Duro Junior

by Erin on July 14, 2008

Puzzle Dress

So this is my version of Simplicity 3875, henceforth known as Duro Junior.

I know I haven't been posting about the Duro lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been THINKING about the Duro. I was looking for a lighter, slimmer version to wear when it's really hot: the Original Duro can be a LOT of fabric.

This pattern didn't originally jump out at me as a good candidate, mostly because the jewel-neck version on the pattern envelope had these dumb little string ties which managed to obscure the lines of the bodice. But once I erased those (mentally) I decided to give it a shot.

Although not actually difficult, this pattern is still a massive PITA to put together. The back of the dress has no waist seam (just a lengthwise back seam), so, in order to finish the neck edge with the bias facing BEFORE the front panels are attached, you have to sew the front bodice pieces to the back bodice pieces at the shoulder WAY early in the process. Which means for the rest of the construction, you're shoving that long back piece out of the way. Arrgh.

I was able to add pockets, too, in the side seams, although lining them up when sewing that seam was a bit tricky. There's a single notch to match the front skirt to the back at the side seam, so I placed my pocket piece on the front skirt pattern where I thought it should go, then cut a corresponding notch on the pocket — that helped it match up pretty well.

The original pattern has the tie hanging down the back, but I prefer the way it looks brought around to the front.

Here's the back view:

Puzzle Dress

And here's a closeup of the front:

Puzzle Dress

I haven't hemmed the skirt, or the sleeves, BOTH of which were about three inches too long (PITA, pt. 3). I ended up cutting a 12 in the bodice and a 14 in the skirt, which was more or less the right size; if I had to do this again I'd maybe cut a 10 in the bodice (for narrower shoulders) and add some length to it, and a 16 in the skirt for a little bit more fullness. Although that would necessitate buying two copies of the pattern (PITA, pt. 4).

The fabric is Michael Miller, maybe? I bought it at City Quilter a gazillion years ago, I think … (I really should start labeling my fabric with where and when and from whom I bought it, shouldn't I?) I think it's a little too stiff for this pattern, but it was a good tradeoff between fabric I could bear to screw up and fabric I would want to wear if it actually turned out okay. I think next time I will make it in some stripey seersucker, or maybe even in this silk noil I have lying around …

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim M July 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Cute!! While some of the sewing instructions flew over my head (completely!), I have to agree about the tie being in the front. Nicely done!

Reply

Kristen July 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm

wow! that may actually be my “most favorite erin dress” so far! What great fabric! you always post these fabrics that i just love and that I know I would never in a million years picked out on my own. it’s great!

Reply

Little Hunting Creek July 14, 2008 at 12:29 pm

It looks great – I totally agree with the ties wrapped around to the front. What if next time you split that back pattern piece at the waist, added a seam allowance of course, and then you wouldn’t have to deal with as much fabric until later in the process. It would also make adding pockets easier.

Reply

3KillerBs July 14, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I don’t usually care for Duro dresses because the style is unflattering on my figure — I end up looking pregnant. But your altered neckline on this is wonderful and your suggestions about lengthening the bodice and making a fuller skirt could make that style look a lot better on a short, heavy woman like me.Fabulous fabric too. Nothing like black, red, and grey for looking sophisticated and playful at the same time. :)

Reply

Myra July 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Great dress; I have a cheaper simplicity version pattern (the it’s so easy one from Walmart) to try, maybe it’s time to try it. Did you finish the mailorder walkaway dress?

Reply

Stacy July 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm

It looks great! I love the fabric.

Reply

Erin July 14, 2008 at 1:23 pm

I did the bias trim on the walkaway dress (look here for the big reveal as to WHAT COLOR later) but haven’t done the buttons or (what is really holding me up) the pockets. Maybe tonight.

Reply

Rebecca July 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

What a wonderful dress! I love the alterations you made to the pattern, and the fabric is perfect for it.

Reply

Anonymous July 14, 2008 at 2:09 pm

A really nice dress! Tying the sash in front makes the whole dress look slightly more Japonica. You could make one of the square knots that have the extra turn on top and on bottom half hitch, and the sash would look even more Asian.

Reply

Cindy July 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I have had the same pattern in my stash for awhile now but haven’t attempted it. Your comments have helped (prepared) me!–and I love the seersucker idea! I orighinally was thinking of floral.

Reply

Anonymous July 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Cute dress, but just what exactly is a “Duro” dress? What is the definition?Re pockets for the dress with a wrap-around waist band, I’d just stitch some patch pockets to the facing of the waistband (inside). They’d be good only for tissues and small items but, depending on their placement, could be handy.

Reply

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) July 14, 2008 at 3:06 pm

This dress is much more attractive than the standard “duro” dress. It is much more flattering. Super job!

