Simplicity 8216 An eighties style pussy bow midi dress

Simplicity 8216

For this week’s project, I made a below knee length rayon floral dress. I’ve been eyeing midi length eighties retro style dresses with neck ties lately, mostly in dark florals for fall, and I wanted to make one. But I wasn’t sure if I could pull off such a conservative style.Simplicity 8216

The fabric is a rayon from the Cotton & Steel Rifle Paper collaboration courtesy of The Confident Stitch, and the pattern is Simplicity 8216, which I added ten inches of length to.Simplicity 8216  There’s that neck bow! Here’s a bit of totally random info: When I was a little kid, I was an extra in the movie 9 to 5. Dolly Parton said hello to me!

NINE TO FIVE, (aka 9 TO 5), Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, 1980, TM and Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

These bow blouses and dresses were all over the place in the 80’s!….

Ralph Lauren ad from the 80’s.Here is Kate Middleton in a modern pussy bow dress. I’m not sure where that name comes from, and the little kid in me blushes when I hear it.
Simplicity 8216

At any rate, I feel very adult in this dress. I think it might be bordering on the F word- frumpy, with that blousey bodice and those sleeves. But the print keeps it from being too stodgy.

Let’s talk about this fabric. The colors are so vibrant and alive and it makes me feel happy. I knew I wanted to wear this print head to toe when I saw it. I had considered making Lily a Hawaiian shirt with it, this print is perfect for that, but I decided I wanted it for myself. It has the perfect drape for a dress and it’s very soft, like the last rayon top I made from Cotton & Steel. These rayons are some of the best quality rayons I’ve used ! Simplicity 8216 had the bow tie and sleeves I wanted and I made it ten inches longer to be a midi length. I really wanted those long sleeves, but I didn’t have enough fabric, so I used the fluttery sleeves. I’m not crazy about them. I used a size 12 and made no changes to the pattern besides making it longer. It was an easy sew. The elastic casing is made by sewing bias tape directly to the dress, which is just one long pattern piece for the front and back.

Simplicity 8216 Simplicity 8216

I really like this pattern and want to make another version a bit shorter with the long sleeves

PS This is my birthday dress!

Thanks to Isabelle, who took these photos.

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-McKenzie

Comments

  1. Belinda says

    Loving your retro dress in the bright red. You pull it off well. The drape really is divine. And I don’t think it’s frumpy, but adding a belt might erase all doubt. What do you think?

  2. Sandy Osborne says

    Such a pretty print! And I don’t think you look frumpy at all — red’s a great color on you.

  3. Brenda Kimberlin says

    I love it, the bow makes it look so youthful. I saw a similar style dress in a yellow print at a wedding recently and my sister-in-law and I both remarked about how much we liked it.

  4. june says

    Very nice and my favorite patterns and fabric
    You make it look Wonderful and Sophisticated.
    Love your blog.

  5. says

    Love your dress! I have this pattern and really should pull it out to try the tie neck blouse. I love the vibrant colors in your fabric. Looks like a great fit!

  6. Pat Kelley says

    The first time around, we called them “pussy cat” bows. Somewhere along the way, we lost the cat.

  7. SaraJane says

    All of my childhood family portraits from the early 80’s has my mother in a pussybow dress. When I saw your picture on Instagram I was immediately drawn to it. You did a fantastic job with this dress. You look very classic and chic, not frumpy at all.