DIY Tunic Simplicity 8295 a.k.a The Diana Dress

Hi –

Hope all is well!  So if you follow me on Instagram, you know that last week I  was beyond excited about going to see THE Diana Ross!!!  In the month of February, she performed several engagements here in Las Vegas.  I hopped on the chance to get a ticket and of course I had to make myself something to wear to the show!

You all Diana Ross puts on a BREATHTAKING show.  Her voice is beautiful and the woman looks good as ever.  The show was about 1 hour and 15 minutes, non-stop.  She made four outfit changes.  She sang many of the classics, including “I’m Coming Out”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Do You Know Where You’re Going To”, “It’s My Turn”,  and many more.

My all-time favorite movie in the world is  “The Wiz”, like I still watch that movie on a regular basis, so to hear Diana Ross sing “Ease on Down the Road” in person made my LIFE! Now the one song that made me feel a little teary-eyed, in a good way, was when she sang Billie Holiday’s “Don’t Explain”.  (Side note: You all I love jazz!  If you look through my small music collection, you will find Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Carter, and Sarah Vaughn and more.)  I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible it was to hear this melody  flowing from Diana’s lips, you could just feel the emotion of the song.

Her band was crazy great…piano, saxophone, drums, bongos, bass guitar, and jazz guitar!  She had 2 male and 1 female backup singers, amazing!  At one point, she brought her children and grandchildren on stage.  She handed her oldest daughter the mic and she belted out “UPSIDE DOWN”…the girl can “SANG” not sing “SANG”, lol!  Like mother, like daughter…

When the show was over, the audience began singing “Reach out and touch, somebody’s hand, make this world a better place, if you can” in unity!  As I walked out people were in awe, like mouths dropped and heads shaking in disbelief about how amazing the moment was that we had just experienced.  While in the women’s restroom, someone started singing “I Will Survive” (the song Diana closed with) and before I knew it, every woman in the restroom was belting out the song.  There were people from all walks of life, age groups, and countries there to see this living legend!  The vibe made you feel good, empowered, and without a care in the world, if just for that moment!

While waiting on my friend to meet me at the casino for dinner, I struck up a conversation with a guy that attended the show.  He told me it was his birthday and he attended the after-show meet and greet.  He also sat in the front row.  Now I had a good seat with  a direct view of Diana, but I was still too far back to get crisp pictures.  This complete stranger was nice enough to share his pictures, so I could share them on the blog!

So let’s get into this week’s DIY look!  I am calling it…The Diana Dress!

After having dinner with my friend, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick photo shoot since we were still at The Venetian Las Vegas, where Diana Ross performed.  This casino/hotel is absolutely gorgeous and I felt The Diana Dress deserved to be photographed there!  Luckily, my friend’s phone takes really good pictures!

I made this tunic using Simplicity 8295.  Honestly, it is a pretty straightforward pattern.  I expressed a little confusion on why there were so may number 2 pattern pieces on my insta-stories, but the lovely Brittany J. Jones  sent me a direct message to let me know there were multiple number 2 pattern pieces, because they were all different sizes.  DUH!!!  I thought maybe that was the issue, but I just did not see the sizes printed on the pieces until she pointed them out.  Oh, check out her blog (I love watching her sewing insta-stories).

Now as a sewist, you probably know that you do not cut patterns according to the size you wear in the stores.  You cut according to the finished measurements printed on the pattern pieces.  If the pattern piece is in between your measurements, I was taught to cut up a size.  As a general rule of thumb, I always err on the side of caution and go up a size or two when making garments with fabric that does not have any stretch or give whatsoever.  As you know it is easier to size down, than it is to size up.   Normally for my bodice or top half, I usually cut a size 12 measurements, but because I did not want this tunic to be fitted or tight considering my fabric did not have any stretch, I cut a size 14.  For my bottom half I usually always need to cut a size 16.  I figured sticking with this size would be fine since the dress flared out a bit.  Therefore, at the waist mark, I eased into a size 16 towards the bottom.  Additionally, I stitched my side seams at 1/2 inch instead of 5/8ths.  I am pleased with the fit.  This fabric is not stiff or itchy like some brocades or jacquards can be and it has a lightweight feel to it.

