Killer Bees {Simplicity 8085}


I sat on the fence about this pattern for ages.

Pros: vintage reissue, cute as heck, very wearable.

Cons: No sleeves, fabric hungry, not a huge fan of the look of binding.

The decision was made after I popped into Spotlight earlier this week, three Simplicity patterns for $12. I had 5. This made it through as the 6th.


Pattern: Simplicity 8085 from Spotlight (such a horrendous website, can’t even find the pattern on it).

Fabric: Purchased a while back from East Coast Fabrics (another very rubbish website, excellent store, bloody lovely staff).

Pearl buttons and double fold bias tape were op shop finds a while ago.

(Side note: how freaking awesome is double fold bias tape?! I’ve only ever used single before. It’s eleventy billion times easier to get a nice even finish with double fold).


When I got home, I opened her up to check out the size of those skirt pieces. MASSIVE. I thought with the centre seam they’d be smaller pieces (and I’d cut 4 rather than 2). Nup. Centre front seam yes, side seams no. Oh. Let’s change that then, shall we?



(Disclaimer: this is my quick and dirty method. It’s probably technically wrong, but I don’t care because it worked).

First I traced off my front and back bodice pieces, then pinned the darts in place (as they would be sewn). I lined up the bodice pieces with the skirt pieces, overlapping the bodice pieces at the side seams. I then marked where the bodice side seam was on the skirt (you can see by my marking that this involved a bit of fiddling around, you have to curve those flat bodice pieces around to match the skirt). Then I marked the seam allowance either side and traced out my new front and back skirt pieces. It made them much easier to fit on the fabric and I was able to eliminate the centre front skirt seam by placing it on the fold instead. Hooray!


Side seams mean side seam pockets! Didn’t iron them. Forgive me. When I googled other makes of this dress, I didn’t like the look of the patch pockets (sorry guys). You can also see the horsehair braid I added to the hem for a bit of a kick.


Pearl buttons instead of snaps because pearl buttons. And they match the bee’s wings.


Sleeves! I added sleeves. Literally the sleeves from the Emery Dress with zero changes. Probably shouldn’t work, but they do. Isn’t sewing magic?


Let’s talk about the fit. I obviously made the short version because I already have a fair few dresses in the longer length and I wanted to be stingy with the fabric. I made the size 16, but cut the length at the size 22. The horsehair braid means the hem is pretty narrow, much like it would be if you use binding, which I was contemplating doing, but didn’t have enough.


I feel like the fit is pretty decent, especially without a FBA, but it does gape a bit in the back if I don’t do the waist ties up as tight as they can go. And even then, after wearing for a while, they sort of loosen a bit and I can feel the breeze down my back. If I pull it up at the shoulder seams, everything seems to fit a bit better, so that’s something to consider for my next one. I could take some length off the lower back pieces, but I’d have to re draw the wrap part higher because it is very close to the back band of my bra right now. Maybe a little snap there would help, but it won’t help with the gaping. Still very wearable though but I can see it becoming more of a beach dress for summer.


Still not convinced about that binding. I think next time I might fold it to the inside. Or use matching. But who can be bothered making all that binding? Not me. I’m not that dedicated.

I’ve been really mean and kept the image of the back until the very end. Because it’s that part that’s the rock star of this dress, right? Here she is!




2 thoughts on “Killer Bees {Simplicity 8085}

  1. Just going through your blogs, as I’ve only just ‘discovered’ you (Thanks CSC!). This dress is adorable! I love the exposed bias – oh, and that fabric, Swoon!! Really lovely make!


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