Simplicity 1371 – Cynthia Rowley meets Vlisco

Simplicity 1371
This is probably the craziest outfit I’ve ever sewn…

The Goal: Let me back track for a second – I think we all have our limits to personal style, what we will or won’t make and feel comfortable wearing. For me I usually draw the line at loud, bold, high fashion styles and tend to stick to something more casual, classic, low key.

What was I to do when I saw this Cynthia Rowley design staring back at me from the pattern catalog? Something in me demanded that I make it even though I’d probably never be caught wearing a halter-style crop top with matching high waist pleated pants. I mean, the shirt even has an under-bewb window. I know some ladies would totally rock this look no problem, for me it’s more daring than I’d normally try.

But I loved it! And I figured, if I was going to sew, for me, an outrageous outfit I had better double down, go all in, and totally commit – so naturally I paired the pattern with a huge all over print that screams “look at meeeeeeeeee!!!!”

So this is my experiment in out-of-my-comfort-zone sewing, a fashion challenge to myself, and I think I might have succeeded.

The Pattern: #1371 is one of the more recent releases from Cynthia Rowley and Simplicity. Sewing her designs reminds me of when I first started making clothes using Built By Wendy patterns. The regular Simplicity offerings bored me but the BBW collection was much more my style. Any time there was a sale I’d snatch up all the patterns just to collect as inspiration. And now there’s a new designer who makes me want to collect every single pattern she makes.

I made views A and C just like on the model on the envelope (but without the frill on the crop top).


The Fabric: Leftover Vlisco wax print from this dress. Even after making this outfit I still have nearly THREE YARDS left! If anyone has any Vlisco of her own and maybe wants to trade a yard or two leave me a comment.

This light weight, crisp cotton was the perfect fabric for this style.

The Changes: Since this was more of a “fun” project I didn’t make a muslin or many changes at all.


I made a size 12 for top and bottom and both have a tiny bit too much ease. The only thing I changed for the top was making the neck straps tighter in back.

The pants are interesting, the waistband extends above your natural waist. The problem with that was the pants were slightly too big so they kept sliding down to make the waistband sit lower, this made the waistband pouf out at the top so I had to do some after sewing hijinks to wrangle the waistband to be more snug.

And the sliding down waistband in turn caused the crotch line to drop lower. You can’t really tell with the busy print but next time I think I’ll lop off a few inches from the top of the pants and attach the waistband on so that it sits more normally.


Also with that very tall waistband the crop top hardly seems cropped at all. If I slouch there’s not really a gap at the midriff, in fact it kind of looks like a fancy jumpsuit when the shirt overlaps the pants. I’m sure the envelope model was taller than me.

Even with the waistband shenanigans the pants fit surprisingly well for a big 4 pattern. Pockets don’t stick out, legs aren’t too wide, this pattern might work well for some regular dress pants.

The assembly for the pants was your standard fare but for the top the instructions have you put together all the pieces in a very specific order. I did quite a bit of hand stitching because I wasn’t paying attention to the directions, ooops.

The Results: Ok, I have to admit I will probably never wear this matchy matchy outfit in public. It’s just too strong of a look for me but if I pair the garments separately with something less vivid I think I could pass for normal.

Here’s how I’d probably wear these pieces:


This is my hi-low circle skirt (rather wrinkled). It’s high waist and a solid color making this a not bad choice for say, hanging out at a concert in the park on a hot summer night.


And with a plain t-shirt and maybe a couple accessories I could make these my “party pants.” In case I have to go downtown to see a concert. Let’s face it, in Austin, if you’re getting dressed up you’re probably going to a concert somewhere…

Looks like my daring outfit might actually be wardrobe friendly, who would have thought?

So, I ask you, readers, what’s the most crazy, out there, attention grabbing garment you’ve ever made? Have you ever tried sewing something you couldn’t imagine wearing? What styles or prints make you wonder if you could pull them off with confidence?