Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jumping on the Simplicity 3503 Maxi Dress Bandwagon

I still have two more fabric stops to show from my trip, but meanwhile here's a project I finished a few weeks ago.

S3503 Thumbnail

When I made a maxi dress last year I was very skeptical. Cidell practically forced me to do it, but when the dress was done I LOVED it. I get compliments on the street every time I wear it.

And yet, I still wasn't sold on the maxi dress concept. Sure, the woven version looked cute on me. I am seeing tons of knit maxis on the street, but I really didn't think it would work for me. Then I found the fabric for this dress on the $2.97/yd table at G Street. As I was getting it cut, the woman mentioned that they buy their fabric by the pound as mill ends and offcuts. This piece was an odd shape; one of the ends had a huge rectangle cut out of it. I'm guessing this was the last bit left after they'd cut RTW garments out of it. There wasn't much left, but I hoped it would be enough.

Cutting it out was challenging because not only was the length not quite enough but the width was seriously compromised. Running along one edge was the border print, about 6 inches wide. That's all right. But the selvages were ridiculous! They were huge white bands, 8 inches wide on one side and 6 inches wide on the other. So although the fabric was 60 inches wide, it actually only had (excluding the selvages and border print) 40 inches of useable width and a little under two yards of length.

I cut out the bodice of the main fabric and the cut the skirts as long as possible with what was left, thinking if it was too short I'd just hem it at the knee and have a regular dress. Luckily, it ended up long enough! I didn't hem the bottom, but this being an ITY type poly jersey it stretched a bit so I think I'll add a hem after all.

Front Bodice Detail

I took a small bust adjustment, as usual, on the front bodice by narrowing the gather length along the lower edge, and pulled the gathers closer to the center than indicated.

I cut out the edging/straps of the border print. I kind of wish I'd cut them the other direction (upside down). I didn't notice this until I took the pictures while wearing the dress, but the center front looks a little bit like a skeleton's ribcage and I think that looks a little weird going down my sternum. But I am probably the only person who will have that thought. At any rate, I actually took a lot of care to get that center seam perfect--hand basting, even--so I'll get over it.

Bodice Lining

I lined the bodice and midriff. To get a neat finish on the bodice/midriff lining seam, I sandwiched the bodice between the midriff and midriff lining and sewed them all at once. In considered doing a neat finish on the lower edge of the midriff, but decided this would probably be disposable fashion and just used the serger to finish it off instead. This looks nicer than I expected, so that turned out all right.

For the midriff, I wanted to use the border print so I ignored the pattern pieces and just cut it out the width of the print (which is about twice as wide as the original midriff piece). Instead of side seams, I did only a back seam, shaping it there. If you look closely at the back, you can see that despite my hand basting there the midriff doesn't line up perfectly, but oh well.

LoungingThe entire time I was sewing this, I was skeptical. I didn't think it would look good on me and would be totally stumpifying and figured I'd end up hemming it shorter. Once I finished, though, wow! I love it! A long dress feels soooo glamourous. I wore it two days in a row since I was seeing different people on those days. Heh. Once it's not blazing, searing hot, I'm sure it will be my go-to weekend piece. I don't know how people wear maxi dresses in the heat.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

50 comments:

Sherril said...

Trena, that is such a pretty dress. You're right, I wouldn't have noticed the skeleton if you hadn't noticed it. I envy your opportunities to travel abroad and shop for fabric.

Trudy Callan said...

It does look very glamorous. I love how you cut the midriff piece so wide using the border. That's my favorite part of the whole dress. It really makes it stand out. the fabric is to die for. This dress would cost $80 and upwards in the store.

Looking forward to seeing your other fabric purchases from your trip.

spottedroo said...

Wow. Looks amazing! Why didn't you think it would work on you?

Christina said...

I adore this dress! You chose the perfect fabric for your maxi.

equatorcollection said...

You have made wonderful use of this pretty fabric. You look super in it!

RiAnge Creations. Ltd. said...

Wowza! You look fantastic. You are making my avoidance of G Street very difficult. I've already broken my fabric fast, so that's not the reason. I just may have to take a trip into Rockville.
Angela

meli88a said...

Your fabric placement is perfect - I love how you used the border print on the collar and midriff.

eword10 said...

One word, GORGEOUS!!! You look gorgeous in this dress. It fits you so well in the bodice and midriff. This dress is flattering in every way. Love it. As my niece would say, "OOOH, you look like a fairy princess!"

peacockchic said...

FANTASTIC!!! I saw the pic on PR and had to come and see the entire review with all the gorgeous pictures!! That print is to die for. Love me some maxis and this makes me love them even more!

Myra said...

