Simplicity 1803


Simplicity 1803
Simplicity 1803


Hi you. You’re well? Me, I’ve been up to my usual….Sewing. Gardening. {I potted up these annuals, and more.} And reading. Actually, there’s been some pretty frenzied mystery novel reading around here. I’ve quite a few authors that I’m loving right now…the Phryne Fisher series by Kerri Greenwood, Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series, and…I’m just about to dive into my second Steve Berry Cotton Malone book.
This past weekend, a holiday long weekend in Canada, G and I got in plenty of beach walks, as well as time in the city. We even managed outfit photos of my Coffee with Kaffe Dress, Simplicity 1803. The photos showcase the historic Marine Building. While in town, we saw the film Dior and I, and we both really enjoyed it. I was recommended this film by Rachel of House of Pinheiro, and later, by Glenda of So What To Twenty. Thank you both! It’s playing in Vancouver at the Vancity Theatre until May 30th. Not in Vancouver? Check out screening locations here.
Okay, my natter today is going to be pretty specific to sewing this new to me pattern. Yes. As much as I love my Simplicity 2444, I felt an urge for something just a little different. It’s another fit and flare, and it’s another Simplicity, but I find the neckline details really lovely. After an Internet looky to check out recent makes, I did, however, nearly change my mind….the overwhelming consensus was that this pretty dress comes with major fit issues. There was good news though; once the fit was mastered, there was a lot of love for the dress. Here are two of my favourite versions here and here. So…yes…I admit. I was really tempted to take the easy way out, stuff everything back in the pattern envelope, and just sew my TNT 2444. The thought of doing a toile {mock up of garment} seemed. like. so. much work. Well, it’s no secret…I re-thought the matter and decided to sew the toile, and, in doing so, discovered the satisfaction that comes with taking a stock pattern and making it work. And lemme tell ya, this pattern needed some heavy alterations to make it work. If I had sewn this dress straight up, it would have been flat out unwearable. Too big, too low, too wide…sheesh…there was all kinds of wrong going on. As much as I love my finished make, I think there’s room for improvement….plans are afoot for another one already!
Because I had so many fit challenges, and because the finished dress makes me happy, I’m detailing the alterations that I made. Who knows? It might help one of you.
Shortened all bodice pieces 1”.
Sized down one size, and additionally took in the centre front seam ¼ – 1/2″ with a slight curve.
Re-drafted upper edge of bodice front adding 1/4″ – 1/2″ from centre front to outside edge. Added approx 1/2″ to armhole edge.
Re-drafted the yoke front removing 1″ from lower edge. Added approx. 1/4 – 1/2″ to armhole edge. I didn’t make a note of exactly how much I added {{{sigh}}} and will keep better notes next make.
{The above alterations make for a much smaller opening, but it’s a comfortable fit and my bra straps don’t show.}
Re-drafted the bodice side front armhole very slightly to match bodice front.
I raised the back neck edge 1”. I like this scoop neck design….I can do up the zip without doing gymnastics.
I subbed in the sleeves from Simplicity 2444. After overlaying the pattern pieces from the two different designs, I could see they were a pretty close match. { I wanted a fitted sleeve rather than the pleated options.}
I didn’t use the skirt pattern, opting for my easy-peasy rectangle version. Skirt is lined.Fabric designed by Kaffe Fassett, a brilliant textile artist. It’s titled Paperweight, colourway Pink. I think it’s more coral than pink, but whatev. It’s 100% cotton and great for summer.

Sketch of the major alterations to give you a better idea.

‘k, that’s all. More to come soon. I’m playing truth or #sewingdares with Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow. Super fun!


  • Reply colesworth May 19, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Pretty! Season 3 of Miss Fisher just started here in Aus – have you watched any? So much eye candy for vintage fashion lovers ;o)

  • Reply Cheryl May 19, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Love it and what a fabulous photo shoot!

  • Reply Suzanne Carillo May 19, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Oh I love the neckline on this!

    Did you chop your hair? Or is it just up? Either way it looks very good!

    Brilliant photos too. Nice to see you again lady : )


  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I did!!! I feel nekkid, LOL! I actually have it parted the 'wrong' way to minimize the drama. But, I am getting used to it. Happy you like the neckline. xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 19, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks Cheryl! Nothin' like posing for the camera in the middle of the city…eep!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 19, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    We are JUST now getting the series in Canada. I've been judicious about my viewing. I'm only watching the shows if I've already read the book…the others are being taped for future eye candy! She's so fabulous!

  • Reply Joni James May 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    The dress is absolutely gorgeous. Do you work out? Your legs and arms are looking fabulous. Sorry to be so blunt. 😉
    The city photos are beautiful. I thought for a minute it might be Seattle! That doorway is a total work of art. And I love the view of the old building in front of the swooping modern high rise. WOW.
    I'm thinking I need to find a caftan pattern and sew some up in linen blend. I think I could live in those.