Reply

Stacy July 14, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Love the dress! What serendipity…I used that pattern this weekend, too! Actually, I did the view with the crossover front, but the “duro” one is next on my list. I agree the facing was a PITA. The length is about right for me for office wear (I’m 5 7″). I’m posting a picture of it on my blog tomorrow if you care to look. I am wearing it today and am wrapping the tie around the front, too. I think it looks much better that way. I used knit for the body of the dress and cotton for the contrast pieces.

Reply

Cherie July 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Darling Duro! And the fabric – I would so love to have some! Love your interpretation!

Reply

Ruth Singer July 14, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Elegant, yet slightly bonkers. I like that!

Reply

Joni July 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Too funny – I’ve sewn 3875 like a gazillion times! It’s my go-to dress for something that’s easy to throw together quickly and doesn’t use a lot of fabric. I recognized it right away, although I don’t think I’ve done the same exact view as Erin (and I ALWAYS add pockets!!)My most recent version was in the Alexander Henry ‘Koto’ fabric:http://bp1.blogger.com/_82pzvPZABy0/SBEERTLlupI/AAAAAAAAAfE/GxS3k4luKek/s1600-h/100_3079.JPG

Reply

Eirlys July 14, 2008 at 5:17 pm

A summer conference talk winner, I’d say. Great stuff!

Reply

astronen July 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Oh so cute. I love the fabric too. I reminds me of being a bit retro with a modern twist with the black sash in front. I agree, a fuller skirt would be nice. I am very partial to full skirts anyway. I would love to sew this dress. Perhaps a white linen or pale pink

Reply

velvet plaza July 14, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I think I have this pattern…I need to check my stash…

Reply

/anne... July 14, 2008 at 7:46 pm

I think it’s the perfect weight of fabric for the dress – it looks lovely and crisp so it’s not going to look limp after a long hot day, and probably resist wrinkling too. It looks very sleek – I’ve been planning something similar, only with short sleeves. I can’t wear batwing/kimono sleeves, they leave too much bulk under the arm, which only makes my bust look even bigger :-(. The only change I’d make is a ~3/4″ band around the waist, and gently gather the back bodice and back skirt to the band. Gives a bit more structure to the back, and goes well with the waist tie.Lovely dress!

Reply

Alicia July 14, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I love it! Personally I’m a 40s fan so the more narrow skirt is calling to me. Hm, I have this pattern in the stash, what’s the chance I have any fabric that would work with it?

Reply

Mynrose July 14, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Heyy it looks so nice. And that dressform looks similar to mine. Is it Adjustoform, Supa-Fit, Dressmaking Model? And nice fabric you used. :)

Reply

wundermary July 14, 2008 at 9:06 pm

This looks fantastic. Adding a waist seam to the back is a great idea and due to the sash, you don’t have to worry about matching the pattern.

Reply

Susan W. July 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I love the Duro junior …more than Duro mre! Also love your taste in fabric, as always.

Reply

India July 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Ooh, I love! Joni’s version is also great. And I would never otherwise have looked at that pattern envelope for one second, as I find the dresses in the photos really ugly.

Reply

Claudine July 15, 2008 at 1:48 am

Well done! I love it. Actually, I think I prefer it to the standard Duro. This design is better for a fabric with more body.

Reply

Amy G July 15, 2008 at 9:25 am

This is very pretty despite the PITA points!! Duros on me look like caftans….I’m short and it’s too much fabric for me to carry off. This might grab the style without the yardage. Thanks for showing it to us!

Reply

Kate July 15, 2008 at 10:00 am

Ohhhhh! Pretty!

Reply

enc July 15, 2008 at 11:28 am

This Duro Junior has a very flattering sleeve and bodice! I love the fabric you chose.

Reply

Sold A Moke July 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

You are so good at modifying patterns to your taste. I envy you.

Reply

The Slop Queen July 15, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Erin that is cute, cute cute!!! And I think I have it in my stash; can’t wait to try it out after seeing your version. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Jen July 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

It’s hard not to notice that there seem to be more bias bound edges on patterns lately. Like someone is getting lazy over in the the pattern drafting dept., and they think bias is an easier application (not!!)To make make your own facings, just trace off the neckline shape from the front and back patterns. You will want these crescent shapes to include the shoulder seam angle. Cut them as narrow or as wide as you wish (refer to an existing pattern for standard widths). Pre-fuse a soft interfacing to the back of the facing fabric before you cut out the facings. Overlock the outside edges to keep them flat, and “viola” there you have it, shaped facing ready to sew in AFTER you have completed the dress front, back and sewn the shoulder seams together. (It’s easier than it reads.)

Reply

Jenny P July 20, 2008 at 5:58 am

HiThis is very nice indeed. I really like the colour combination. Well done!! Jennyp

Reply

Anonymous July 21, 2008 at 1:32 am

I absolutely adore this dress just my style! Reminds me of some Sky dresses I am in love with. The link is below if you want to take a look!Sky Dresses

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: