Pattern Review – Simplicity 3503

I was so inspired by Erica B’s and Cindy’s recent Maxi-dress renditions of this pattern, and I always loved the version that Cidell did last year. I wanted to make one for myself, but I wasn’t sure about the longevity of the Maxi dress trend. So I called my BFAM, Emmett. The conversation went something like this.

“Emmett, what do you think? Can I get away with a maxi dress this year? Or will I be hopelessly two seasons ago?”

“No Ann, you’re fine for this summer. They are still very in. Go for it. Now how are my fabrics [for Sewing Hope] selling?”

So cool! I got the go-ahead and I had the pattern and fabric ready to go. And away we went!

Pattern Description: Dresses in two lengths with neckline and sleeve variations. I made View A, the long, cap sleeved version.

Sizing: 6-22. This runs big. Go down at least one size from your norm. I made a 14 but cut it down to a 12, and I could still take it in at the waist.

Fabric Used: The fabric I used is the same as the classic (and long gone) Bold Boho Chic from last year, but in a different colorway.
For the lining, I used White Tricot Knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Needle/Notions Used: Size 75/11 Stretch needle, fusible tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, thread.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, but I made some changes to the structure (see below)

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them. I have heard they leave out a few steps, so I’ll try to check them later and let you know.

Construction Notes: I basted, then serged all the major seams. Also, I stabilized the shoulder seams with fusible tricot.
I was very concerned with the placement of the patterns. It was brought to mind for me recently in a picture of a paisley silk gown where the paisley motifs sit right over the wearer’s boobs. Not a good look. Gigi is always inspiring with her motif placement, so I kept chanting, “What would Gigi do?” and tried to be very thoughtful about where the motifs hit on the body.

Any changes? Yeah, a few. I liked the neckline, but Simplicity’s original design had the bodice front and back criss-cross at the centers. The original design was lower cut than I wanted for a hang around on the deck dress, so I changed the bodice to have the pieces meet with a CF and CB seam . I raised the neckline so I don’t show quite as much decolletage. Here you can see the change to the bodice front:
I then made my usual FBA.

Simplicity has incorporated a weird construction technique in this pattern. They (and the rest of the Big 4 are doing this these days too) have you line the front, but not the back. They then have you turn and stitch the hems on the back neckline and back half of the armhole before attaching the front to the back. IMO, that’s a pretty boneheaded way to do it. It’s just as easy (easier, actually) to cut lining pieces from the back bodice and line the whole thing. That’s what I did.
I understitched the neckline and the sleeves, leaving the side seams and the bodice bottoms open so I could turn the top. I treated those seams like they were underlining and simply serged them. I’ve seen a lot of RTW constructed this way. Here’s the lining at the neckline:
And here it is at the sleeves
It’s actually not completely finished. I have to run it through the coverstitch to hem it, but I’ll do that this afternoon.

Here it is from the front
And here’s the back:

Likes/Dislikes: Love this style. I think it’s flattering on a whole lot of body types. Do keep in mind that it runs really big, so go down at least one size.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. I will probably make this in the shorter version for summer. Maybe in a rayon jersey for kicking around.

Conclusion: Great style. I’m pretty pleased with how my print layouts turned out – as always, there are a few things I would change, but nothing drastic. I’ll get a picture of me in it, but probably not for a week or so. I’m planning to wear it to a dance comp that DS the younger is participating in. That is a really exciting story that I will tell later!

Happy sewing!

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