  • Reply Shybiker May 19, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    What a pretty dress. Great design and colors.

  • Reply Carelia Moran May 19, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    What a great dress and pictures! I enjoy seeing you wear pink or blue. I love the street-style vibe of these pictures and I also love that neckline of your dress. The metallic shoes are the perfect compliment for this dress and so your smile.

  • Reply PinhousePlaymate May 19, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Love the dress! Despite all the fit issues you had, it came out lovely:) I have learnt not to shy away from patterns just because someone has problems with it, that's a good way to miss a gem! We are all so different in shape, and making fitting alterations is what makes us better and more confident stitchers. And the satisfaction in making it work, is priceless 🙂

  • Reply amy mayen May 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I love how the clothing you make seems to tell a story. Good for you for doing the research and making the pattern work. The cutout is a nice detail and I love your print! Great pics. The photographer loves you:)

  • Reply Melanie May 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    POW! These are the best photos EVER! This is what I want!! How did you get them to shut down the street for you? Although you are lookin' so good in that new dress (I'm in love with the fabric) it would have been easy to sweet-talk anyone to your will. That Marine Building is a beauty, right? Again, these are my fave photos.
    Your hair also looks awesome, and we can see dangling earrings with it short. Excellent decision and I hope you love it too. As for sewing skills, you are a schtar!

  • Reply Heather May 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    This dress is so pretty, and well worth the effort, I think. The fabric is gorgeous and you look so glamourous on the city streets!
    PS: Your hair is super cute too!

  • Reply Vix May 20, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Such a fab frock and an amazing backdrop, too!” Love the sexy cut out detail on the bodice. Arghhh, potting up. My garden has been woefully neglected …again. xxx

  • Reply Coco May 20, 2015 at 3:50 am

    Great job on your changes – your dress fits like a dream! and I love love the Kaffe paperweight fabric. Your dress really shows it well.

  • Reply oona balloona May 20, 2015 at 5:25 am

    i was going to ask the same question, i LOVE it! man, they did a brilliant job on the tapered back. i bet in a couple weeks you'll get used to the drama and play it up…i'd love to see you style it all the way! (can you tell i'm obsessed with curly cuts?)

    this is lovely, you've reminded me of a wearable(ish) muslin in my closet. they could be cousins;)

  • Reply Patti May 20, 2015 at 5:27 am

    What a gorgeous summer dress, Sue! I love the city photo shoot too – you are a fab high-priced model. Thanks for linking up – I cannot wait to meet you in two months!

  • Reply sallie oleta barbee May 20, 2015 at 6:45 am

    This is so gorgeous, and such pretty photographs too! And I'm also a fellow Armand Gamache fan over here!! I'm actually really sad that I've read all those books, since devouring them last summer was some of the greatest weeks ever!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion May 20, 2015 at 8:08 am

    This is a lovely summer dress. (Good choice of shoes and earrings again.) What excellent material, brilliant fabric. The keekaboo (peekaboo) is intriguing. Smart to make it in such a way you don't see straps or reveal too much. What surprised me is the faults in a pattern made by Simplicity. I mean, that is not some sort of a B brand. Shame on them. And very brave to make a toile first. Glad you didn't do it for nothing. I also clicked through to The Sew Convert… indeed her blue and white dress from this pattern is also very nice. I noticed her bodice is longer and her skirt sleeker (is that the word?). No idea whether that would also look good on you. You are the judge of that of course. But oh the shoes that woman is wearing. AWESOME.
    The photos your husband made are brilliant. Great points of view. I am so looking forward to coming to Vancouver and see all this with my own eyes. By the way, did they hang up those pink banners just for you? LOL You couldn't have gotten it better if you had that street styled by an expensive agency.

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion May 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

    And did you wear your hair up? Or did you go to the hair dresser for a summer coupe? Nice.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Oona! I think you're right…a week or two and I'll be looking for the drama.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Thanks Joni. Seattle and Vancouver are sooooo similar in so many ways. I can totally see how you might initially think these photos were shot there.

    I'm feeling half flattered and half guilty about your question, LOL. My favourite work outs are yoga and rebounding…but I've been neglecting my mat recently. At least I'm still getting in some good walks.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Thanks Ally! You've been scoring some great thrifted finds recently!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Thanks Carelia! It's quite different taking photos in high traffic areas, but it's also fun to show people Vancouver.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Thank you! Very well said…the satisfaction is priceless!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Hey Amy…I will always remember your husband's comment after seeing my photos! Now, that this pattern does work, I'll have to restrain myself from making it twenty times over, LOL.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:31 am

    BAM! Thanks Melanie! The hair is growing on me, LOL….actually, I loved it straight away, but change is change, and there is that getting used to it factor.

