This dress might be a little too sweet.

As I finished this dress, I realized... it might be a little too sweet, in a cutesy and girly way.  But let me tell you the story.

I bought the Lisette print cotton lawn (relatively new line at JoAnn) half off when it was on clearance, and I love the prints in the line but really liked how this one was such a lightweight, finer quality of cotton, like batiste.  Not at all scratchy or thick like quilter's cotton, and nothing like the cute print twills they also have of the Lisette brand.  They have some great colors and ikat-ey prints!

So because it was lighter and finer than some of my usual dress fabrics (I often go for more substantial!), I envisioned it with some gathers somewhere on the bodice.  I kind of imagined a vintage-feel, Sookie Stackhouse-ey sweet bodice, I guess not unlike a summery Zooey Deschanel dress.  In fact, we've talked before about a cute Sookie dress on Sewing Circle.  See what I mean, with the gathers?

And I had a pattern in mind.  Out of context, it's totally different, but I think of this pattern as having sort of a vintage, 50's-ey shape, with the flattering scooped midriff panel under the bust.  I had McCall's M6162, which is now out of print, but you can still find online, and used it but with gathers instead of the darts!

So it's not a whole ton of gathering--I guess I could have added at the center front and done more--but it's cute if you notice it.

Also, I thought this needed some contrast.  So I added white piping at the curved under-bust seam, and--here's the cutesy part--white scalloped crocheted lace at the neckline.  How cute, right?

Oh!  Another cute touch--the little slightly puffed sleeves I added, drafted from another dress pattern.  Cute on top of cute!  (What was I thinking?!!?)

Okay, so tell me. Should grown women not walk around in such girly-sweet dresses, or can I pull it off??  I know Zooey can, and I bet Taylor Swift, too, and fictional characters in the vampire-ridden South, but... can I?




And if I can pull it off for the next couple of years, what should I wear with it? ;)

57 comments

  1. Personally I think its darling! It is really cute, but gosh, its also young and fancy free. Maybe if you wore it with say a modern cut white or navy blue? belt it might give it just the right amount of maturity to go with something that looks kind of young. But its too cute to just throw out! I totally think you can get it to work for you, just style it with the right accessories and you're good to go! Love it!
    xoxo, Sunni

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  2. I think this is my favorite thing that you've ever shown on this blog. Definitely wear it.

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  3. YES
    I love what you did with all the details! See this is the reason I want to learn to sew
    Xx
    Callie

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  4. I think its really great. It is sweet, but with the right accessories it would be even better. I like the idea of maybe a thick black belt, or something a little edgy. It's beautiful, no way you should stop wearing it!

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  5. I think the cap sleeves make it more 'grown-up' and it's a lovely length. Great job!

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  6. I think it looks nice on you. Do your hair in a very "strict" way and wear classy high heels. That way, you would look more grown up.

    Have a nice day!

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  7. You can definitely pull it off. Maybe if you want to break the "sweetness" use some edgier accessories, like a leather belt as mentioned in another comment, or a short leather jacket. I would embrace the cuteness though and wear it with a cropped cardigan and oversized colourful contrasting pearls.

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  8. Oh honey, you're pulling it off. I love a sweet little dress. Just do a nice lipstick and grownup shoes and you'll be fine. But I similarly have added a puffy sleeve to a dress that already had a lot going on and to this day feel very weird about it....

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  9. OH, I Think its cute!!! idk if u have ever been on skunkboycreatures.blogspot.com but it looks exactly like something ms katie would wear!!

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  10. i LOVE this. no such thing as too sweet...i would totally wear this dress everywhere.

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  11. That is adorable!!!!

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  12. I love it! It looks adorable as is, and you could accessorize like the other comments say.

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  13. Anonymous5/30/2012

    I think it is great on it's own! :)

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  14. i want the dress for my own, love it ;)

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  15. A+++!!! I love it! So cute! I would just add some cute pearls and vintage it up.... :) I would too where this everywhere!

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  16. It is adorable. No woman is ever "too young" to wear something that fits well and looks classy -- and that dress is both (though at my age, I'd bring the hem at JUST brushing the knees). Accessorize with pearl studs and heels -- but not white; white pumps always call attention to the feet, and that's the wrong focal point. Something to match the dress or blend with the leg to lengthen the appearance thereof. Two thumbs up on terrific work!