I was going through my fabric stash  and came across this  brocade that I bought back in October.  I remember seeing this fabric and thinking I absolutely must have some of it.  It was too gorgeous to pass on, but the crazy thing is I cannot remember where I bought it from.  It was a weekend that I went on a fabric haul.  I went to Los Angeles and shopped locally in Vegas.  However, I am almost 98.893% certain that I bought it at Heddy’s Fabrics here in Las Vegas.

This fabric is gorgeous on the wrong and right side.  I chose to highlight both sides, by making the collar, front band, back yoke, and sleeve cuffs with the metallic gold contrast.  This pattern comes with a cuff for the other views, but I drafted a quick cuff out of scraps and attached it to my sleeve.  I made my sleeve a little wider towards the bottom.

I love the pleat detail in the back of the dress.

When working with brocade, I strongly  recommend that you serge your edges as quickly as possible, because the fabric frays fast.  I felt pretty confident about the size I chose to make so I went ahead and serged my pieces after I cut them out.  I left the edges of the armscycles raw, while working.  However, once I added the sleeve I serged the edges.

Now although I serged my edges, I was not feeling how the seam edge looked on this back seam.  So I attached satin double folded bias tape from my stash along the edge.  I didn’t have a lot of this bias tape to do all of the seams, but I did have enough to add it to the front seams and hemline as well.


Hands down my favorite new make of 2017 so far!

That’s all I have! I have super fun plans this weekend! Can’t wait to share all about it! Have a great week!

Yours truly, Tee
Make sure you subscribe to the blog to receive updates on the latest posts! Just scroll down the page on your mobile device or to the upper right corner of your computer screen.   You may also follow via Bloglovin’ (see the link below).
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

26 thoughts on “DIY Tunic Simplicity 8295 a.k.a The Diana Dress

  1. Thank you for sharing your Diana story and photos for those of us who missed it! That dress is fabulous and well worthy of The Diana! Nice way to use the fabric by flipping it over.

  2. Diana was gorgeous! Great pictures so kind of the stranger. Your dress came out very nice and I love brocades for that same reason sometimes the wrong can be used! Love it!

    1. Thank you Timesa! Yes she looks fantastic! I am so glad he shared his pics, because otherwise I would have had to post my blurry pics lol!

  3. Diana, is so elegant, fearless, beautiful, sigh I could go on,lol. However, Tee, your dress, oh my word is everything! I love the detailing and the craftsmanship that you put into the insides. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes she is all those things! I love looking at pics of her, she is a true style icon! I read an article where she said she designed all her looks for the show! Thank you Candice!

  4. All I could say was WOW!! when I read your blog post. What an evening to remember~ just beautiful! Maggie; you out did yourself on that dress. It is absolutely gorgeous! Well done! I think you should have been on the stage for a lovely picture of you with the iconic Diana. 😉 You are so fortunate, most people have to take a plane to get to Las Vegas to see a show; and it takes a lot of planning with a stay over. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Laura! The funny thing is my friend contacted me the next day and told me if he had known, he could have gotten me backstage 😩. Living in Vegas definitely has its advantages😊

    1. Thanks Eileen! Not a dumb question at all! She sang Love Child and You Can’t Hurry Love and I believe those were songs with the Supremes! She also sang a little Motown medley/tribute while all the great Motown stars flashed across the screen! 😊

  5. Awesome song. Sounds like u had a great time. I think u have a good combination of skill and good taste. U make such simple and classy outfits that are very glamorous and make u look a million bucks. And u look so good in those heels (sexy legs too! 😉 the list gets longer!). I love that picture of u lying on the bench. U look gorgeous! 😉 x x

    1. Thanks Tasha! So happy I had a reason to wear those shoes for a second time, lol! I need to wear those more.

  6. It’s beautiful Tee! I can’t imagine a better dress for the occasion. I think Diana herself would totally have worn it at some point. What a fun night for you. On the sewing end, I love the bound seams. It’s amazing how much a little Hong Kong finish adds to the insides of a garment, and it’s such a smart choice with brocade.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Yes, I agree! Sometimes I don’t feel like adding bias tape to the seams and I could have easily left them serged. However, I am always much happier with the result when I take the time to do things like that, even if they are only on the inside! 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *