My first Maxi Dress: Simplicity 3803

I long held back from making a maxi dress because I was afraid of looking completely swamped in one. But when my eye kept being caught by maxis while browsing pattern catalogues at Tissus Reine with my good friend Julie last June, I remembered Trena sported a maxi dress with success almost a year ago (Trena and I are about the same non-height). And I decided to give it a try.

I settled on Simplicity 3803 because I liked the shaped midriff (it isn’t a mere rectangle as in so many dress-with-midriff-band patterns). This is a neat pattern, which provides you with a nicely finished inside, too (the bodice is fully lined).

I’m a bit disappointed you cannot see the lines better. You really can see the bodice shaping IRL, but the small floral print here gave the camera a hard time, I’m afraid.

This is another Liberty piece I bought at Shaukat on Old Brompton Road when I last was in London.
I wanted to add a ruffle at the bottom, as in view C, but I didn’t have quite enough fabric – and I was determined to use this Liberty print.

Another reason I chose this pattern over others maxi dress patterns is that I found the keyhole opening in the back really classy. I loved Pirouette’s version of this, and I’m a little disappointed mine doesn’t show that well in the picture. Probably because I have a small back and I should have fitted the bodice back even more than I usually do? (I always go down two sizes in the back).

Hopefully it shows better when I’m wearing the dress in action, though, and moving in it, instead of pausing for a picture 😉
Oh, and I promise you the upper edges are actually even. Must have been the way I was standing in the picture.

I made this dress for a picnic I had with friends at the Buttes Chaumont late last June (just a couple of weeks before I left Paris). I figured a very long dress would be both pretty AND practical to sit down in the grass – and it was. Besides, the Liberty lawn gives the dress a fresh feel against the skin.
It’s been 30-32°C here this week (mid to high 80s Fahrenheit), so you bet I’m still wearing summer dresses!

29 thoughts on “My first Maxi Dress: Simplicity 3803

  1. Cathy says:

    I have the same problem with my height and the maxi dresses. I would love to have one for the cruise, I can just see myself walking around the ship in one. Unfortunately, they really don't make them in petite!


  2. Jennifer says:

    What a great dress. I love maxi's! Of course the sleeveless thing does me in, so I don't make them for myself. My 11 year-old niece is begging me to make her one.
    Actually worked a bit on a new doll dress today. A challenging, heavily draped and pleated design from the 1870's. Hope to post some photos soon.


  3. Gina E. says:

    Isabelle, your maxi dress is lovely! I feel so comfortable in a full length dress like this in our hot summers, as the fabric swirls around my legs creating a gentle draft which is cooling. I think this length suits all heights. I'm only 5'2″ and I feel dowdy in a skirt that is below my knees but not floor length.


  4. Tracy says:

    That is a wonderful, summery dress, Isabelle…love length, and the fabric you chose. It looks so comfortable to wear. 32*C still…heavens, it's been sweater-weather here! Happy weekend, my friend :o) ((HUGS))


  5. Nancy W. says:

    Glad to see all the things you've been making lately. The maxi dress is very pretty, and I especially like the blue dress from your last post. I wish I could stop working such long hours and get some sewing done.


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