the pink dress pattern

I don’t have many pictures of the original dress. It was a NEON pink seersucker that I bought nearly a decade ago. It was Isaac Mizrahi from Target, and was easily the most flattering thing I owned.

The problem was that it was NEON pink seersucker. They type of fabric you can only wear in the summer, and can only get away with wearing a few times until you become known as that person who only wears NEON pink. (Am I the only one who worries about being known for wearing pink? That’s such a specific, yet recurring, wardrobe fear of mine.)


Here it is, with a jacket, back in 2011. That was probably the last time I wore it, because a few months later…


…this happened. DRESS CARNAGE!

I’d never dis-assembled a dress before, and haven’t since (though a few favorite silhouettes are up for consideration). It was messy and tedious. I didn’t take good notes about the construction – something I realized later would have been useful.

But, I ripped the dress into multiple pieces, and used those pieces as a pattern.


I was, apparently, smart enough to mark all of the darts with a permanent marker before ripping them out. All of the seams were serged, so I didn’t have much of a seam allowance to work with. I drew “alterations” onto the new fabric before cutting – more on that in a bit.

My pink dress carnage turned into this…


…which I was so proud of, I forced a friend to take some photos for me. (Thanks, Barrie!)


No, I don’t know why I added a ribbon belt. Let’s just enjoy the pictures!


(Quirky editing added by me, so that the torrent of instagram about to hit won’t be as alarming.)

So, that was 2011. Apparently I liked that dress, because I wore it ALL THE TIME.

Untitled Mixing stripes and polka dots. Insanity!
Hair update! Also wearing argyle socks. (Under boots.)
Dress and cardigan season! Confession: the crazier my hair gets, the more I like it. #coddingtoneffect

Little known fact – the lining of this dress is lime green, and was made out of an old bed sheet.

The only thing I didn’t love about this dress is how it hugs the belly in a way that is vaguely maternity but is more like “I have the smooshy belly of a grown woman, not a teenager or a supermodel, sheesh, American health/beauty standards, GET OFF MY BACK!”

But, to avoid yelling at America more than necessary, I cut the second version to have a slightly fuller skirt.

I can only imagine that this was done shortly after making the first dress, but I can’t remember. For some reason, this dress was nearly finished – only the straps to be sewn and the skirt to be hemmed – and hidden from sight and memory until…


…I found it! And finished it! And wore it the very next day. (With another belt. Apparently belts are the way I break in new sewing projects?)

Important lunch meeting today! Good thing I wore something cute. Continuing this week's theme of dresses made by me.

I can guess at why this dress was unceremoniously stashed for a year. First, the fit is VERY snug! Apparently my method of vaguely tracing outside the lines of the original dress fabric isn’t precise OR easily reproduced! It’s possible that I finished the zipper, tried it on, and realized it didn’t fit comfortably, so I set it aside for another season, when it might fit.

The second reason is that there is a pucker along the waist seam, which meant I didn’t line up the bodice and skirt well before stitching. I could see how, in a fit of perfectionism, I’d have wanted to rip that apart and fix it.

Hmmm…let’s see…pink dress, blue polka dress, green dress…I’m only halfway through this report, so it’s probably best if we take a break.

I’ll end with this version, which I conveniently forgot until I was browsing through old photos:


The idea was to have a reversible dress with an elastic waistband sewn in between the two layers. Something like this, perhaps. Let’s just say it didn’t work out, and not get into too much detail.

[the story continues here]

7 thoughts on “the pink dress pattern

  1. Pingback: the pink dress pattern, part 2 | these are the thoughts that fall out of my head

  2. Pingback: Days 26-29 of Me Made May | Maggie Makes It Better

  3. Pingback: Days 1-7 of Me Made May 2015 | Maggie Makes It Better

  4. Pingback: Days 15-21 of Me Made May | Maggie Makes It Better

  5. I totally know what you mean about being That Girl Who Wears Neon. I have a couple of dresses made out of beautiful large-scale tropical print fabrics, but I only wear them once or twice a season because I’m afraid of being That Girl Who Wears Giant Foliage.

    By the way, what went wrong with the reversible elastic waist version? I’ve also been thinking about making something like that (like the Pinterest one) and want to learn from your mistakes :)

  6. Hmmm…it’s been a while, so I might not remember completely, but I think the problem was that I cut the pieces too narrow – by the time I stitched it all together, the skirt(s) barely skimmed my hips so eleastic was unnecessary.

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