Oh What a Difference a Dress Makes!


Full Back

Better a bird in the hand than two in the bush. Or, in an econo-designer’s words, better one cute dress in hand than two vintage sheets. Yes, I’m that econo-designer and yes, I coined that phrase… Was it obvious? (Wonder Woman was taken.)


Me- Front


This project was a labor of love. The love? Patternmaking. The labor? I’ll not go into too many of the ups and downs, but it was quite the multi-step project!
The trouble was, I didn’t have a working pattern sloper set to draft from. I got rid of the one we made in design school, and it’s always been my goal to make a new one…custom made to my measurements. I’ll post all about how I went about it for those of you interested in pattern making, but for now it’ll suffice to say that it’s really no fun measuring and pinning onto yourself. Ouch. And that making, fitting, and adjusting a basic bodice and skirt template to make other patterns from is a whole project in itself.
Now that I’m staying at home, I finally have time to delve back into the world of my beloved patterns. I do not, however, have any money for fabric! (The crux of following one’s dream.) As I previously posted, I found this cute sheet for $1.50 at Goodwill and got a beige one that I bleached for the lining for $2.00.
I made a preliminary sketch and made the pattern off of that. Design school all over again. What I failed to do was make a muslin mock-up. My pattern making teacher would be so disappointed. I’m out of muslin and, did I mention, broke, so I though it would be okay to skip that “little detail.” No bueno.
In the end, though, it turned out pretty well. I absolutely love the double hem! I like the buttoned criss-cross back, too. I stumbled upon that by happy accident. (I LOVE happy accidents!) I determined the length of the straps on my dress form, which turned out to be totally different from what I needed. I, of course, sewed before fitting and ended up with too-short straps, which I found were very cute in an X. Thanks to my crafty ingenuity, (I come from a long line of rednecks) I realized the altered design could work if I used buttons, which happened to go very well with this style of dress.
I’m pleased with the finished product and the overall growth I feel I’m making on my journey back to being a designer. I hope this inspires my fellow crafters and seamstresses.
Here are some pictures of the various stages of this project:
Cutting out

Pattern Packet

Marking strap placement

Sewing bodice


All Pieces

Bodice Sizing

Bodice Closeup

Finished Hem closeup- Use

Here’s a picture of some strap experimentation that went on when I realized I cut them too short. I didn’t use it for this dress, but I really like this design for future dresses. What do you think?
Strap expiramenting

The Moral of Today’s Story?
Power through, and when you come to an obstacle, use it to your benefit!
Also, make a mock-up! Don’t make your Pattern Making teachers mad!

Happy Sewing!!

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