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  17. this is super cute! *u* ahh i want time to try out sewing!
    i don't think there's anything wrong with a grown woman wearing a cutesy dress like that, so long as it feels good! and i think it would look pretty good with a simple pair of heels and a necklace! (:

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  18. It's adorable and you can totally rock it. Add some sweet ballet flats with a bow on it, or some Fluevog heels with a vintage look and you're set. Love it!

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  19. Not *too* cutesy, and you are young enough to pull it off. Classy ballet flats or pumps to fancy it up. A 3/4 length sleeve navy cardigan would work great for cool days, with navy ballet flats.

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  20. Anonymous5/30/2012

    I don't think it's too sweet, i think it's a colorful summer dress that you're totally pulling off! wear it with a denim jacket to make it a little more casual. I'm not sure if I would belt it as it might creat too strong of a line and the empire line is already accentuated by the piping...But in all honnesty, I think the dress is great on its own, it has a little retro vibe that you can also play with...

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  21. Haha the "vampire ridden south". I think you can totally pull it off! It's a really pretty dress, and sometimes you wake up and feel just that amount of sweet that that dress gives. I think to "woman" it up a bit I'd wear my hair down in curls- the ponytail might remind me of the playground. I think if you put a light jean vest over it it'll tone it down a bit too.

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  22. This is my new favorite!! Wear with heels (NOT ballet flats) to take off some of the sugar

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  23. I'm reading this as I take a break from cutting out a tank in this very same fabric-- funny!!! It's such a nice weight, and I loved the batik-y look of it. I've had it stashed since last summer and had the hardest time deciding what to make! I really like your dress-- the piping under the bust and the trim at the neck are really nice touches!

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  24. I love it :) I would avoid black belts to keep it from looking Minnie Mouse, go with brown or another color. Definetly envision this with some heels, maybe even trying some super strappy brown sandal like heels, and a cardigan would be great or even a denim jacket.

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  25. Its gorgeous. If you are worried about it looking too pretty try wearing it with some combat boots or something like that, to contrast the girlyness and kind of tone it down. But I love that fabric! :) x

    www.niamh-makes-things.blogspot.co.uk

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  26. I think we should be allowed to make and wear whatever types of outfits we like. I love ruffles and lace with lots of flounce, however, that's not in style or available off the rack so I bought a pattern to make myself what I want. And I plan to wear it whether anyone else likes it or not. HA! Take that fashion designers!

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  27. Do a total Alexa Chung on that dress and add some accessories that either "bad" it up (like a leather jacket, chunky bangles, etc) or take the ponytail out and make it grown-up sexy :) Maybe loose curls and a slightly smoky eye with black tights and a black bag? I think it's a great dress!

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  28. I am in love with that dress and that fabric! Not too sweet at all! It may be my favorite one you've created!

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  29. I love the shape of the dress - it fits you perfectly! Great tailoring job. If you're really worried about the cutsey-ness, I would take off the lace at the neck and the puffed sleeves. Bias bind the armholes to make it sleeveless. Then you can accessorize it with some edgy pieces and it will totally work.

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  30. I love the shape of the dress - it fits you perfectly! Great tailoring job. If you're really worried about the cutsey-ness, I would take off the lace at the neck and the puffed sleeves. Bias bind the armholes to make it sleeveless. Then you can accessorize it with some edgy pieces and it will totally work.

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  31. It's gorgeous! I'd put with with a black leather moto jacket and some ankle motorcycle boots - but then I like contrasts like that.

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  32. I really like the neck trim, its the bustline contrast I'm less than awed by - the contrast piping draws attention there in an awkward kind of way, like your boobs are sitting on a shelf lol. I love the dress though, I don't think it's too "cute" at all I think it looks vintage awesome, especially with your red lips!

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  33. This is my favorite so far! I love this. No, not too sweet. Wear it with heels and red lipstick like you are and it will be fab. You could even wear those stockings that have the line in the back. That will zap any sweetness out!

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  34. I adore it!! But I'd not wear your hair up with it. Maybe some retro looking curls, too? Or a half-up half-down look?

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  35. You can totally pull it off, that dress is so pretty!

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  36. I agree w/ Courtney... the line under the bust draws my eye right there, and kinda tips it over the cutesy edge. maybe if you made it a v-neck or even a boat neck or something (even with the lace trim), it might add some years to it. great fit and length though! love the idea of retro hair too :)

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  37. BEST DRESS EVER. :)

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  38. I would wear it... I can see how it might not be for everybody, but why the heck not?

