A dress of my own invention

I got inspired for this dress over the last year seeing cute ruffled necklines on dresses for work and parties.  I've never seen a pattern for something like this, though, so I made one up!

I wanted to make a dress I could wear for work or a tasteful summer wedding or something, and a friend was giving away a good amount of 100% cotton navy blue twill sateen--good stuff.  I did a little mental designing, and put together two patterns and a variation on the bodice!!

I used one of my fave dress patterns, Butterick B4915, for the bodice, but I freehand cut the bodice totally differently--much wider straps and the back is solid rather than cross-over.  I used the midriff panel as-is... I love that thing, makes your waist look so small.
I used another fave pattern, Simplicity 2497, Cynthia Rowley, for the skirt, although instead of gathering it I put pleats in!  I love this skirt, since the front and back are the same--it is so simple.  I didn't give it pockets, like it calls for, which made it go together even faster!
I cut a bunch of 4"-or-so wide bias, folded it together, and ruffled it.  I pinned it carefully to the front, right sides together, and sandwiched it between the fashion fabric and lining.  It stands up just like I hoped it would!
Eee!!  So cute!  I love it, and plan to put a cardi over it for work, or a great necklace with it for a party.  What do you think?  How would you accessorize it for the office?  It helps that it's a decent length, I think, but how else could I make it look more professional?
Do any great pattern-combining and designing lately??

36 comments

  1. I stumbled on your blog not too long ago. I really like the way that this dress looks. Wonderful!

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  2. Beautiful dress - so neat, so fitted, classical and yet totally feminine!
    Great job - definitely one to make again :D

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  3. Love it. I am really impressed with your innovation using two existing patterns.

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  4. I think it's awesome! Can't wait until I can make up dresses too!

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  5. Ooh, I love it! It could definitely go to work or a wedding/party. My sister has a wedding to go to soon and she can't find a dress, maybe I should whip something with this kind of neckline for her... Now you've got me thinking!

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  6. CUTE! Nicely done.

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  7. I really LOVE that!!! It is so pretty and you are so talented.

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  8. Your dress is great. I love putting different patterns together. I almost bought the Cynthia Rowley pattern but opted for Simplicity 2337 (view A.)

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  9. you are so inspiring!! i absolutely love the ruffle!! you look absolutely beautiful!!

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  10. With all that lovely detailing you created in the neckline I would skip the necklace and use bangles a handbag and great shoes to dress it up. For more casual I think a simple 3/4 length sleeve shrug in a fun color would be cute...maybe with a cute sleeve ruff in the same style as the dress neckline.

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  11. I really love that dress. As you pointed out, it's so versatile. I love that Cynthia Rowley pattern too! I sewed it in a similar blue to the one on the envelope and wore it to a wedding. It was a hit.

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  12. It looks great! I love the ruffle! I think you just need some big earrings. Maybe a tiny diamond necklace or something. Do you have a blazer in a nice color to wear with it in the office? I think it's fine as is, but don't know the bare arm policy in your office... great job!

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  13. What a delightful result! It's really pretty. One of the rare instances a frankendress actually looks cohesive!

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  14. Your dress came out beautifully! I love the ruffles on the bodice, I have been seeing that on a lot of celebrities lately.

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  15. Wow, it's a beautiful dress, I love the ruffle detail!

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  16. Beautiful! You look great in it!

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  17. great dress! well done!

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  18. What a cute dress! Have been looking around your site and wow- you are a great seamstress! Do you alter things? I am trying to resize a t shirt that is several sizes too big and the shoulder area is still too big when I take the sides in. Just wondering if you have any great tip- think I probably am going to have to take the sleeve off :(

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  19. Wow, fits like a glove ! Such a lovely dress.

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  20. Love it! Such cute ruffles....Having the back solid looks really nice too (and more practical)

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  21. Question: I just purchased a ruffler foot for my sewing machine. I have a brother, pc-420. Anyway, what type of stitch to you use when you ruffle?

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  22. Wow Love love love it!

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  23. How wonderful. You´re so talented.

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  24. Aaww, thanks, ladies! It was fun to combine patterns.

    @Mary Ellen, yes, you will have to take the sleeves off and cut down the shoulder seam, and once you take in the sideseam as well the sleeve should still fit the armhole.

    @Christy, I don't have a ruffler; I just use the longest stitch I have and the tightest tension, and then I carefully pull the top thread tighter and arrange the fullness where I want it.

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  25. I LOVE it! :) This dress would look great with simple pearls, or with a more modern style necklace (something like http://www.target.com/Temple-Clair-Leaf-Pendant-Necklace/dp/B003TNT6DW/ref=sc_ri_1?ie=UTF8&node=13330751 or http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/180-7896257-0239646?asin=B003TNL7L6&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B003TNL7L6 or even http://www.target.com/Long-Coral-Charm-Pendant-Necklace/dp/B004FIWTFM/ref=br_1_4?ie=UTF8&id=Long%20Coral%20Charm%20Pendant%20Necklace&node=2235268011&searchSize=90&searchView=grid3&searchPage=1&sr=1-4&qid=1301179054&rh=&searchBinNameList=subjectbin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1 for a beach wedding!! :)

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  26. Oh, my word! This is fabulous! For work, I would wear a 3/4 inch sleeve cardi with a chunky bracelet or two and a great pare of earrings! Keep up the fantastic work! I love reading! :)

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  27. Oh my gosh, this is just beautiful! I want one! It seems like it would be fine for work - the straps come to the edges of your shoulders, knee length. I just scored some awesome white lace tights on sale at Target (http://www.target.com/Tights-Hosiery-Intimates-Clothing-Womens). That might be a good way to feel more covered up while adding some texture.

    I'm not exactly pattern combining yet, but I am making a circle skirt our of material I've salvaged from my daughter's outgrown clothes. Should be interesting....

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  28. Love it! Sam xox

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  29. I love this dress! The ruffled neckline gives it flair and I think it's a great colour to build on too if you want to accessorise with this season's brights such as tights, bangles, bags etc. It's a fab day-to-night dress too - you can really kick the look up a notch with the right accessories for evenings.

    I reckon it's a great dress for experimenting with make-up too. A slick of hot red or pink lipstick or nail varnish would also really vamp it up when you're not in the office.

    By the way, I love your blog! This is the first time I have posted although I have regular peaks at your posts when I'm looking for inspiration. You really do give me itchy sewing fingers!

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  30. Wow, this is beautiful! I love it!!

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  31. Oooh, thanks, ladies, and thanks for the great ideas.

    Thanks for your comments--first time or not! I soooo appreciate them!

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  32. Cute! Looks totally work worthy to me. Maybe some tights and something to cover your arms. Turned out great!

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  33. I love pattern combining and innovating, too! And adding ruffles has become one of my favorite things to do. I took a princess seam sleeveless pattern and turned it into a ridiculous pintucked and ruffled affair. Not too long ago I took a shirt pattern and turned it into a ruffled flannel shirt dress -- it makes me feel like Angela Chase!

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  34. So beautiful! What a lovely job you did!

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