    So? Do you think we should take photos on the big streets?

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Thanks Heather! You have the cutest hair ALWAYS!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Thanks Vix! I know it's not much, but that cut out detail does indeed feel sexy! xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Thank you Coco! Every so often I treat myself to a new piece of fabric…it doesn't have to be on sale, or from a thrift store, or for a particular project…and this fabric just begged to come home with me that day!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Thanks Patti! Just two months!!!! I'm so looking forward to meeting you too! xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Thanks Sallie! Louise can't write fast enough for her fans, I'm sure! She is one of the best!!! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

  • Reply Connie May 20, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Look at You! Bopping around town in a gorgeous dress and a new cute haircut. I think I hear the theme song from “The Sue Show!” This seems like it was a bit of work but totally worth it! I have just recently started making “toiles” of new patterns after completely blowing some vintage Lily Pulitzer fabric on a dress pattern that turned out waaaaaaay too tight in the boobish area. I am learning from you….how to be adorable!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Starting from the bottom up….Yes, I did get my haircut just a few days before taking these photos!

    I am trying to be braver about locations for photos because there really are so many fantastic Vancouver sights! It's funny about the banners…each neighbourhood in Vancouver has different coloured banners. This was an accident, but now I will have to intentionally coordinate my outfit to the the neighbourhood banner, LOL.

    The Sew Convert's dress is very couture looking. And I was very drawn to it…the colour, the pattern {obviously}, and the silhouette she chose. Hmmmm…I have been finding the fit and flare silhouette good for me, very comfortable to wear. I've 'discounted' the more narrow skirt as being uncomfortable, but with a me-made garment I should be able to make it fit properly to my shape. I am seriously considering the thought of making a dress with a sleeker skirt, thank you Greetje! Hey..it's only fabric! {and her shoes are AMAZING!}

    I have to imagine that this pattern fit their model correctly? But, there is definitely way too much ease factored into this pattern.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 20, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Vintage Lily Pulitzer! Oh, that sounds fantastic!! I'm so sad that the dress was too tight. Saves are so much more challenging to do when something needs to be made bigger. 🙁

    You've cued me into what is missing from public photos! My theme song, LOL!

    Nice to see you around Connie….I hope you're starting to feel better!

  • Reply Glenda May 20, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Sue, I always enjoy visiting your blog. You and your whimsical designs make me smile. As usual, you look oh-so pretty and joyful.

  • Reply Dana Bishop May 20, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I agree, you are adorable in pink. The neckline detailing is brilliant Sue! Great job. I'm hooked on The Brokenwood Mysteries. Not sure if I'm attracted more to the storyline or to the Aussie accent. I can't get enough of “G'Day”.

  • Reply Melanie May 20, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Well, I was shocked that there are more than alleys in the city! Heck, yeah!
    The photos reminded me instantly, ridiculously of course, of Romancing the Stone where they had to cut down all the wires to tow the sailboat down the street. You make quite an impact here.

  • Reply Marina Ingvarsson May 20, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    You look amazing, love the positive vibe!


  • Reply Michelle May 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

    HELLO, Sassy! I love this whole look! The shoes, the dress, the hair! You look amazing. And, your photo location is incredible. Also, I totally whacked my hair too! After our last hair chat, I decided to go for it!

  • Reply Shirl May 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    love that dress on you, and the new up do!


  • Reply Curtise May 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Love your hair, and the gorgeous dress, Sue! That cutaway section and the scooped back are just lovely. And such a fab print.
    My goodness, you worked hard to make that pattern fit, It would have defeated me.
    Glorious photos, as always. xxx

  • Reply Annie Case Hanks May 22, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I love Simplicity 2444 and I also have this pattern. I have been wary about the neckline but your version is amazing!! So very special. And it looks like you had a great time in Canada!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:36 am

    It's definitely fiddly to work through, but worth it in my opinion. Sorry for any confusion, but we actually live here in Vancouver.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Thanks Curtise! I had a moment with the pattern fitting, but I'm glad I worked it out, LOL!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Thanks Shirl!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Ooooh, how exciting!!! I can't wait to see you!!!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Thanks Marina! I try to keep the vibe upbeat here!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Thanks Dana! I've not heard of the Brokenwood Mysteries! I love adding new series to my list, and I'm off to check this out! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Thanks Glenda! I know you're busy right now, thanks for taking the time to pop by. And thanks for the recommendation of Dior and I. It's a really great film!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion May 22, 2015 at 8:49 am

    If you make the dress again with a sleeker skirt, you have to make a toile again. Really, you have to. As you have to adjust the length of the body too, to see what looks good on you.
    You have got your work cut out for you. But you were also grateful you did that first toile.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 22, 2015 at 9:06 am

    You're right. What I'm discovering is that with being a short person, my 'windows' of proportions are so much smaller than a taller person. Tweaking the length of the bodice by just 1/2″ can make for something fantastic or meh, LOL. So I 100% agree, a different skirt could mean a different bodice length etc. and a toile is the only way to go. Some sewers make toiles using 'good' but not 'great' fabric, so that if it works, they end up with a wearable dress in a fabric they like. I think it will be worth it…I'm on a mission to find my most flattering silhouette!

