Tag: pattern hacks

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity


Every woman needs a LBD (little black dress) in her closet. My latest dress make is this Simplicity pattern that is perfect for a night out on the town!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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Every girl needs a LBD in their closet. Some of us even have several (Me!) to chose from for different occasions. Since it seems that I am always scrambling at the last minute to find something appropriate to wear, I have decided to make a bunch of dresses to have on hand. Black is always my go-to color. It’s elegant, dressy and I feel comfortable in it. Perhaps a bit too comfortable at times. Some of my comfort comes from being a plus size gal, I’m a ready to wear size 20. The dark black color is more flattering to my round figure, as are matte fabrics. I tend to avoid anything shiny because it emphasizes my bumps and rolls. In this Simplicity design, I used contrasting satin for the trim to dress things up and still keep it as flattering as possible.

This Simplicity pattern is not an easy sew. It has a lot of bad reviews on the sewing pattern review site, Pattern Review.¬†However, I decided to try it because I really like the style and I am not intimidated by bad reviews. It’s always my mission to discover the problem with the pattern and let you know how to fix it!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Simplicity #8534 Pattern Review

1. The biggest problem with this pattern is the facings. There are TONS of them, even for the sleeve cuff! I dislike facings as I feel they never stay in place and are not used much in ready to wear. Facings are confusing for most sewers, especially beginners. Instead of the facings I used homemade bias binding in contrasting black satin. Bias binding is easy to make, if you add a bit of starch to the satin as you go along it becomes crisp and easy to sew. Problem solved!

2. Fitted styles like this one require lots of fitting! (That seems self-explanatory.) Since this dress is very fitted, I recommend you make a muslin first before cutting it out of your fashion fabric. My fabric came from the thrift store and was a bargain at only $.60 so I wasn’t worried about messing it up. I made my pattern adjustments, cut and fitted the dress on the form first. I then made more adjustments, and basted it together for a second and third fitting. This design is not typically suited to someone with a thick waist but I love it anyway and I think it turned out quite well despite all of the fitting work.

3. Many of the negative comments on Pattern Review had to do with the front jabot or ruffle. This piece is actually circular and cascades down the front in ruffles when it’s hung from the waist. My soft satin fabric worked well for this, but I can see if you had a more rigid material it might not sit the way you like. My advice is to cut it and play with it a bit, but don’t stress about this unique design feature. It’s not a perfect rigid type of thing, it will move and cascade as you wear the dress which is the beauty of this style.

4. The overlapping bodice can be tricky to fit. The bodice has bias edge that will stretch over the bust. I had to take mine in twice in this area. A stay stitch will help to control the bias, but you will need to take it in if it stretches too much.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

5. Shoulder seams in this dress are very different, with yet more facings. I simplified the shoulders by removing the facings and using only bias binding to finish. This made the process so much easier and less confusing to overlap the seams! The satin binding adds a design detail to the matte fabric. I prefer a lower neckline as it is more flattering to my figure than a high neck like the original pattern design, so I angled the shoulder seam a bit at the top of the neck for a vintage look and dropped the front neck a few inches.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The back is easier to sew than the front of the dress. I keep forgetting to do an adjustment for a sway back, but this one came out better than my last attempt and I am happy with it.  Be sure to baste your zipper in place before you stitch, or use a bit of fusible seam tape to secure it before stitching. Long zippers are hard to work with so just do the best you can.

I wasn’t sure I would like the open back of this dress, but I think its nice. It’s not too low or revealing for someone like me (#sewover50) and I don’t own anything else with an open back. Unfortunately, the back neck has more facings to deal with, this time I left them in place. You really do need the facing here to support the button and buttonhole. I found a lovely rhinestone button to finish off the back of the dress with some simple bling!

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this pattern review, here are a few others you will love!

Sewing Pattern Hoarding: They Don’t Want You to Stop

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Sewing Pattern Sleeves the Right Way


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Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

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3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

There are many ways to make a simple t-shirt into an updated style. This easy 3 step pattern hack will add style to any wardrobe!




I started this pattern hack by finding some adorable pink polkadot fabric from Walmart. It’s a woven fabric, and I loved the pretty colors. I decided it would be a perfect addition to my t-shirt pattern. My main fabric is a soft white jersey knit also from Walmart.

The pattern I used here is McCalls #7331. It’s just a basic t-shirt pattern, but I made 3 simple changes to it with the help of my Cricut Maker. First, cut out the t-shirt pattern in your size from your desired fabric (or you can use a couple of store bought t-shirts, directions for that are below.)

Add style to your t-shirt with this easy pattern hack!


3 Step Easy Pattern Hack:

1. Login to Cricut Design Space here.

2. Download my free 3 Step Easy T-Shirt Hack pattern file here.

3. Cut out the pieces with your Cricut Maker.

It’s really easy to sew and fast to assemble by cutting the pieces with your Cricut! This post is sponsored by Cricut. Any opinions given are completely my own.

Bell Sleeve detail|Chambraybluesblog|www.chambrayblues.com


Assembly Instructions:

1. Fold sleeve bands in half, right sides out. Stitch together with 5/8″ seam allowance on the long edge.

2. Cut your sleeve piece in half just above the elbow. Sew the contrasting rectangle piece underneath the raw edge of the sleeve with a narrow zig zag stitch 1.5 wide, overlapping the pieces by 1/2 inch.


3. Gather the bottom part of the sleeve by stitching along the top edge with 5.0 basting stitch (I added 3″ in the sleeve width to my existing pattern to make the gathered ruffle). Pull up threads and gather the piece to fit the sleeve band (check the fit on your arm before you finish sewing). Overlap the gathered knit sleeve on top of the contrasting fabric by about 1/2″ (right sides up). Stitch in place with narrow zig zag stitch 1.5 wide. THE GATHERED RAW EDGE IS SUPPOSED TO SHOW as in photo.

4. Add lace trim to the bottom of the sleeve hem by stitching lace on with 1/4″ seam allowance using a narrow zig zag stitch.

5. Place the neck facing right side up on the front of the t-shirt neckline with the two pieces touching at center front. Pin in place. Stitch along the outside edge with a narrow zig zag stitch. Tack the facing with the zig zag stitch at center front 1″ from bottom to secure as in photo below.


6. Slash center front along the facing at center front to the bottom edge of the facing. Sew lace edging over raw edge with zig zag stitch, folding lace to miter at corners. Sew shoulder seams together. Add lace all around the neck edge, front and back with the same method, folding under ends at center front and tacking in place.

7. Add lace trim to outside of neck facing, stitching again over your first stitching with the same narrow zig zag stitch.

8. Finish shirt by stitching sleeves into armholes, and sewing underarm seam. Hem, press and enjoy! Share with your friends!


If you do not want to make an entire t-shirt, you can create this look with two old t-shirts:

1. Cut out contrasting pieces with your Cricut Maker as above.

2. Remove neck ribbing on old t-shirt.

3. Cut 7″ wide strip of fabric off the bottom of one of the t-shirts.

4. Gather fabric along top edge, as in step 3 above. Attach contrasting sleeve trim to existing sleeve edge and lace as described above.

5. Add contrasting fabric at neck as described in step 5 above.


Thanks to Cricut for sponsoring this post! If you want more pattern ideas, try these other posts:

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Pattern Sleeves

How to Measure for Pattern Alterations

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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