Tag Archives: simplicity 3503

Yellow, Black and White Maxi: Simplicity 3503

18 May IMGP6995

It’s not too often I outright copy Trena and make something because I saw hers. I mean, I get salty when I give her unloved fabric and she turns it into a masterpiece. When? Like this shirt and this dress.  I already know I’m going to be mad when she sews this fabric from China. Four years ago Trena made (now out of print) Simplicity 3503 and I was j-e-a-l-o-u-s. Don’t get me wrong, I’d made my own version and a version for a friend. But, Trena’s was stunning with the use of border prints. And, the version for me I gave away to Liz because I didn’t understand a FBA back then. Once I knew I needed an FBA, I just didn’t like the way the dress fit. Ann, if you ever ever ever get that fabric again, please send me a telegram.

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So, here’s my newest Simplicity 3503 (complete with a FBA), a good four years after the maxi dress trend peaked, lol. I’ve wanted to add more yellow to my wardrobe the last two years too. The fabric was in my stash from Fabric Mart and I scooped up an additional two yards at the DelMarVa blogger meet up last fall. I needed it too because of the way I wanted to cut out and place the various prints.

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This is one of the prettiest things I’ve made lately. But, guys. It’s a kind of a hot, happy-hands-at-home mess.

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1. I really really detest facings and sewing knits by turning under and stitching from the outside (wrong sides facing each other). I think it never looks nice and always looks homemade. My halter looks all kinds of janky on the outside edges because of it. And, I’ve already pressed the life out of it.

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The inside of the dress is also self-lined.

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2. To get the waist to fit nicely (I really shoulda/ coulda cut a whole size or two smaller), I took in the waist a few inches. I forgot that my facing knit at the waist band is SUPER stable. Which meant I couldn’t get the dress on after taking it in  as it wouldn’t stretch in the waist. To ‘fix’ that, I just sliced into the facing at the sides.

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Now, I could rip out the waist, recut and resew. But, I’m already not happy with the way the halter looks. I am going to put this dress in the magic closet and see if I have the energy at some point to redo the waist. But, for now. I just don’t have it in me.

You can see a little peek of my bra on the left under my arm. Well, that’s after I took the straps up by two inches on each side. I also made a one inch FBA and shortened the dress by four inches.

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Half of this was sewn on my new-to-me serger, the Babylock Imagine. So far, I am in love. I’ll do a separate post on it after I’ve sewn a few more items. But, this garment also made me get a serger. My Euro-Pro was chewing up and eating holes (while shredding and breaking threads) in this dress and many of the other knits I’ve tried to sew the last year.  I was so frustrated I wanted to *throw* it against a wall. It has served me well low these past 8 years. But, at $400 for the price from HSN. It has served its purpose and I bid it adieu to the sewing machine farm in the sky.

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I wore the dress today to a wedding/ logistics- rehearsal. I’m officiating the wedding next weekend at my friends’ home. Doesn’t a maxi dress just make you think of Miami and a pool?  In my mind I’m making something new to wear. But, I haven’t even started….

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There’s no money in this for me

3 Apr

A sad, but true thought came to me today. I will NEVER make money sewing for other people. Because I cannot meet a deadline. You see, my friend Jon asked me if I would make a dress for his wife for her birthday. In 2008. Maybe even summer of 2008. He even offered to pay me my asking price. And yet, I did not sew it. They were going to Belize in January. A good a time as any to make up Simplicity 3503 for her. Nothing. But, the weather broke and my daffodils bloomed.

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I was feeling motivated.

Finally, this week I told myself to at least cut it out. I even did a single layer layout so I’d have enough fabric for a top for me. And tonight, I bailed on bookclub (never did get a copy of the Love Languages) and just sewed. Couple hours later I was done. This maxi dress is pretty much the same as I made it before.

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The finishing is a little cleaner in terms of I knew how it was going to go together.

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The knit was from online and is a poly blend. The wife is Indian and we’re near the same complexion. So, I hope the yellow pops the same way. If I were making this for myself again, I would add a lining. It’s pretty thin and should be worn with a slip. Unless you are a hussy like me and don’t bother. I’m a little sad letting this go because I think it’s really cute. I think I still see another one for me in my future.

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So, the short list: one more dress that I was asked to make. The Weekender bag I’ve been ignoring. And maybe a new dress for the high school reunion I can’t decide if I’m going to.

Miracles do happen!

5 Jul


I love me a maxi dress. I love them so much I finished up my third one in two years. They hide a multitude of sins: the eight pounds I’ve put on since Christmas, my unshaven legs, and my ballooning backside :)


Yes girls. That’s right. Simplicity 3503 day gown is done! The fabric was here from the fabulous Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics when I got home from work on Thursday. I love the east coast! Gigi is right, this fabric is fabulous! Plus, take a look at what Summerset has done with it.

So, I pretty much adore everything about this dress. While I’m a 14 by Simplicity standards, I cut a 10 based on the measurements printed on the pattern. Oh, Big 4, if there is one thing you have over my beloved Burda, it’s printing measurements on the pattern.


Here’s a shot from the side. I lopped off two inches from the hem and decided not to hem it. Yep. The edges are raw and I couldn’t be happier.


And another from the back. I used 3/8 vs. 1/4 inch elastic in the back and cut the size 8 elastic since other reviewers noted the dress sagged in the back.

Inside lining.
Matched motif on the bodice

Seriously. This dress is great. You can crank it out in four hours or so and have something fun and trendy.
Plus, I’ve got plenty left over for a top.

TTFN, I’m on my way to the party!

I love a loooong weekend! And apparently I love the red, white and blue.

I cannot believe I did that

2 Jul

Edited to add:
This morning I promised Ann I would name my first born after her if the fabric shipped today. She’s come through for me. I always liked the name Ann….

So, here’s hoping that UPS cooperates and delivers the fabric next day like they did last time.

I see I’m not the only one who fell in love with the print after seeing Gigi’s use of it! Ann still has some. I see there are four yards less now than this a.m. Two of those are mine!


I decided last night that I wanted a new dress to wear to a Fourth of July party Friday night. I had Simplicity 3503 on hand and this beautiful fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Even though the panels are more rectangular than square, I decided that I wanted the borders to cris cross rather than run across me. This would of course require a bias cut. No worries! I had four yards on hand and the pattern calls for three. Plenty of room to work around.

I got everything cut out and was ready to do some assembly this morning. Except. Gulp. I could only find the front skirt fabric. I looked and looked trying to figure out where the back panel got to.

I eventually found it. With a bodice shaped panel cut out of it. Yes. In my cutting, I took what I thought was scrap fabric, and cut the bodice from the back skirt.

And I don’t have enough left over to do another skirt. So, I placed a second order to Ann first thing this morning and will pray to the sewing gods that it leaves Boston today and reaches me by tomorrow. It’s happened before. It can happen again. Right?