Simplicity 3790 Knit Surplice:Pattern Review


Simplicity 3790 Knit Surplice

 It looks magnificent on Millie the Mannequin and I am somewhat appalled that my own figure doesn’t match hers, as Millie looks rather sleek, and I look downright dumpy in this design.   This spring I have tried several unstructured designs with elasticized waists and have found that it is hit or miss when it comes to fit and appearance.   

Simplicity 3790 Practice Muslin Option A


  • On other figures this design would be cute in a lot of different fabrics.
  • After you have made the first one, subsequent shirts can be sewn on autopilot as construction is not difficult.




  • Grappling with both surplice pieces and the inset can be tricky.  There is a lot of fabric swirling around at the bottom and I hoped I hadn’t twisted anything and that I had it centered properly. 


Some Assembly Required:

 I sewed this one as they instructed in the pattern sheets.  The assembly Simplicity suggests is to make the top portion fully, including side seams and then attach the bottom band, in the round so to speak.  This way you have a clear seam for the elastic.  

I think you could do flat assembly also but you will have to seam rip a bit.  Making your last seam your side seam means the waist line seam is going to catch down as you sew.  To get it to flap out for the elastic you will have to rip out those catch stitches.     


Fake French terry bought at clearance during a 50% off lowest price sale at JoAnn’s.  I bought the bolt for fifty cents a yard so I could make practice muslins of knit patterns.  I don’t know much about French terry but the few muslins I have made up with it, the material snags at the barest brush.   It sews fine, if a bit heavy on the needle, but it doesn’t wear well.  Real French terry may be different.  


If I wanted to make this again I would have to seriously narrow both the inset and the outer surplice.  

The front inset is wide.  Though the cowl created is attractive is droops too low on my bosom.

Depending on what tunic length is best on your hips, consider shortening or lengthening the the bottom skirting.  

Will I Sew it Again:  

Style how-to’s have endlessly proclaimed that a surplice is flattering to everyone.  I beg to differ.

Surplices do have deep V-necks and the diagonal lines cut into the torso, both flattering aspects.  But almost all surplice designs include a waist closure that becomes a focal point as the diagonal line of the surplice points straight to the waist.  I am short-waisted and thick-waisted (lucky me!) and this design invariably highlights this flaw.   Any slimming of the shoulder and bustline is negated by the widening of my waist.  

Not only will I not make this pattern up in a fashion fabric, but seeing the practice muslin on me made me chuck all of my other patterns that had a surplice matched with a waist detail.  

Even with a custom fit, this design is not for me and I have to accept that.  

That said, this pattern does offer non-surplice options with I like very much and will review in a later post.  

Advice to Others:  

This design can be very cute and you can mix and match outer fabrics with your inset.  If you look good in this style you can show off your sewing talents as it is a bit nicer than the run-of-the-mill knit tee.   

Overall Style Grade:  D, on me.  But I have seen a gazillion women wearing this design who look terrific in it.  

Results Grade: A, you can get a good result easily and the construction lends itself to churning out as many as you need in not very much time.

Next Post: Thursday, May 27, 2010; Flat Front Shorts:Should I Forge Ahead or End the Pain?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: