Simplicity 1543- gets foolishly Exotic

Now, just keep playing that in the background while you read- it will really enhance my stuff! I scooped up Simplicity 1543 during one of those $.99 sales where you are limited to 10 and its more of a challenge that you really need- you go from 3 you know you will really enjoy sewing to ‘well, I may need a toaster cover pattern shaped like Yoda, yeah, ok…..’ Well, that was a bad example, cuz if they sold that, oh hell, I’d make it.


I really enjoyed how the envelope tried to cool it up for us with this ‘perfect for at home, running errands & travel‘. Dang! Why don’t you just say, braless shut ins watching the View will totally rock this look! Well, since I do aspire to a lifestyle of never sucking my stomache in, I went for it. But then I cooled on it, because I got the notion that it was for knits and ugh- pocket placement……so while I was doing a little rearrangement of the bins and sending some undesirables away (I’m looking at you, most of my Suede Says purchases) and what happens? GAUDY EPIPHANY!!! Yes, the paisley and cheetah clad baby angels descended on bungies (like they do when I’ve had caffeine and cookies for breakfast…so often) and pointed to the fabric I got on a whim- wait, that isn’t really making it stand out- all my fabric purchases are whimmy…..ok, THIS whim purchase. A huge silk-ish panel with a familiarish face on it. Yes, I believe it’s Shanghai Lil!!!


Well, Here she is in all her glory! Now, 2 things changed with my version. Tastefulness The pockets and the side vent hem. Lil would have lost much of her garishness due to pocket placement. I considered matching the print (which would have taken too much of the fabric for a summer top out of this glorious beasty) but the top stitching still would have detracted from it for me. So what to do! I did an inseam pocket – since I always need a place for my phone and a steamed dumpling or two.


I am now a serious fan of this pattern and these sleeves! I used a braided cording to add a little pop of the turquoise and I’m quite pleased. Now a warning for the dainty: it runs big. BIG. BIG. I did mine XL and it isn’t fall off the shoulders huge, but it could definitely use some tapering on the sides.


Dear Simplicity: no more drawings! Show us a real body on the envelopes. Or was the model too busy being perfect at home, running errands and traveling? I mean really, we all love pastel drawings of a young Kate Beckinsale, but stop being so artilly deceptive. Mkay, Thanksandbye.

shanghai 6

photo credits: pattern review, youtube, meadhawg, . All images remain the property of their original owners.


59 thoughts on “Simplicity 1543- gets foolishly Exotic

  1. “braless shut ins watching the View will totally rock this look”…… ooh ooh that is ME! I must buy it as it was made for me!. Love your Kaftan. Mr B is definitely a keeper.


  2. Judi Stansky says:

    You knocked this one out of the park. This is the kind of clothing that would always catch my eye in a crowd and induce immediately envy. Brava.


  3. wow, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this top on you. It really caught my eye. Not just because I have made a Version of it mysef, but you really brought it allive. Fabric Choice is excellent. I tryed making it in a Cotton veloury fabric, and really, With all the fabric it was too bulky. Good idea making it from a non strechy fabric. I think I might have a og at that 🙂


  4. I feel distressed. I only have a drunk monkey & squirrels in my sewing life – you have cheetah-clad baby angels! The glamour!!
    I’m coming to understand the allure of the tunic. I want more loose makes in my life. Long live Shanghai Lil!


  5. It’s gorgeous! You have a such a good eye. I probably would have passed over that pattern without considering it for a second. I wonder if the pattern companies ever consider all the sewists who don’t buy a pattern because they see the drawings of clothes on unnaturally thin models and can’t imagine it on themselves.


  6. redsilvia says:

    Honey, you are stinking adorable! Love the fabric you chose and you could just make a whole wardrobe of those tops. Love!

    P.s. Why are you in my house in 1989 after the big earthquake here in SF?


  7. What a gorgeous top! I have to confess I have this pattern, although I haven’t made it up yet — waiting on fabric inspiration. I bought it because I made up another oversize Patty Reed top (Simplicity 2289) last winter and I wear it all the time:)


  8. Gah – what fabulousness!! The print is stunning too. You should be their envelope model, so much better styled (and of course real)!
    I want to make the Tessuti Pia pattern soon for some nice drapiness


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