Sleeveless Disaster: Simplicity 1803


Just some notes on a work in progress. Simplicity 1803 is a pretty popular pattern with beautiful versions all over the Internet. After reading a few blog posts on it, I decided to dive into it.

Every person who made up the pattern gave a warning about the 4 inch ease, so taking that into account, I cut a size 4 even though my measurements put me at a size 12.

Turns out I was a little too enthusiastic about cutting a smaller size so I had to sew the side, shoulder and back seams with 3/8″ seam allowance.

I also followed the guide to shorten the waist for petite sizing.

With those changes, it was almost a perfect fit. The only problem is I have seriously big arms!! So I am begging here, what are your go-to tutorials for sleeveless armhole adjustments? And also armhole bias binding while I’m at it.


My only gripe with the pattern itself is that the facing extends to the armholes, so when attaching the bias tape, you have a lot of bulk to trim. It might also be a problem with the fabric I chose (isn’t it always??) as this stretch cotton sateen is a little heavy. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I’ll have to wait until after this weekend to finish it up. On that note, hope everyone has a nice holiday weekend!!


16 thoughts on “Sleeveless Disaster: Simplicity 1803

  1. I hate armholes, they are the worst. I feel I never get them right! What I’m going to do for my next shirt is actually take a RTW piece I feel fits well, and compare that to a muslin. Then make the changes accordingly. With the bias tape I just take my time. I want to start making my own now too to make it less stiff since the pre-made stuff is so stiff and sometimes goes wonky on me.

    You can’t tell from the pictures though that there’s anything wonky about the arms, so well done! It’s an adorable dress.

    1. That made me laugh – armholes are the worst!! I have never gotten them right on a woven pattern, which is why I always add sleeves. That sounds like a good idea, comparing to RTW and making the bias tape. In this case, the bias tape is actually softer than the white fabric I used, but in general I think that is probably the way to go. Thanks Bethany!

  2. What a pretty dress! It looks perfect you can’t tell it needs more work. I wish I could help but I’m terrible with armholes and facings do scare me. So goodluck and hope it will be a perfect fit soon!

    1. Thanks Marielle! Yeah, I really need to sit down and make a muslin first one of these days. It’s so hard being impatient lol! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. They look good! I should try it sometime. Might end up with asymmetrical chest :p
        Hope you finish the garment adjustment soon…can’t wait to see it modelled ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. If the facing already extremes into the armholes then I would just draft it to face the armholes entirely. Otherwise, the trick with bias binding is to curve the binding not straighten the armhole. When you actually stitch it down, set up your garment so that the armhole is on the throat plate naturally curved and rotate it around the needle to follow the curve.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! What an interesting thought, I don’t think I own any clothes that have the facing attached to both the neckline and armholes, but after reading your comment, I saw a tutorial for it on Tilly and the Buttons. I might have to try it one day if I can figure it out, same with the tip on keeping the armhole curved. Thanks so much Emma!

    1. Thanks Linda! I looked up a few and they mostly said the cut the bias tape shorter than the armhole and stretch it as you go. I did stretch it here but I don’t think it helped much. I think one blogger actually handstitches the facing to the inside of the dress but I try to avoid handstitching when I can lol.

  4. I love your fabric choices! I often have trouble with the fit on armholes too. I often have to adjust the under arm seam and cut the arm hole a full size bigger than the rest of the pattern to get things to work. So frustrating though! The curved seams are so lovely!

    1. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ The black fabric was an impulse buy from Joann’s and I really like it, wish I could have bought more. That’s an interesting tip, to cut a full size bigger than the rest of the pattern. Will have to keep that in mind. Unfortunately, I cut into the tissue paper for this one ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Thanks again!

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