Wonderful maxi dress! Love the colors.

Karen said...

Love it! The colors are perfect for you, and I love the wide waistband.

Cennetta said...

Absolutely beautiful. Good jumping with this pretty little number. Your use of the print is outstanding.

Anonymous said...

WOW! You did such an awesome job on this dress - the fabric, your layout, everything was perfect.It looks great on you. I have a son in Rockville - I know I need to visit (I've already mapped out his address to G Street)
Bev in PA

cidell said...

There isn't anything about this that I don't love!! It's adorable!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

This is sooooo cute on you! Love how you used the print!

Lisette M said...

This is one stunning dress!

Kennis said...

It looks great on you. I think the high waist + wide band + long skirt combination works for you. And I love the print of the dress on you. It has a very up-lifting feel to it. Thanks for sharing!

Shannon said...

Fab dress!

Lindsay T said...

Ooh, I love this on you! You did such a fantastic job with fabric layout. Nice going!

tcarole said...

This is so inspiring. As I recall, you are close to my height (a whopping 5'0" for me) and I always thought maxi dresses only looked good on tall women. You proved me wrong. I may need to make myself one.

Tamara said...

This is one of the cutest maxi dresses I have seen! I love the print and how you used the border print at the waist. It looks fantastic on you!

Jenny said...

That looks great! I'm in the middle of making a maxi dress and am still skeptical about mine. Seeing your great results (twice) inspires me to keep going, though. :-)

Jillian said...

This looks great on you! I love it!

mochimo said...

That dress is simply gorgeous!!! It makes me want to make one myself...

Nancy K said...

Great dress and I love your haircut. Both look fabulous on you!

Jackie said...

I just love this! It's a gorgeous dress!!

yoshimi said...

The dress is simply fantastic! You look so beautiful!!

Little Hunting Creek said...

I love this dress!!! I have been avoiding maxi dresses too - because I am short, etc etc, but now your beautiful dress has swayed me. This looks GREAT on you!

NGLaLALa said...

Oh my... this is a stunning dress! The fabric is beautiful and it's perfect on you!

marysews said...

Totally freakin' awesome!!! I like your haircut, too.

Sew4Fun said...

Wow! You are a knock-out in this dress. The dress, and you, are stunning. I'd stop and stare at you in the street too. :) It reminds me so much of the maxi-dresses my mother wore in the seventies. So much!!

Faye Lewis said...

Wow! You look great!

Vicki said...

Fabulous dress and it suits you so well. My sister had a similar one back in the '70's. Not as pretty as yours though.

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Miriam in KS said...

Stunning. Simply Stunning!

Isabelle said...

What a fabulous dress! Your use of the print is so inspired. You look gorgeous!

senaSews said...

This is really a fabulous dress. You made great use of the print, especially at the midriff. I love it!

Kathi said...

The dress is amazing - the midriff really just makes the entire dress stand out. The fabric is perfect for the dress. Plus, I love the steps where you took the pictures - great place for your photo shoot! The hair cut is also cute!

HeathersSphere said...

You look breathtakingly sensational, Trina! This is now my new favorite dress on you!

Uta said...

That's a beautiful dress, and I love your shorter hair! The colored tiles in the background frame it all perfectly.

Tany said...

Fabulous, beautiful! You look terrific in your new maxi-dress, Trena!

~ Kimberlee B ~ said...

Your fabric choice and fit are fabulous. Really compliments you!

Jill B said...

LURVE it!! I don't know that I would think to pick up the fabric, or even the dress if it was RTW, but seeing it on you makes me realize how AWESOME it is. And smack myself for still not making the maxi dress i have fabric and a pattern for, sitting patiently.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to check out your review of Butterick 5321 - looks fantastic in your photos! AND, I know you've said before that you're stylist either went AWOL or was too $$ but your haircut looks great. I support the indulgence - whatever it costs - and hope you found someone close.

Anonymous said...

I think that, out of all the people who have made a version of this pattern and blogged about it, yours is by far and away the most stylish and unique. That fabric is heavenly, and the dress itself is glamorous!

AllisonC said...

Gorgeous, and lovely photos from Langkawi too. This is what I need to do with that mad print I bought while you were visiting.

Cindy said...

How did I miss this one!! Wow...this may be my favorite! Looks so expensive!

Kim Gail said...

I think you look absolutely awesome in that maxi dress. The fabric is beautiful.. I really like your hair style.

Sharon said...

That really came out lovely! The neck and midriff pattern really accentuate your figure. I was curious why you used 2 different color lining? I love the print and looks great on you.

Orchidophile said...

I know I'm late, but I had to find this entry and comment. This dress is fabulous! The color, length, everything! Well done.