Pattern Review: Simplicity 3842

Although I really need to get in gear on that wooly winter coat, I wanted to do a few simple projects to get back in the swing of sewing, and I thought a few “instant gratification” tops would be good projects. I have been doing a lot of sewing for the sister, before she is gone for an extended period of time, and I decided to try out Simplicity 3842 on a top for her.

I really like both views of this top – I think they are both pretty cute.  For my sister I made view B out of a purple plaid cotton knit (very stable, practically no stretch).  The lace and bias binding on the neck were gifts from another sewer’s stash (for which I don’t believe I ever properly expressed my gratitude, but truly, I am eternally grateful), and the cotton was $2.50/yard, and I used only a little over a yard, so total cost of this shirt was definitely under $5.

Here is my version:

The front.
The back.
Fabric and lace.

I really kind of like the green lace.  I tried a navy blue, but it was too dark and not really noticeable.  The green has a nice pop to it.  It picks up the most subtle color from the plaid, so I think it works pretty well.  This top was really simple to make, only took a few hours to sew up, and the end result is pretty cute.  I might make a few changes for fit in the future, but overall the pattern is great.  Here is the official review:

Pattern Description:  Tunic top in two styles.  View A with long sleeves and longer bodice, view B with shorter sleeves and shorter length.

Pattern Sizing: (8-10-12-14-16-18).  I really like that all sizes are included in one envelope.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes.  The instructions were quite straightforward.  The only tricky step is turning the loops for the ties.  I have a loop turner, which actually worked on this fabric, so it wasn’t too bad for me, but this could potentially be a major pain.  Other than that the instructions are very simple, and the top is quick to make.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Yes!  It looked very much like the view B drawing, except for the colors.  But the style of the shirt looked remarkably like the drawing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I really like the style of the top and the easy instructions.  There aren’t too many pieces.  Also, the instructions include finishing details (like ribbon supports and bias binding) that help make the results more finished and better quality.  As for dislikes – I think the B view top is simultaneously a bit low and a bit short.  Normally, I do not make length corrections for my sister, but I think I would have added 3/4 inch of length just to make the top a bit less prone to rising up in the back.  I did not hem the bottom as instructed because it would have been much too short.  I would also add an extra inch to the top of the front inset piece. Looking at the model in the envelope photo, it looks a bit low there as well.  I think for view A the length would be good (as the pattern is much longer) but the top would still need to be raised a bit.

Fabric used: Stable cotton knit.  It has practically no stretch to it and was pretty cheap – about $2.50/yard.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  None.  Normally my sister fits into patterns out of the envelope fairly well (don’t even have to mix sizes), but in this case I could have made a few changes (see the “dislikes” section) to make a better fit or more comfortable garment.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  Yes to both questions!  I think altering length and adding a bit to the top are minor alterations that can be easily done in the future.  I would totally make this top again for my sister, and I would love to make both view A and B for myself as well.  I think the results are really good considering how quickly this pattern can be sewn up.  Overall I would say this pattern is highly recommended.

Conclusion:  Great pattern!  Although I think a few minor alterations would be necessary (raising the top a bit), this pattern produces some nice results without any major changes.  The results are simple to obtain and the end product looks very finished.  Overall, I really like it!

Yay, more sibling sewing finished!  Right now I have left: the European travel cape, the wooly coat, and the plaid skirt, which are all in various states of completion.  Hopefully these can all get done within a month, but we shall see.  The cape and coat at least will get finished sooner rather than later.  Then I can return to sewing for me.  I have so many projects I want to work on, I can’t even decide what I want to play with first…

7 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Simplicity 3842

  1. I was very thankful to find this pattern review. I am trying to sew the pattern and I don’t understand the directions regarding using ribbon straps to connect the bodice insert. Can someone please shed some light on what I’m supposed to be doing. Obviously, I’m an active visual learner but couldn’t find any YouTube videos on sewing this pattern.


      1. No, not the ties. The bodice has some kind of ribbon on the inside that seems to attach to the bodice inset. I can’t figure out what they are trying to do. In my mind, it seems like the inset is just being held up by the ribbons and not sewn to the “V” of bodice?


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