Call It Suzy Inspired {Simplicity 3833}

Every year I enjoy making a Halloween costume, as is evident by this post, this post, and this post. This Halloween, however, will not be daunted by answering the door to every little monster in the neighborhood but gladly celebrated at one of my favorite restaurant. Needless to say, a traditional costume is oddly inappropriate for the evening, but I cannot let Halloween pass without making something specifically for the holiday!  And since a crazy creation is off the table, I took  inspiration from my favorite movie to create a costume that can be worn any old day.

Where did the inspiration come from?  My favorite movie...I have honestly seen it six times in theaters and probably 25 more times at home. What is it, you ask? The Man from Snowy River would be a great guess, but no.  Moonrise Kingdom! Yes, I am a Wes Anderson fan. Can't help it, won't change, nothing to be done about it.  Whit, photography, plot, just about every aspect in the movie immensely appeals to me. 

The characters in the film are all very well developed, but it was easy to pick a favorite---Sam.  Sam though, presented a flaw in making a very un-costume costume, and so I pick the ensemble of Miss. Suzy Bishop to imitate.  There is something about a pink sheath dress circa 1965 that seems up my alley rather than a coon-tailed hat.  So behold, my inspiration.

movie poster for

Pattern:  Simplicity 3833
Version:  A
Sizing: 14---a very tight 14
Fabric:  boucle with china silk lining and crepe accents
Notions:  invisible zipper
Assembly time:  plagued by many mistakes over 15 hrs
Instructions:  fine
Modification:  added lining; drafted collar and cuffs; finished seams
Recommend:  no
Searching for the better part of September, I came across a bubblegum pink boucle, that really is strikingly similar to polyester fabric from the sixties. I tried desperately to find a circle encrusted material even more similar to the film version, but it was unattainable.  I went back and forth on a pattern to use; I knew it needed sleeves plus a straight A-line skirt and actually started to draft my own.  Just as I was about to cut the fabric, I changed my mind to Simplicity 3833. I reminded myself that there is absolutely no need for a direct copy of the dress from the movie, and my own draft would be different regardless. Time was also an issue; I only wanted to spend a couple of hours on the faux-costume, which I ended up spending over 15 hours on the project.

suzy bishop
moonrise kingdom
source unknown

The use of Simplicity 3833 as a Suzy costume is far from unique. I have seen a few pictures circulating of Suzy based on this pattern, and thought the idea very cute.  The pattern itself features an interesting bust-line attached to a two piece front skirt. The dress back has a zipper (my preference is invisible) connecting two panels and shaped with darts. Two variations for sleeves are proposed within the pattern; neither option was used, but instead I cut 3/4 sleeves and drafted a reversible cuff.  I also added a collar and lined the entire dress.

rear darts on inside of dress and sleeve

The fabric used for this dress was horrible.  The loose weave promoted massive unraveling and everything was visible since the fabric is see-through .  To help tame the fabric, a complete lining was basted to the wool and then treated as one piece throughout construction.  Possibly, this technique could be defined as an underlining verses a lining, since all seams were sewn through both fabrics, as if it were a single piece of fabric.  To finish off most of the raw edges, French seams were implemented due to the fraying being visible through the wool and me wanting to make a neat inside.  In other areas, bias cut binding wrapped the allowance.

1) dress bodice 2) bodice lining
As drafted, the neckline is extremely high and had to be redrawn to include the pilgrim collar.  The collar from Simplicity 1699, that I made here, was used as a template.  Neither pattern was a perfect fit, and thus had to be cut to fit the other.  It took some time to manipulate, but I think the result was worth the experience. 

1) collar pattern 2) binding around collar 3) collar
The sleeves for this dress caused all sorts of problems for me.  The first attempt resulted in too tight of sleeves; so much so that my arms were pinned to my sides mimicking a straight-jacket.  Since this made the dress completely un-wearable, I removed the sleeves to redraft the fit.  Unfortunately, I had no extra fabric, and hence, my work-around involved sewing a two inch strip of fabric along one sleeve seam and then re-cutting the sleeve head shape.  Simplicity 2246 was used as a base for the new shape, since I have had pervious success installing a flat-laying sleeve head.  The ease points on Simplicity 2246 are further apart than Simplicity 3833, so I believe this is why the alteration lead to a better fitting sleeve. 

1) side dress view 2) bound sleeve lining with added panel and French seams

The cuffs were another adventure, but one I had planned on doing prior to beginning the project.  I have wanted to try my hand at making a reversible cut.  This piece also had to be drafted, but was relatively easy since it is a rectangle with curved corners.  The cuff was constructed by measuring the radius of the sleeve end, adding a seam allowance, and putting a slight curve on the cuff corners.  The pieces were interfaced and sewn to the sleeve.  The seam allowance was covered with binding.

front and back lining

Originally, the pattern was cut at the drafted length for Version A.  It was shorten to mid-knee just to be closer to the inspiration piece.  Suzy is young, has great long legs; I am old, and have short pegs.  The knee length dress seemed to be a great compromise. 

rear darts and invisible zipper

the dress

For the most part, I think I created a great replica dress, but this dress is not one of my favorites. My Simplicity 3833 pattern is destined for the give-away bin, and even then I kind-of feel bad about giving it to some un-expecting sole.  The sizing seems a bit off--think juniors department---and the combination of pattern design and dart placement is awkward. If I had it to do again, I would start this project with Simplicity 1609 and Frankenstein (add) sleeves from another pattern.

bust lining seams

bound hem

seams, seams, seams everywhere

lining side view


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