Birthday dress

Close to my birthday I decided a new dress to wear would be a great idea. I wear dresses a lot in the summer, but have very few winter ones

My thoughts were – long sleeves for warmth, not evening wear and importantly to try to use fabric and a pattern from my stash.
Looking on lone there seem to be some definite trends. Midi length dresses are everywhere. And three styles seem to dominate – wrap, shirt dresses and dresses with a gathered peplum / frill. Sleeves also remain a point of interest.

Pinterest board RTW dresses

I went through my pattern stash first . My gut feel was that a fitted shirt dress would take a little too long to make ( all those button holes) . I had a number of wrap dress patterns, mostly for jersey fabrics. I had a number of sleeve options on various patterns but no dresses with a gathered frill ( although I knew this would not be a difficult hack)

A quick look at the fabric stash and I settled on a medium weight fabric. I have no idea what it is! It is soft , with drape and is woven. I think I bought it in the late 80s, or may have acquired it from my Mum! I liked the autumnal colours and it felt right for my project. This of course knocked out the jersey wrap dress option.

Based on fabric ( woven) and the RTW styles , here is the sketch of the dress I decided to try to create

The design of the dress is based on New Look K6723 pattern – with a number of modifications / hacks. I have kept the princess seam bodice much as the original pattern making fit adjustments. These included grading the waist up a little, reducing the bodice length and adding two darts into the back bodice neckline to reduce gape. I also decided not to line the bodice, so I cut a neck facing to finish the neckline.


The sleeves were modified to increase their width and to add a frill and elasticated cuff.


I used the width of New Look 6524 as a guideline for the sleeve fullness as I had used this sleeve before when hacking a top and had been pleased with the results. No changes were made to the sleeve head ensuring that it still fitted well into the bodice armhole.

The skirt had two modifications. Firstly I added pockets using the pattern pieces from the Moneta pattern. Secondly I added the deep frill to the bottom of the skirt ensuring the skirt would be a midi length. I looked at pictures of dresses and worked out roughly where the top of the skirt frill fell on the models. I then adjusted the length of all skirt pattern pieces to be this plus seam allowance. I measured around the new bottom of the pattern piece and calculated what length the frill piece needed to be to give a circumference of approximately 1.5 times to allow for gathers and the required depth to allow for a seam allowance onto the skirt plus a hem.

And here is the finished dress

I wore it out to a beautiful local hotel for afternoon tea( a birthday present)

Afternoon tea – with scones of course

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