Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Simplicity 3503

Last summer, I made a couple of muslins of this pattern, but I was too scared to cut into my fabric, so it sat. But fabric is no good folded up in my sewing room (even if it is 40 year old irreplaceable fabric), so I pulled up my big girl pants and cut.
And I love my new dress!! The pattern is the much beloved Simplicity 3503. It was a best pattern over at PR in 2009, and as of this post, has 89 reviews, most of which are glowingly positive.
The fabric is Qiana, which is a nylon knit produced by DuPont that premiered in 1968. It was produced to replicate silk and is particularly known for it's use in 70s "disco" shirts although it was used in a wide variety of garments. It came from my mother's stash, although she will be quick to tell you that she did not buy this. It was given to her by my aunt who is known for her love of loud colors and prints.
Here is a closer shot of the print. The color looks pretty true to life on my monitor. It really is that bright. I love that little purple frog. He has some green friends scattered about as well. Despite this being a synthetic fiber, I actually found it pretty forgiving to sew. It pressed and eased well and wasn't too slippery to cut.
I did have to make quite a few alterations to get the fit I wanted. I raised the neckline about an inch in front and added some width as an FBA. I moved the shoulder gathers more toward the front of the bodice, so that the fullness was over my bust.
In back, I raised the neckline a lot - about 3 inches. As drafted, you'd need a backless bra to wear it. I wanted this to be an easy summer piece, so I didn't want to fuss with special underwear. With the back neckline raised, the tie becomes purely decorative, as it isn't needed to hold the shoulders up, but I do think it's cute, so I put it on.
The skirt and midriff band are perfect as drafted. It has pockets!! Love that. I had considered reducing or eliminating the front gathers, since they were a bit poufy in my first muslin, but the drape of the Qiana and the weight of the long skirt takes care of the pouf, and I find them very flattering. The skirt length was even perfect. I often find I need to lengthen Simplicity patterns, but this was just right. If you are taller than about 5'7" though, you may want some more length in the skirt.
Laugh all you want, Mom. I'm going to wear this ALL. THE. TIME. Now, anyone know where I can get my hands on some more Qiana?

23 comments:

  1. That pattern is a great choice for this fabric!!!

    You make it work!!!

    Despite my generalized rejection of most things synthetic, I mourn the loss of Qiana, also. For a while, it was made into everything!!! I remember my dad, and yours, wearing boxers made of Qiana.
    In High School, I made a wonderfully diaphanous Cossack-style white blouse of Qiana. It had huge sleeves that draped over 10-in wide cuffs, closed by 20 tiny pearl buttons, each. I wore it with droopy, acid-washed, torn jeans, and scuffed saddle shores.
    Whatever happened to that fashion free-spirit??

    Thanks for the memories!

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  2. It's a beautiful dress. I don't like fussing with special underwear either.

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  3. Love, love, LOVE your version of this dress! The colors look great on you.

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  4. Wow! That's a beautiful dress-so appropriate to make a maxi out of quiana. It looks wonderful.

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  5. Oh, wow! Kate, its such a cool dress! Aren't you so glad you were a big girl and cut into that fabric? The modifications are perfect.

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  6. The colors are just beautiful on you! I'm sure you'll really enjoy this dress.

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  7. How awesome is that print. Flowers and frogs, love it. It is a perfect match for that pattern.

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  8. I love the pattern and print!!!! Congratulations!!

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  9. That is a cute as heck dress. Totally. I really like the bright print for summer. That dress will take you most anywhere. I, like your mother, remember Qiana. I don't think I owned anything made from it myself, but my husband had several dress shirts of Qiana that he wore with his LeisureSuit!

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  10. W.O.W. You look fabulous in that dress! What a perfectly bright, drape-y maxi!

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  11. Fantastic dress, wonderful story about your fabric.

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  12. Ha! You'll be hard pressed to find another length of Qiana and another awesome print like that. Great dress.

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    1. I know!! I found a couple of pieces on Etsy, but nothing as awesome as this one. I'm glad Mom hoarded it all those years!

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  13. I made this pattern last year and I love it. Yours looks really great!

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  14. LOVE it! The colors are fab and the style is really flattering. That purple frog is really too cute.

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  15. Lovely work. That is one of my favorite patterns though I have to alter it a bit as well.

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  16. THAT is awesome! Terrific use of that fabric - you need to go to a party - you'll be the hit!

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  17. Popular fabric when I was a teenager. Cute dress. Like the changes you made on the back.

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  18. Luscious and lovely! I adore the colors and style on you.

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