Hot! The “How much is too matchy-matchy?” dress

The Facts

Fabric: 3yds Simply Silks Natural Leopard Peachskin $17.97 (£11.12).
Pattern: Simplicity 3833.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: thread.
Time to complete: 12 hours.
First worn: 21st December 2012.

Wear again? Yes, this is going to be my go-to party frock…and possibly everyday frock, the type I love so much I want to wear to the supermarket or volunteering.

Total Cost: $17.97 (£11.12)

The challenge: “Happy Holidays part 1: Christmas week”


I’m a bit of a fan of leopard print. I have a leopard print purse, phone cover, sunglasses, sunglasses case, Santa hat, tree decorations, pyjamas, a shirt, bra, knickers (both of which I’m wearing here, but you’ll have to take my word for it)….a lot of leopard print. I don’t have this though if you’re reading this Santa….actually, as much as I love the idea of this, there’s no way I could justify that cost. I’ll just have to google it occasionally and oggle it. (Although I am going to have to buy a food processor next year. I love baking and have survived 3+ years without one, as my Kenwood Chef from the UK doesn’t work on American electricity….but I’m going to save up for a red Kitchen Aid one. When I’m not sewing to complete something every week next year, I’m gonna do some more baking, and diy, and writing etc etc).

I used to have a lovely leopard print dress but last year (before I really started learning to sew) I had a ‘brilliant’ idea of changing it’s neckline from a bateau to a scoop. I cut it badly and didn’t stabilise it in anyway. I rather ruined it. It’s now sitting in my to-do pile. It’s another next year project.

So despite my love of leopard print, I didn’t have a wearable dress in it, until now. And I knew I wanted a leopard print dress for party season.

Knowing I wanted to do this, I bought 5.5 yds of this leopard print peachskin in their Black Friday sales not knowing what I’d make out of it. I tried draping it last week and decided rather than making a dress with a big circular skirt (which is actually coming next week in a firmer taffeta and velvet flocking), the peachskin fabric was too heavy and would suit a simpler style better.

I could have made a wiggle dress (I’ve got a few patterns to try out) but I wanted something very comfy and wearable that would let the fabulousness of the fabric do the work of looking pretty, but I could wear over Christmas without worry of it being too tight or too creasy etc. So I revisited the Simplicity 3833 which I used for my 1960’s dress and added sleeves (but made the curve longer so I could gather them more to get more of a puff sleeve), added pockets and stuck with the pattern’s suggested neckline rather than the bateau I tried out last time. I also decided I wanted to do a Mena and leave out a zip, so rather than grading the pattern from my usual 20 at neckline, 22 from bottom of armsyce, 24 at waist….I made the bodice pieces in a straight 22 and made the neckline at the back a little lower for more head squirming-through room.

I like it. I like it a lot.

The question now is, how much is too much matchy matchy? You’ll see I’ve been restrained here with my brown snakeskin stilettos….I do have my eye on some leopard print heels at Target, but I’m waiting to see it they go into the sales. But do you like the nails?

And look, I wasn’t just posing with the iphone, I was in a photo war with Mr D:

Haha, I got him :) I thanked all of you reading this and sewing along with me last week, this week I want to thank my fabulous family for getting me through a (nearly) whole year of sewing (one last dress left to come). They’ve been beyond brilliant and kept me going, put up with me not wanting but needing my photo taking each week. I think I’ll add to my stats pictogram for the year for next week the numbers of weeks photographed by Mr D, Goth Child or myself. To be honest, you could probably work out who took which if you compare them, but I could not have done this at all without the wonderful Devynes. Thank you, you lot.

OK, one last make to do. For sneak peaks and glimpses of our Christmas festivities, check out my blog and my tumblr absobloominglutely. Have a very Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays depending on which one you feel most comfortable with. Have lots of fun and lots of hugs with those you love!

I loves me some pockets.



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. Too matchy-matchy? Never! My mother-in-law is also a big fan of the leopard print and she’d probably die for that mixer as well!

    Well done on all your projects and congratulations on making it through the whole year!

  2. I’m actually sewing the original ’60s version (Simplity 8498) as I type. Well, I’m typing between sewing seams, but you get my drift. I would love a leopard print version as well, if only I could find animal prints that weren’t cheap and nasty. I bet you’ll be getting a lot of women asking about this dress when you do your party rounds this year. Congrats on 52 posts!

  3. You’ve perfected the fit of that pattern. I can see why you like it so much because it looks awesome! Happy New Year.

  4. Fabulous dress! You totally rock leopard print. :-)

    Speaking of which – have you heard about the Jungle January sewing challenge? I think it may appeal to you – details are over here: