Simplicity 1366 hack

Simplicity 1366 hack

In case you’ve missed the weather-related social media rantings of Melbourne people lately, let me fill you in: it’s cold here. Sooooo cold! While it’s nothing like a northern hemisphere winter with ice and snow and dark for days, it’s our coldest in a long time and we’re all struggling to cope. People walk around looking shocked, everyone’s sniffling, and most of us are grumpy. Like, London winter-level grumpy.

In my little household we’re coping as best we can: The heater’s never turned off. I screech a lot at the kids to cover their kidneys and add another layer (they still want to wear t-shirts….?) The dog’s getting dashed around the block if he’s lucky – the park’s too muddy.  Dinners are roasted or baked, nights involve binge watching TV under mountains of blankets (the Game of Thrones finale – OMG), cups of tea are on high rotation and I can’t stop raving about my new flannel sheets. Seriously, I went out with some girlfriends last weekend and bored them all senseless with my sheet-talk: So warm! So fluffy! Like sleeping on a cloud! They’ll change your life! When the most exciting thing you can talk about at Friday drinks is bed linen, it may be time to give up and go home (to watch some more TV).


Simplicity 1366 hack


Unsurprisingly, the cold is heavily influencing my sewing as well. Normally I can be a little season-agnostic when it comes to my makes. Something online will inspire me to sew a singlet when it’s almost snowing outside; I’ll plot a summer dress even though I know I won’t wear it for six months; or I’ll chance upon a piece of light summery fabric in the stash and decide I need to make it into something immediately – even if I have to layer it under a couple of jumpers and a coat. But not this week. This week’s been so icy that all I can think about is comfort sewing. And what could be more comforting to work with (and sleep on!) than flannel?


Simplicity 1366 hack


So I dug up this this grey and navy checked flannel that I brought home from Japan last year. I found it during our fabric frenzy at Nagato in Nippori Fabric Town in Tokyo and spent a good while just patting it – it’s seriously soft and fuzzy – before adding it to my shopping pile. It’s quite an interesting weight – a little heavier than your typical shirt flannel (or flannelette), but still a long way off a heavier, lumberjacket-weight wool flannel. (By the way I’m never completely sure of the difference between flannel and flannelette and Google has a few contradictory definitions; but I gather flannel is traditionally wool or a wool/cotton mix; while flannelette is a cheaper copy, made to feel like flannel by brushing the fibres in the weft. Fabric people – help me out here!)


Simplicity 1366 hack


As for what to make with my woolly flannel, that decision was easy. When I bought the fabric I thought immediately of this dress in the picture below: a short, loose linen dress I found at Of a Kind ages ago and squirrelled away in a corner on Pinterest, convinced I’d copy it one day. The fabrics may be totally different but the colour and check are so similar that I decided to go for as close to a carbon copy as possible.


Simplicity 1366 hack


This is where good old Simplicity 1366 came in handy. Is there a more hackable, adaptable top pattern out there? Just when I think it may have faded into the background of the collective sewist consciousness, to be replaced by something brighter and shinier, another version will pop up on Instagram or a blog and I’m reminded again of how great this simple top is. (recent new ones include this gorgeous floral top from Groovy Baby and Mama and this light cotton voile number from Fabric Tragic). Although there’s countless top versions out there to admire, I hadn’t really considered a dress hack until this sweet dress popped up on Bellbird last summer – and I was sold.


Simplicity 1366 hack


The pattern and the hack are very simple, but I had a couple of small challenges with this dress: I only bought 1.5 metres of fabric, and the checks required a bit of matching. I managed to just squeeze in all of the pieces (minus binding for the neckline, but plus lengthened arms) with nothing left to spare – it’s seriously zero waste. And I think I did okay with my matching on the side seams, but gave up even trying to make the sleeve checks meet the body checks in any coherent way. I cut the top a little long which meant the skirt’s a check-length shorter than I’d like, and I can’t help wishing the check-line wasn’t running so close to the edge of the neckline as it looks a little crowded. Ah, the things you realise once you’ve cut the cloth – I could fill a book with similar stories of regret.

Despite these nagging imperfections, I’ve worn this dress for three days in a row and feel like I never want to take it off. It’s warm and fuzzy, and easy to layer – in fact it’s almost as comfortable as my new flannel sheets 🙂


Simplicity 1366 hack

Simplicity 1366 hack



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  • It’s beautiful! I have such a thing for windowpane check, serious fabric envy over here. Can’t believe you squeezed it out of 1.5m, the gathered bit always takes up more room than I expect. I still absolutely love that style, I think I’ll definitely make a winter one now that I’ve seen your gorgeous make!

    • Hi Bella, thanks for your comment – we seem to have very similar taste in fabric! I’m now wondering if the piece I used was slightly longer than 1.5m, it does seem a lot to get out of a small piece of cloth… I’ll keep a lookout for your winter version, am sure it will be lovely. X

  • You’re on fire with your winter sewing. I have some Nani Iro brushed cotton deep in the stash… it might just be time for it to come out & play!

    • Thanks Anna – I urge you to dig up that Nani Iro brushed cotton and promote it to the top of the project pile, it’s such lovely fabric for winter. I really regret not buying some in Japan and will be very interested to see what you do with it! Happy hols, Kate x

  • This past winter was very cold in my normally mild coastal Mediterranean climate (Northern California), and a friend from the midwest suggested fleece leggings and an electric throw. The leggings were pretty nice when I needed them, but the throw has turned out to be a GREAT buy – I use it all the time, it’s perfect in our unheated house on chilly, foggy mornings. Great for at least six months of the year, if not more!

    This is a great dress! It looks very cozy in flannel, but it would actually work in a linen or cotton too!

    • Thank you for your comment Inder – and for such useful cold-weather tips, fleece leggings sound divine. I’ve never seen an electric throw – what is it? Kate x

  • Oh yes please! This is seriously perfect. I have a piece of vintage Viyella with this dress’s name written all over it. I’ve been daydreaming about just this style but couldn’t figure out what fabric I’d use. It’s a lovely old piece in a dusky light blue with very small white polka dots and it might just look enough like chambray/denim that I won’t be straying outside my winter comfort zone/uniform. However since this pattern alludes me at every pattern sale ever, I wonder if there is a likely Japanese pattern in my sizable stash? You look amazing in this and I reckon the check placement looks just right.

    • Thanks Jillian, your vintage viyella sounds lovely and would make such a great dress…to go with a certain great coat 🙂 Lemme know how you go with the Japanese pattern books, I’m more than happy to trace the 1366 (shhhh) and send it up to you if you like – it’s only three pieces! Kate x

  • Oh my that fabric! Dreamy! It’s a gorgeous little frocklet. How satisfying to have no scraps or leftovers! And you know I’d have been totally absorbed by your flanny sheet natterings – we just bought a new set of Sheridan ones for winter and I just don’t even have words. It’s love, true love….

    • Thanks Sarah, we loved your recent 1366 (I don’t think it’s too short, for the record!). And it’s great to find someone else who shares my flanny sheet obsession – how AMAZING are they? I could prattle on for days….
      Kate x