crafts · finished objects · Sewing

FO: Simplicity 3835

Pattern: Simplicity 3835, Built by Wendy minidress, view B

Fabric: Amy Butler cotton, 2.5 yards

Size made: 8

Notes: You’ve probably seen this one before – it seems like every blogger who makes their own clothes has given this pattern a go.  I can certainly see why – the pattern is very versatile, and contains 3 nice versions – version A is a dress with elbow length sleeves and pockets, Version B is a minidress with sleeve ties, and version C is a top with a gathered neckline rather than a collar.  I made version b, the minidress.  You will notice that my version does not have the cuffs or sleeve ties.  I actually made them, but I felt really uncomfortable wearing them.

I don’t know if you can tell in the photo above (which is from before I hemmed the dress) but the ties are really huge.  It also seemed like they would come untied all the time, the length was awkward (elbow length) and (dealbreaker!) they make it impossible to wear a sweater over the dress.  So I took them off and made a small hem.  I’m much happier now – the length is perfect for me, just above the elbow.  Keep in mind that I have freakishly long arms, and on most people this might hit lower.

I might tend to call this a tunic rather than a minidress – it’s  really short.  I don’t like to wear any skirt I can’t raise my arms in, but since i was planning to wear this with leggings anyway it is fine.  I would probably make the longer length if I made it again.  The sleeves and collar fit me perfectly, which probably means they are rather small (according to the other reviews I’ve seen they do run small.)

I thought I was choosing a size that was too small for me – the recommended size for my bust was a 12, but I thought it looked big so I made the 8.  However, as it turns out, it’s not the pattern – it’s me.  I had my measurements taken yesterday and found out that in fact I do not have a 33.5″ bust – I have a 31.5″ bust(lucky me, right?)  I have no idea if I shrank or if my last set of measurements was inaccurate, but I insisted on retaking that measurement about 12 times before I just accepted it.  That does explain my puzzlement when trying to figure out why patterns fit me the way they do – I had worked up a muslin of the dress I showed in my last post and it was enormous – of course, it was a 34.  3 inches smaller and it might have fit.  It also explained why I have such trouble with knitting patterns that start at a 34.  I thought I had small shoulders – guess not (or maybe so, but that’s not the whole reason.)  I then went through my closet and measured all my dresses – every single one that is not stretchy measures a max 34″ in the bust, and the knit ones are even smaller.

New things learned with this pattern: gathering, hemming small diameter objects like sleeves, sewing on a collar.  I used a trick I read online for the gathering.  I did a zigzag stitch over a length of crochet thread and used that to draw up the fabric – much sturdier than threads, and faster too.

I actually like the print, although there is a lot of it.  I try to be careful with the scale of prints, so I hope this isn’t too overwhelming.  Cotton is easy to work with, although I must confess that this sort of fabric isn’t my favorite to wear – I generally avoid cotton shirts and dresses, both because of wrinkling and because I don’t enjoy the crisp feeling.  I doubt I’ll be making more dresses out of this, but I love it for quilts!

So to sum up… many things learned, and a cute tunic – even my husband liked it!

21 thoughts on “FO: Simplicity 3835

  1. Very very cute. I love the big pattern on this; it makes it a little retro, but still sophisticated. It’ll be super cute with a pair of longer shorts underneath in the spring, too, I bet!

  2. Looks great!! Even if your full bust was 34, 12 might not have been the right size because of the pattern sizing/amount of ease included on that particular pattern. My full bust is 34.5 and I often sew the 10. It depends on the finished measurements of the pattern – that’s what I focus on – measuring finished garments that fit me well and choosing the pattern size that has those finished measurements.

    1. Thanks – that helps, to know about sizing. I find sewing pattern sizing to be puzzling, and the finished measurements aren’t always included (though if I buy a pattern I can always measure them.) I don’t understand who would wear as much ease as is built in to some of the patterns (I’ve noticed the simplicity patterns have a lot especially.)


  3. I must say that you are a heck of a cute redhead in that tunic! Especially that last photo. I love reading your blog and learning from it as well. This last week has been between zero and twenty degrees here in eastern Washington. I’ve been holed up knitting for family and really enjoying myself! Just little things–fingerless mitts, dishcloths, felted slippers. December is so cozy!

  4. So cute, I love the fabric choice (I’m such a sucker for Amy Butler… and in fact I have a shirt made of this same fabric, different colorway.) I jumped on the bandwagon and made a couple of these Built by Wendy tunics a while back, but had to admit the arms and collar were too tight for me–it’s nice that they fit you well as drafted.

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