Perfectly Pear Shaped: Simplicity 1800 - Amazing Fit Dress

Simplicity 1800 Amazing Fit dress

This one was a challenge. My Christmas present of an adjustable tailor's dummy got me thinking I should have a go at making something a bit more fitted than usual. So, inspired by Laura Fisher's beautiful version of this dress, I took a chance on Simplicity's 1800 pattern from their Amazing Fit range. 

Simplicity 1800 Amazing Fit sewing pattern
Promises to fit all shapes and sizes

I'm so glad I thoroughly Googled this one before starting out and am eternally grateful to the clever blogging women (at Lizzy House, Binenstich, Pretty Grievances and of course Behind The Hedgerow) who'd already tried and tested this pattern and divulged what did and didn't work. I therefore dispensed with some of the instructions regarding initially sewing it inside out and went straight into sewing the finished dress. I also (as usual) decided to cut the back panel as one piece without a zip.

Fabric choice: a superb piece of Dutch wax print cotton – an Ebay win!

My first cause for alarm was discovering that according to Simplicity's measurements my bust should be cut out in size 10 pattern pieces, my waist in size 12 and my hips a generous size 16! I didn't have confidence that cobbling these three sizes together would produce a fitting garment but noting that the design allows for 10cm ease in the hips, lopped that 10cm off my hip measurement and decided to cut out the hips and waist in a size 12, keep the bust at size 10 (an easier configuration to fit together) while crossing my fingers that my real hips would fit into the skirt.

Adjustable dressmakers dummy
Meet the mannequin: My adjusted dressmakers dummy - now with hips and paunch

When fitting the garment to my pear-shaped mannequin I had to take a further 5cms out from the bust area. This means that the curved lines running through the bust seam and down through the edge of the pocket finishing on the hip don't perfectly match up. At this point I'm past caring.

Front seam, wonky.
Seam discrepancy. Ouch

I'm left to conclude that while promising to fit all shapes and sizes, this dress isn't really designed for the pear shaped woman. Constructing it to fit my figure was so fiddly and the written instructions were so confusing that I kept losing momentum and abandoning the project. Only the desire not to waste this gorgeous fabric kept me going...

Simplicity 1800: Amazing Fit dress
Simplicity 1800: not a bad fit after all

Incredibly all the effort paid off and yes, I am amazed to find that the finished dress fits. My only reservation with the frock's appearance is that the wide open and deep neckline leaves me feeling too exposed – I prefer to be more covered up.  Other than that, I think in the pictures at least it looks quite good... but I'm not quite sure I'll be rushing to make another.

Simplicity 1800 Amazing Fit dress
Simplicity 1800