  • Reply Flo May 22, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Adorable! It looks great on you, I love the vintage feel to the style. You had me at the pink anyhow!

  • Reply Merche Martinez May 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Awesome photography, as usual. I really enjoy your posts. I know I tell you this every time, but every time it's true.
    Your new dress is lovely, great neckline, and it showcase your pretty, happy face.

  • Reply sabine May 24, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Oh, Sue these pics are so amazing! You look so fabulous and vibrant in this cute dress. Your new hair cut intensifies this impression.
    I am always fond of finding a series of books, best with the same protagonist or the same characters appearing again. Do you know the crime stories of Martha Grimes or Elisabeth George, something like that. I will check whether the ones you mentioned are available here.
    Sue, thank you so much for your kind comment. I feel so closed to you althoug living so far away.

  • Reply Anna Nuttall May 24, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Hi Sue, I LOVE LOVE that dress – it so frickin pretty. You also look so pretty. It look like you had fun taking these pictures.


  • Reply Carolyn May 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    What a fabulous dress! The print is absolutely beautiful. I'm sure you'll live in it and get compliments for it all summer long!

  • Reply Rebecca May 27, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Wow! This is one gorgeous dress! I am so happy you were able to overcome the fit issues as now it is perfect! I too love the neckline details with that little peek of skin! I love everything, from the pattern and color to the shape! Sounds like you have been busy but in a good way! Gardening and reading mysteries sounds delightful!


  • Reply MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P May 27, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Don´t tell me how you made the dress I am useless, lol, give it to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
    Love ittttttttttttttttt.
    I also love your new hair style soooooooooooooooo quirky.
    The shoes make the whole combo shine together with your smile.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks Flo! I'm guilty too….anything pink, I'm sold!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks so much Merche! You know…I really enjoy considering us online friends! You are a delight to know, and I love your comments so much!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks Sabine! Oh, I haven't picked up a Martha Grimes book for some time. I will add her to my current must read list. Elisabeth George is a favourite of family members, but for me, just a little too psychological. She really is a brilliant writer to evoke such emotion.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you so much Anna! I appreciate that you've stopped by to say Hello!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Carolyn, thank you so much! I agree…it will likely be on my most worn list this summer!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks Rebecca! I now realize that I am missing the perfect little purse in these photos. I did have my large straw tote…always a necessity when visiting the city…but didn't have a cute clutch or anything. YOU, now you always have the best accessories!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas May 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    hahaha….I did! And I am thrilled that you love it, lovely Sacramento! Thanks so much for popping by. You have been missed my friend, and it's so great to see you here!

  • Reply Rachel May 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I LOVE this fabric, and the neckline is gorgeous! Great job, as usual!

  • Reply Kelly Roy June 3, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    What not to love about your dress? Even more when I learned you made so many alterations for the fit. What's the point of wearing something that doesn't fit!

  • Reply Jan Graham-McMillen June 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Hello, Lovely! Crawling back out from under my rock to tell you that you look Mel-licious, and how gorgeous and glam your dress is. Astonishing how easy your floral approach to minimalism works … do let the dress take second place to your big smile. Smile you should … I'm yearning for a trip to somewhere there are tall buildings and everything that goes with them.
    I love Phyne Fisher, too … in print and on the tube … season 2 was available recently through Acorn TV, and that's fun for Dan and I. Steve Berry as well. but after the first few a year or so ago, I need to catch up.
    Speaking of catch-up, I never will make it, but I'm going out to give it a try. Love you, Sweet Sue!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much Rachel! Yes, it was the neckline that attracted me to the pattern! A little different than the usual scoop neck.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks Kelly! Fit is so important, especially with handmade garments….you're right, what would be the point of wearing something that doesn't fit! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas June 5, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Jan! I've been missing you terribly. Things have been busy, even chaotic, for you these days? Do what you can…you know where to find me. And, now I will think fondly of you when I'm picking up a Phryne novel, or a Steve Berry, adrenaline pumping, read! I am just starting to watch some Phryne TV now…it's airing on our local PBS, but I only want to watch episodes that I've already read! Love you back!

  • Reply dan June 13, 2015 at 4:50 am

    This post is a surprise: I can't remember any post of you in the city!! You, wonderful in pink, and the buildings at your back…soooo lovely!!

  • Reply SuZan Steinberg June 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Fabulous! I love this dress with Kaffe fabric – you look wonderful and so impressed you can wear heels!!!

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