everything in nicely.

I also completely changed the sleeve design as I couldn't bear to have more flouncy fabric around my shoulders. Instead, I went for a basic cap sleeve which flatters the ruffles on the rest of the dress nicely.

One final thing, the dress asks for thread loops. I've never done these and obviously Simplicity decided NOT to include instructions for these. Thank you YouTube. I'm now a complete pro at thread loops and will be adding them to all my dresses for fun.

Overall, I do really love this dress. It's actually very comfortable to wear and looks super stylish. I didn't make any abnormal fit amendments apart from the length (shortened) which is normal for me.

Despite my pure hatred for the word flounce, the terrible instructions and the strange design features, I might just make this again. It'd look lovely in plain colours and I think it would be great to layer up with tights and cardigans for the Autumn.

Have you made the 8606? Let me know how you got on with it.

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