Thursday, 31 March 2011

A tropical dress from Simplicity 3503

Hi everyone – I’m back from my vacation in Miami. It was wonderful, warm and way too short!

But quickly moving on to sewing matters …… now that I am back I can start showing you the garments that I speedily sewed up for my vacation wardrobe before I departed. First up is my palm print dress –

perfect Miami – see how I blend in with the palm trees!

The pattern is Simplicity 3503

This is the second time that I have made this view, pictured on the bottom right, with the dolman sleeves (my first version was blogged about here). It’s pretty fast to make and easy to fit. I followed the pattern instructions with one exception – instead of machine stitching the inside edge of the neckband facing to the neckband, I slipstitched it by hand. Of course, it doesn’t really matter much either way but I prefer doing this so that I get a clean finish on the outside of the neckband (and this way avoids the possibility of wonky stitching showing in a place where you really don’t need wonky stitching!)

As I mentioned in my last post, the fabric is a polyester-lycra purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics. The reason that some commenters on this post were wary about polyester fabric is that it has low breathability. Personally, I found this particular fabric (it is a very nice quality) quite comfortable but I agree that in humid climates polyester can be problematic. If you are wary about poly in hot weather, this pattern is one to consider because the sleeves give you some coverage but they are loose and flappy, and the skirt isn’t fitted, so air can circulate.

Anyway, enough of my vacation sewing for now but more in my next post ……..


  1. Very cute! I love the palm tree fabric and this is a great 'go-to' pattern. I've made a couple up myself.

  2. You look great. I like your version without the contour waistband and neck better than the one on the pattern envelop! The colour of the fabric and the style of the pattern definitely suit you. I hope you had a great time and great weather in Miami. Did you eat any Cuban food? Drink any mojitos?

  3. That is a lovely dress. It reminds me of a DVF print that I love.

  4. I looked at that pattern today. Your version looks way better than the pattern.

  5. A lovely dress and beautiful fabric. Yes, you do blend in with the palm trees! Glad you enjoyed your holiday. Looking forward to reading more about your holiday sewing.

  6. looking at your previous posts - that makes 3 for this pattern? and I think they are all great! I think I need to make a maxi dress for summer.

  7. I like your dress! In fact, I think it looks better than the version on the pattern envelope! I hope you enjoyed yourself in Miami, glad you are back!

  8. You look phenomenal! I love your choice of print and of course this dress is super flattering on you (on you most dresses are (wink)!) Glad you enjoyed your time in Miami!

  9. Very cute. You look like Jeannie from an I Dream of Jeannie show. I can't wait to see the rest of your vacation wardrobe.

  10. That is so fabulous on you!!! I'm jealous of your Miami weather. We're expecting snow here in New England.

  11. The dress/fabric is lovely! Welcome back!

  12. Great dress - I love the fabric and that pattern is one of my favourites.

  13. What a lovely dress! Perfect for a vacation!

  14. Perfect vacation wear, I love it - I'm getting excited to start making dresses again! Personally I am quite happy in a poly knit in hot weather, but I agree not all knits are made the same.

  15. Whenever I want dress inspiration I come here!

  16. This print must have been so perfect for Miami!

  17. Hope your vacation was wonderful. You look fabulous! Love the palm tree print.

  18. Beautiful dress and a great match of pattern and fabric.

  19. So cute, and what a fun trip. I have that pattern ready to be made into a dress for summer, but since I am FAR from living in Miami it will still be a couple of months until I need it :)

  20. That is such a great pattern - so many options. I love your palm dress.

  21. Lovely lovely dress! Glad you had a wonderful time!

  22. That's a wonderful dress! Very tropical.

  23. I can't think of a more perfect dress for Miami! So glad you are back and had a nice vacation.

  24. This looks fantastic, and yes, you are perfect against the palm tree background! Fabulous picture, and a fabulous dress!

  25. Miami fabulous dress! What did you think of South Beach?

  26. Hi Lindsay, thanks for the nice comment. Personally I love South Beach, it's my favorite beach vacation spot. I love the sunshine, the beach, the shops in Lincoln Road, the food and the general air of cool liveliness. It makes me feel like I'm young and carefree!

  27. Inspired by your photo I have just ordered the pattern. Others have suggested sizing down one or two sizes as they felt it made up large? I'm 5' and size 10. How did you find it and what size would you recommend I follow. Any advice very gratefully received. I've not made a garment since I was 20 and thats 25 yrs ago!

  28. You dress turned out just gorgeous! And perfect for a Miami vacation. I have never had trouble wearing poly in the summer, I have some wonderful ITY fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics and also FFC, and none make me feel any hotter and sweatier than the typical summer weather here in St. Louis ;)

  29. Oh my God! Lovely! Your version of the dress is soooo summery! What a joy that you're back, welcome!

  30. Hi aurndrag - thanks for stopping by. On checking my traced-off version of this pattern with the original I can tell you that I made this dress in a size 8 with a full bust alteration (I added about an extra inch to the length of the front bodice). For patterns made with woven fabric I usually make a size 12 but I tend to find that I like a tighter fit for knit fabrics and I do agree with others that this is drafted large. So I would suggest that you should go down one, if not two sizes, from the pattern size that your measurements would indicate. Things to watch for - you need the midriff to fit snugly (but not overly stretched) and you need the neckband to fit right so that it doesn't gape, apart from these areas this dress is quite loose and forgiving. Good luck!

  31. Thanks for the advice Eugenia. The pattern has arrived and I'm off to find a fabric. I am usually a UK size 8 - 10 petite so I think I'll do the size 6 and cross my fingers! Oooh I'm excited. Like I said I haven't made a garment for 25 yrs, the sewing machine has been used for curtains and upholstery only. Hope you don't mind if I ask for any more advice. Sewing skills for dressmaking rusty!

  32. Great marriage of fabric and dress style. I really need to work on nipping in the midriff band for my next go at this one. Yours is perfect!

  33. The fabric and style are just soo perfect for where you've been. Just looking at the picture makes me feel all summery. Madonna's song "La Isla Bonita" comes into my mind :-) - the perfect summer song for me. Great dress! I just love turquoise.

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