Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Long Overdue, Amazing, Simplicity 8085 Fruit Bowl Dress

This dress has been 4 years in the making.

Summer of 2016 I made Simplicity 8085 for the first time - and I loved it!! Immediately, I knew I needed to make this pattern again, and again, and again. So, a month later, I made a second version. This second version got worn just as much, if not more, than the first version. Something about these dresses just made them comfortable, and beautiful, and practical for just about every activity. I would have made a third version of this dress that year, except I got distracted and decided to go on the World Race instead. 

While on the World Race, I found a length of fabric in Ghana, which just begged to be turned into another version of this dress. It was a bright red with a print of apples and pears. As soon as I saw that material in the fabric shop, I knew it was coming home with me.

Of course, I figured I'd make this dress immediately upon returning home, but you know how it is, always more projects than time. The dress didn't get made summer of 2018, or summer of 2019. Every once in a while, I'd think "I need to make that dress", but there was always something else I needed or wanted first. That changed this week.

I'M OFF WORK ALL WEEK!!!!!!!!!! Time off work has been very rare since the pandemic hit in March and all the kids' external activities were canceled. My sewing time has definitely taken a hit. But this week? The kids are with Grandma, and I'm home, doing allllllllllll the sewing. It also happens to be my birthday week, and I really can't think of a better way to spend my birthday than with some quality time in my sewing room. (Yes, I might be a boring person. . .)

As of the end of last week, my list for this week included a couple things for my grandma, a couple things for my sister-in-law, and a pattern test. *If* I got all that done, then maybe I would take the time to make a new summer sundress for myself. Sunday, that plan changed.

I saw that the 52 Week Sewing Challenge theme for this week was "Sew Your Favorite Pattern". Well, I've been saying Simplicity 8085 was my very favorite sundress pattern ever since I made it the first time. Why not make this dress a priority this week? It could be my birthday gift to myself!

Out came the pattern and the fabric Sunday night. I'd pre-washed the fabric last summer, so all it needed was a quick iron and it was ready to go!

 Fabric ironed, it was on to cutting out! On my first version of this dress (the green one) I lowered the neckline a bit as the neckline on this pattern looked a little high for my taste. This proved to be an excellent decision, but I forgot to lower the neckline on my second version of this dress (the purple one). 

So, on this third  version of the dress, I made sure to cut my neckline a touch lower. I think I lowered it by about an inch, maybe 1.5", maybe 2". I didn't measure, just eyeballed it.

On the first dress I found the bust darts too be too high. On the second dress I lowered the darts 1", and they fit perfectly! So, I did the same for this dress.

Since I remembered to do both the neckline and dart alterations, the result is the best fitting bodice of the three versions of this dress I've made!

On my first dress, I chose the option that buttoned in the back and made a separate belt to complete the look. On the second dress, I hacked the pattern to have an attached button belt. For this one, I chose to have the dress fasten with an attached tie belt. This closure option is actually included in the pattern, so no hacking was required.

The tie belt is fun, and I appreciate the adjustability of this option, but I think my favorite closure option for this dress us the button belt hack I did last time. 

On the first two dresses, I did a faced hem - lace hem tape on one, bias tape on the other. For this dress however, I opted to do a nice wide turned up hem.

As this dress has a circle skirt that required some easing and little tucks in the turned-up section of the hem. I've had some practice hemming circle skirts, so this wasn't too hard, and I'm quite pleased with the result! 

The hem is lovely and even and the skirt hangs nicely.

As a finishing touch, I decided to trim the neckline and back opening of this dress with some pink rick-rack from my stash, which just perfectly matched the pink in the pears.

I had just barely enough of the rick-rack to go around the entire opening of the dress! It goes from the hem on the overlap, up and around the neckline, and down the underlapping side, where it ends about half an inch from the hem. Yep, just barely enough.

All the edges of this dress (minus the hem, of course) are finished with a facing of red, pre-made, bias tape from my stash. The pattern recommends binding the edges in double-fold bias tape, but I prefer the clean look of a bias facing, and it is no harder to do than a bias binding.

For previous versions of this dress, I've made the skirt with a center front seam and no side seams, as  that's the way the pattern is made. I've added patch pockets since there were no side seams to put pockets in. For this dress however, I altered the pattern to eliminate that center front seam and have side seams instead, as that worked best with this print. 

As a result, this dress has my normal inseam pockets! I actually kind of miss the patch pockets from the other two dresses, however, so I may go back to that next time.

With no buttons or zippers this dress is a fairly quick sew. I cut it out on Sunday, easily sewed it entirely on Monday, and still had time to run errands and start a project for my grandma.

Yesterday evening, as my mom put the finishing touches on my birthday dinner and my sister decorated my birthday cake, my brother and I went outside to get pictures of this dress.

In honor of the origin of the fabric, I styled the dress with some fabulous beaded earrings I also got in Ghana back in May or June of 2017.

And I wore the cowboy boots I bought specifically for the World Race, then wore all 11 months of my trip.

It feels so good to finally have this dress made! I love it and intend to wear it just as much as the first two!

The perfect birthday gift to myself! (And hopefully not the last version I make this pattern! I need another, and another, and another. . .)


  1. What a great post, and what lovely dresses! The fruit bowl dress is such fun! Your small hacks for each dress make each one unique. Thanks for the stories behind these pretty dresses.

    1. Thank you! It's fun to change up the pattern a little bit each time!

  2. Stunning. I will look for the pattern here in Canada

    1. Thank you! I hope you fund it! If you find Simplicity patterns to be hard to find McCall's 7354 is very similar.

  3. Happy Birthday! You know, I like to party, and by party I mean catch up in sewing...
    Your dress is so fun! And your bodice fit is excellent!! It's always exciting to finally get around to long awaited projects.