Behind the Seams: The “Giddy with Polka Dots” Dress

I was absolutely thrilled when I learnt about this week’s TSW theme “Imitation is the Sincerest form of Flattery” and couldn’t wait to search my etsy favourites for a project to recreate. My TSW post can be found here.

With the busy Lunar New Year preparations, I decided to select a project which was not too difficult, something I could hopefully modify from a sewing pattern I have and finish quickly. I spent some time shortlisting the garments and eventually came up with these.

The shortlist

I love the peplum and back opening on this 80s dress but didn’t really have a suitable pattern to work with for the bodice though I could redo the peplum skirt from the Sunny Day dress. I even considered recreating the second grey ruffles dress with the Selfish seamstress’ Coffee Date dress pattern and simply adding sleeves to it. And the vintage pink dress with rose was just calling out to me but I’m sure I could sew that when I have more time on my hands.



Eventually, I decided to recreate MichelleTan’s Renee 1950s Retro Dress (picture above). If you have been following my blog for sometime, you’d have probably heard about MichelleTan’s shop from my Favorite Etsy Finds post many moons ago. Why this dress?

It is such an adorable dress isn’t it and I have a pattern I could use to recreate this dress by adding a self drafted collar. The pattern used was View A from Simplicity 2591 Threads Magazine Collection and I thought it would be a doable project given the short amount of time I have. What’s more I have had this sewing pattern for months now and couldn’t wait to try it. Yes, besides stash busting, I have lots of sewing patterns to start utilizing!

The Gallery

Here’s my humble knock off version finished with ric rac trim.

Pattern Review

Simplicity 2591 Threads Magazine Collection is a dream to work with. The instructions are simple to follow and very clear. Usually I do have to take in the seams to create a better fit for the dresses I’ve made. This sewing pattern is one of the few which I didn’t have to make any adjustments. It fitted really well. I also adore the hidden pockets behind the front panel’s curve. Most of all, I heart the retro vibe I am getting from the dress and am really looking forward to wearing it later this week 🙂

As I drafted the asymmetrical collar for the dress, I didn’t have to sew the facings.

I will definitely recommend View A which is the dress I’ve made from this pattern and am very keen to make another version with it.

Drafting the collar

* Sorry that the blue fabric pen I used is so light in color. I’ll use the pink one for better clarity next time*

Step 1: Tracing the front and back necklines onto a paper

Step 2: Draft the desired collar shape outside of it. In this case asymmetrical collars

Step 3: Cut and pin the draft onto the dress

Step 4: Fold in the “bulky”/ extra bits. Pin onto the fabric and add seam allowance only to the bottom/ outer seams but not the neckline seam.

Step 5: Cut the fabric and pin to dress again to ascertain that they are fine. We’re ready to sew!

I used a light weight interfacing for the collar as I didn’t want it to be too stiff but as an after thought I wished I’d used a heavier interfacing as it seems to have a mind of its own being so light. Nonetheless, I am happy with my first attempt to draft an asymmetrical collar.

This week, my photo shoot ended up indoors once again. We have been having this kind of weather due to monsoon. And there I was looking forward to Spring 😛 (Photo was taken at 12 noon and we experienced two days of non-stop rainfall!) I hope you are experiencing better weather over there:)

Oh!  And yes, I finally trimmed my hair, all for the Lunar New Year celebrations this Thursday and Friday. This week I also completed 2 shirts, one for daddy and one for my lil’ prince, I’ll snap some photos when they wear the shirts this new year so you can see them:)

Happy Year of the Rabbit my sewing comrades!


Fall 2010 Inspiration

I have always enjoyed reading magazines. My focus was always content. Since I started sewing for myself in May, I am no longer seeing fashion magazines the same way.  I absolutely need my phone next to me so I can snap away at all the little details on images that inspire me. Here are some that wowed me.

These cute scallop edge pockets on this Miu Miu dress on the magazine cover.

or this beautiful and elegant lace dress.

It is such a basic shift dress. What a difference fabric choice and added bow make!

Then, there were other images which led me to check out full collections at Like many women out there, I am totally in love with the Louis Vuitton Fall RTW 2010 Collection especially these 50s inspired dresses with corset tops, wide shoulder straps and circle skirts. The pointy heels, ponytails, skinny belts or ribbons completed the look. It has got to be my favorite collection this fall and the autumn hues are awesome!

Sophia from iroiro, had also expressed her adoration for this collection on her blog. Here are some sewing patterns with great potential which I’ll like to highlight for the sake of anyone, like us, who love to sew and love the look.

First up, Vogue 8288 which Suzannah from Adventure in Dressmaking used for making this super sweet corset dress.

As Sophia highlighted to me, there’s also Vogue 1174. When I saw the photo, I remembered Tasia’s (Sewaholic) stunning dress.

For the long circle skirt, there is a tutorial here and an alternative is the panel skirt. You can find a brief tutorial by Un Chic Petit.

There is another collection that rocks in a different way. See the mix of mesh fabric over cut outs on these dresses in Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2010 Collection? Love them! I thought the black and white plaid dress was magnificent and love love love that crazy plaid print! Is it even plaid when laid flat I wonder?

This vintage sewing pattern of a similar babydoll design is from SewingwithMissDandy. It’s McCall’s 3832. The neckline has to be raised though for the cut out to be above the bust.

How adorable are these dresses with 50s vibes from the Prada Fall 2010 Collection?  The ruffles on the upper bodice works wonders for body proportions. However, I couldn’t help thinking if the bare midriff was necessary. What do you think?

I thought Vintage McCalls 4120 is not only perfect for modifications (In fact most 50s dress patterns with a round circle skirt will probably do) but I liked this one in particular cos it contains pattern pieces to create all those fabulous retro necklines! It’s available at Tricotgirl.

Do you have a favorite dress? Are you already working on a sewing project similar to these?

This is my second runway cum vintage pattern related post since Resort 2011: Retro Inspiration. I hope the images and patterns inspire you.  As for me, I need to think about how to adapt the vintage and new patterns I have or search for pdf ones online to recreate the look. The problem is the shipping cost to where I am. It is almost always higher than the pattern cost.

Did someone say Holiday Wardrobe Project? Yes, I am still working on that. Aren’t we ladies created to be fantastic at multi-tasking? Now, back to reading the magazine’s content. Have a great weekend my sewing comrades!

Photos source: Elle Singapore and

Retro Hot Pink Dress: Work in Progress

I’m making a hot pink dress from Butterick B5032, a vintage sewing pattern. The dress is almost complete except that I have run out of zippers! Major bummer! Anyway, here’s a preview of it during my fitting. I also made a belt from a hot pink fabric with white polka dots. I think it’s cute but I actually like the dress without a belt too. Will show both versions when it’s done. Gotta go pick up my prince from school. Have a blessed day!