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  39. it's super!! as a wearer of 50's style (and 50's vintage) dresses myself, i'd pair to with a skinny belt, pointy toed flats, stacked bangles or a cuff, hair down and some smokey eye (not vamp, more like leigh lezark/alexa chung to edge it up a bit or rock it zooey style with wavy hair, pretty makeup (eyes and lips) and a pair of nude heels (or a contrasting color) and cardi over it. it's pretty versatile looking and i think will be smashing for summer/fall!

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  40. Leah R5/30/2012

    i think you can totally pull it off! to me, the dress isn't cutesy, but more 'ladies who lunch' (totally a real style....). it looks very pulled together and vintage, so i say go for it!
    i like the idea of wearing it with nude pumps...or navy. that'd also look great!

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  41. I think it's adorable! (But then again, I'm totally a fan of cute-sy things) Great job! :-)

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  42. I loves this. I only ever loved this piece and your striped jacket. This looks very professional, I love the piping and the lace collar. Very cute, but not overly sweet. Reminds me of Kenley from Project Runway!

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  43. I'd pair it with some sick shoes, maybe even curl your hair to make it more tousled. I like this look, very Zooey. And always red lips with this look. Gotta get me some of this fabric!

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  44. Stephanie5/30/2012

    I think you might want to try shortening it. As much as you can without being self-conscious about sitting. Then maybe wear it with some funky flat sandals, loose hair, and gold jewelry.

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  45. This is DARLING! Do not worry. You look lovely. I give this a big thumbs up. WEAR IT!!!!! This is one of my favorite things you have shown us.

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  46. I think if you accessorize with black, like a clutch purse and maybe a belt, it will kind of cut the cute a little. On the other hand some vintage white pearls like a few people suggested would look fabulous, too. Even a little lacy white shrug would change the vibe somewhat. It is a totally cute dress! Nice job! Wear it!

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  47. Hey! Great post!

    If you want we can follow each other!!

    Check out my blog :)

    http://alovelystyle.blogspot.com.es/

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  48. Hey Suzannah the dress is super cute! And I think you can definitely pull it off on its on! You have kind of a natural/vintagey beauty like Zooey Deschanel, so the dress looks amazing on you :) Especially with the red lipstick!! :D

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  49. It's beautiful! You can definitely wear it, it isn't too cutesy at all. Amazing print and gorgeous cut!

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  50. You are most definitely young and sassy enough to pull off that little beauty. Pony tail is the right choice for your hair. nice work, such a sweet dress!

    I love the lisette sateen for baby blankets. I recently made a few with the aqua dots sateen on one side and some minky dot on the other. I bound it with lisette little aqua squares and it turned out beautifully. The Sateen makes the blanket feel silky soft to the touch and lays so nicely. (also made matching lovie, hat, pacifier leashes and burp clothes and the set is so handsome in the blues, aquas and greens)

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  51. WOW, you guys, so many sweet and awesome comments!! Thanks!!

    I love some of your outfit ideas; would love to take it a little edgier. I will not be changing the sleeves or neckline, because that would be a big pain and I sort of designed it for the current shape and am trying to make myself comfortable with it!

    I do def need to try a new hairstyle with it! ;)

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  52. It is perfectly fitted on you and very flattering. I will admit that my first thought was it reminded me of Minnie Mouse, but remember she has looked fabulous for years!!! I say wear it with accessories other than pearls and you'll look awesome!

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  53. It is really sweet and I def think you can pull it off. If you did get fed up with the cuteness then you could just lower the neckline a little and that would reduce it but I think it is fab as is!

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  54. Oh, don't be silly...of course you can wear the dress! It's completely lovely and I completely love it! Looks really nice on you. And if you think it looks "too cute", you can always pair it with some black cardigan(or another black/dark top) and a bit heavier shoes.

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  55. Anonymous6/03/2012

    so cute! a classy blazer, heels and maybe a belt would be great to contrast the cuteness! its adorable! <3

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  56. I love it too!!! I don't know where you live but you could totally pull it off in some young, urban setting!!! (I'm in Nashville and you could totally wear it here!)
    I would put a cute belt and necklace with it!!! (Maybe a bright blue/turquoise?)

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  57. Anonymous6/14/2012

    remove the lace

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