Wowza! A very red dress.

Remember my dilemma about designing a bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding?  She wanted all her bridesmaids in RED dresses, doesn't matter what style, and the other four chose all very different dresses.  I didn't know what to do, there were so many acceptable possibilities!  You all had SO many great ideas; it was really awesome to hear your suggestions and you really inspired me to think outside the (well, my design) box!

So many great ideas, though, that it was hard to combine them all.  Some of you said strapless might be good since it is different than the others and it is very bridesmaid-ey.  That encouragement helped me look around some more.  While sitting with my friend, the bride, we found this J.Crew dress that she thought was really cute, the Leah dress:
And I figured, if she likes it there, she'd probably like it if I wore something similar!

So I pulled out my ol' fave McCall's pattern and cut out a modified front piece to allow for the pleats.

You can kinda see here what I did.  This is the inside view.  I pressed all the pleats in place so the size of the outside matched the lining (it's all the same cotton sateen, lining and outside), sewed the pleats down, and treated it like a regular outside.

Then I assembled it as usual!  I didn't use a pattern for the skirt; I debated a full or slimmer skirt and ended up doing the tulip-ey style I like--wider at the top, pleated, and a little narrower at the knees.  I just used the width of the fabric and tapered to the bottom.

The skirt was maybe a little too full at the top, but hey--it makes me look like I have hips!

I also gave it the narrow waistband of the J.Crew original.  I never would have thought to use such a narrow piece, but it looks cute!
Back and side views....

Here is is up close.  It looks like a heart!  This dress will definitely be good some Valentine's Day.

After my friend's wedding, I'm thinking of adding straps or halter straps or something.  I have more fabric.  It might make it a little less racy.  Wowee, it is a bright color!

Thoughts for modifications after the wedding to make it more wearable?

Update: Here it is in action!

40 comments

  1. That is STUNNING! I love the sweetheart neckline, and all the details are perfect. You look beautiful! Well done!!

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  2. And leave it to me to comment without reading the entire post first...if you really wanted to make it less racy (although I think it looks perfect on you the way it is), you could try some sort of removable illusion jacket, so it covers without taking away from that perfectly executed sweetheart neckline. Examples:
    http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/b/0/0/52/3/AAAAC4XUWfAAAAAAAFI0zA.jpg?v=1244505773000
    http://images.dressale.com/images/large/4/81294.jpg
    http://images.saksfifthavenue.com/images/products/04/510/2097/0451020975968/0451020975968R_300x400.jpg

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  3. This is great! I've had that pattern in my stash forever and this totally makes me what to bust it out. I love the heart bodice. I like the halter idea too, though I don't think it's that racy. Cardigans can tame all kinds of dresses if you want to go that route as well. :)

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  4. Wow! Looks fabulous!!
    I love the dress the way it is no changes after the wedding!! You could add a vintage chunky necklace and some pretty flats for brunch with the girls or sexy heals and a thin gold necklace for date night!!
    xx
    callie

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  5. wowza! it's so pretty!

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  6. Beautiful! I am slowly working on being able to make modifications to patterns. There are just so many options!
    I wish I could find the pattern you used for the bodice somewhere. It's out of print, of course!

    While I'm here, do you have any suggestions for making a dress with an overlay?

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  7. Beautiful! I don't know how you pump out dresses this quickly . . . you're amazing!

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  8. Wowza indeed! You look fantastic, I wouldn't change a thing!!!

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  9. Wow! So pretty and the color suits you very well. You are one talented lady!

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  10. I love the nude shoes! Who makes them?!

    xo, tasha
    twenty-something blog

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  11. Wow! It's stunning! Amazing work with those pleats and making the bodice look so perfectly heart-shaped. This dress would also look lovely worn on top of a black and white stripey t-shirt.

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  12. Holy cow, that's fab! Great job! I don't think it's too racy at all!

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  13. I love sweetheart necklines. They're so flattering. I'm interested in how you knew what shape to cut the front bodice pattern. How did you modify it for the pleats? It looks great. Maybe some wider straps in red lace? That way it adds a little more coverage without taking away from the sexiness.

    Meg
    http://megshandmadelife.blogspot.com

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  14. Another great dress. You are very good at interpreting from existing designs.

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  15. Gorgeous! I don't think it is racy at all. Very nice fit, good coverage. If you'd feel more comfortable with something added, consider organza halter ties, that you can let flow down the back.

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  16. This is lovely, I wouldn't change a thing!

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  17. Super cute! I think that is my favourite of your sewing projects so far!

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  18. W O W !! I'm sure there will be a lot of wolf whistles following you in that dress

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  19. What a dress! You´re so clever.

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  20. Beautiful! I think you should do a tutorial on how to modify such a pattern to include pleats cause I'm a little intimidated but LOVE the look! :) What'd'ya think?

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  21. It's perfect the way it is!!! Don't change it... maybe tone it down with accessories and a cardigan. I love it!!

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  22. Thats amazing, I love it!

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  23. wow what a lovely dress I love the pleat's. the little waist band looks adorable too. I think It looks lovey as it is too with out adding straps!

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  24. Anonymous7/17/2011

    beautiful!!

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  25. Wow, it looks amazing! If you wanted to cover up more you could always go for the sheer-shouldered look where the sleeves and neckline are made of sheer fabric or mesh and attached to the dress (more subtle than wearing a shirt underneath, very vintage look I <3). great job!

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  26. Thanks, everyone!!
    Okay, sounds like I shouldn't add anything to it after the wedding ;). It is definitely versatile and I will have fun accessorizing it after!

    @Natasha, the shoes are Guess, got them at Marshall's on clearance for $20. Sweet.

    @Allison, what do you mean by overlay? There may be patterns that have the look you want, just make sure you get the right fabrics.

    I would love to do a tutorial sometime, but it'll have to wait till after my wedding next month!

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  27. Great job! This looks exactly like the J. Crew dress. I adore this color. It looks really great on you.

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  28. wowza indeed! That looks great on you! Great job!

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  29. Beautiful dress, you´re very talented! I just came across your blog via a friend´s blog and I´m inspired to do some sewing. Great work!

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  30. This dress is beautiful! I want that McCall's pattern you always use. I might go trolling around the internet to find it...

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  31. You have done a great job with the dress. I made something very similar for a wedding I went to last week, except I have already put the straps on it. Also, my dress was a bright blue and I wore it with a white belt.

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  32. Anonymous7/19/2011

    wow, that dress is great, and you look very beautiful in it! I think you could leave it as is and wear it with a blazer. Otherwise a halter strap might work, but I do really love it as is! Good luck on the wedding details, can't wait to see it all. =)

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  33. Beautiful! You look fantastic! Maybe don't modify it at all and just wear a cute jacket over it. This is great!

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  34. you are way too talented for your own good. well, it seems to be mostly for your good, but that saying just came to mind. dress looks awesome.

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  35. This is so gorgeous!

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  36. Anonymous1/05/2012

    wow, you can sew girl.

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