DIY dress, inspired by a cheap dress

A couple of days ago  this dress showed up on my Facebook stream.
It's from one a grown up version of those Chinese websites that show really inexpensive clothing for women. I was smitten with the dress. I loved the  slightly odd colors. I adored the shape. I visited the site and looked at the image a few times. 

Then every website I visited showed ads featuring this dress. My Facebook feed included images of the dress. I started thinking about the dress a lot...a whole lot.  I suppose that if I didn't sew I would have been forced by the sheer power of suggestion to shell out the $99 and buy the dress.

Instead I thought about the dress and figured out the basic shape. I recognized that this is essentially a rounded variation of the wide-side dresses that I keep making, mostly because I am a wide-sided girl. I had a length of fabric in a similarly weird color that my daughter had gotten as a freebie for me at one of her previous jobs.

I am going to pretend for the purpose of this blog that I first drafted the dress on paper and then cut into fabric once I had laboriously marked down  all of my measurements. I assume that all of you know me well enough to know that that isn't really true. but it is easier to visualize what I did if I show you the schematic for the dress before I show you photos of the finished dress.

The fabric, which was in this case a sheer-ish brown cotton gauze with a flocked paisley design was folded in 1/4. I took advantage of the fold and did not cut a shoulder seam. The bodice is cut close to the body and then at waist-level I cut a big curve that turned in towards the hem. The hem is cut higher in the center and longer at the sides.

I sewed up the side seams, hemmed the bottom and the sleeves and then bound the neckline with a bias strip.

The dress was fairly sheer so I made a simple slip out of a patterned mesh knit to wear underneath.
It's a simple one seamed slip. I edged the neckline and upper edge of the slip with a fold of the mesh and then make spaghetti straps out of a strip of the mesh cut so there was no stretch along the length of the strap.

So here is the completed dress.

The itch of wanting to own the dress was scratched.

I know the fabric is a bit odd. I can't decide if it looks old and moldy or is beautiful. I assume that all of the flocking will fall off in the wash.
The dress is cool, perfect for summer wear. I know the color is a bit weird and it's exactly what I like about it. 

My cost in actual sewing time was about 30 minutes. My cost in fabric was just the mesh for the slip which if I remember correctly cost $1 per yard. I used probably 3/4 of a yard. You can do the math.


  1. Wonderful! Love the colour/distressed look of the fabric. Great colour for you.
    This shape - though less kids heart top to the side curves - is what I did with the skirt portion of my current gown I am working on.
    I have put it in the Pattern Review Natural fibres contest as it is (posh) silk.

  2. Meant to say that seeing yours on you makes me want to try it for myself! Less shapeless lagen-look to it but with the similar free flow skirt.


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