Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

The corset dress is everywhere!

I'm sure you've seen these dresses around.
The strapless or spaghetti-strap dress with corset/bustier/bra top shaping in the bodice, in cute cottony prints, rocked particularly often by Taylor Swift.  Seriously, I've seen her in them in like four magazines.  Here's just one example of her in a cute grey Rebecca Taylor corset dress:
From InStyle:
(That Rebecca Taylor dress was in that magazine twice, once there, once on Fergie on a little feature about footwear--the exact same dress!  And the pink one was mentioned again in my People Stylewatch that month as something Kirsten Bell would wear for summer!)
Taylor also wore the pink version of the $495 Rebecca Taylor while shopping at Anthropologie in NYC:
And here she is in a Christian Cota (designer I've never heard of) dress at the CMA music festival:
And she dresses up in a John Galliano version:
So I really want to call this the Taylor Swift Dress Post.  But it's not just Taylor; I've seen these cute (and some not so cute) dresses all over stores, magazines and online!
From Anthro:
From Victoria's Secret:
Mod Cloth:
Some sort of cheap-looking ones from Forever21:
LC Lauren Conrad at Kohl's even has one:
And this one by Leifsdottir:
Even at J.Crew!
Some are more attractive than others, of course, but that's just a small sampling of all the cute corset dresses--and there's quite a bit of variation on style details, actually!
It's a super fun style, but there are pretty much no patterns readily available that I've found (let me know if you know of one!).  I thought about using a bra pattern and drafting a bodice/midriff to add to it, but I also considered just seriously altering this 90's-ey Vogue special occasion pattern, Vogue 8288--I ended up just using the top 1/4 of it and giving it a natural waist and a waistband, and a gathered skirt.
I used a very cute summery blue plaid with a knobby texture that my mom saw at Goodwill and thought I would like.  Fabric there is so cheap!  I think it was $2.99 for the whole piece, which was three or four yards.  I imagined a couple different styles for it, but since it's just a soft lightweight cotton I could see it being sort of frumpy if I made it into something with sleeves or any looseness up top.  So, it was perfect for something like a corset-cut dress!

So fun and summery!


  1. SOOOOOO cute. I love it, way to go!

  2. http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v1174-products-11082.php?page_id=174

  3. I didn't even know about the corset dress, guess I'm out of the loop. But its very cute & yours is adorable! Great job!!


  4. When I saw this posts, I was thinking of the same pattern Bishojo posted.

  5. really cute! I love the fabric.

  6. oh i love it! I have seen these dresses everywhere, but can't get enough of them. They are so fun and summery indeed. Yours looks great :)

    Bre @ http://theredbungalow.blogspot.com

  7. Cuuuuute dress! I have problems with cups so strapless dresses are not my forte. Your's came out super cute though! I love the print, I'm definitely a huge plaid fan.

  8. Cute dress! I love the plaid. It's perfect for that style.

  9. Great job and a great variation from the original pattern. (Although am I the only one who is not wild about strapless stuff in general?)

  10. uhhhh-mazing!!! (as usual) Your stuff looks so tailored - you really know how to make something fit your body!

  11. I love them but not too sure I could pull it off. I do really like Macaron by Colette...I've seen a few people make it and it's lovely. Plus for me it has the coverage and less emphasis on the girls. http://www.colettepatterns.com/shop/macaron

    Love your version of the 'Taylor dress' and it fits lovely!!

  12. Those examples are gorgeous and your dress turned out great! There's actually a local corset-making class in Portland offered by PDX Seamsters right now for the super deluxe boned & laced up variety. My fave is the colorful VS dress with the underwire, so it may be something worth looking into...

  13. Thanks, folks! I actually thought seriously about adding thin spaghetti straps and may still do that. There's a bit of a bra showage issue in the center front with a higher-coverage strapless like I would probably wear with the dress, although I've also thought about adding bust pads!
    Bishojo, that Vogue pattern is super cute! Very similar in the front to what I ended up with, though; I'd like to find an actual curved-cup bra shape dress pattern. Hm, wondering if I could draft one...
    Miss Fitz, I have actually made several corsets over the years for civil war and other era reenactments (nerdy hobby, runs in the family =)) but this one I think needs the modern touch of bra underwires. The cups are a weird style on this one, though, so I'm not sure what would work...

  14. Anonymous6/21/2010

    This post is wonderful! It's so great to see how you edited and old pattern to make it current and on trend. Awesome!

  15. Now I think I'm going to have to make a dress like that! By the way, if you haven't heard of this blog,www.madebylex.com, I think you should check it out as she is also very into copying J-Crew and Anthro tees.

  16. Very cute. You are a talented lady. Thanks for dropping by Beach Vintage.

  17. i love this style of dress. Yours turned out great. The vogue 1174 pattern is kind of similar to this shape too.

  18. I love it! It looks great in that material..i really need a corset dress now :) x

  19. WAY Cute - not something I could ever pull off, but darling on you! Great work!

  20. Wow - your version is amazing. The fit is beautiful!!

  21. I am seriously so impressed.

  22. Anonymous6/22/2010

    I am just a random reader of your blog. Oh my! You can really sew and make pretty dresses.

    Have you heard of the coffee date dress pattern? This pattern is available online for free.

    This sounds silly. Would you be kind enough to do an in depth tutorial for this pattern? I have the pattern, but I don't know how to use it and don't know where to start either =(

  23. Thanks again!
    Anonymous, yes, I'm quite familiar with the Coffee Date dress but have never made it. Did you mean you'd like a sew-along tutorial for the Coffee Date dress or the strapless dress?
    Please email me if you have a request for Sewing Circle or another tutorial! =)

  24. Cynthia6/22/2010

    So, did you bone the bodice? Are there underwires? Where did you find underwires? Those are tough to find, right along with other bra findings....I'd love to know a source better than scavenging off old bras :-)

  25. Anonymous6/22/2010

    This turned out so cute. I love that you used thrift store fabric.

  26. wow! you never fail to amaze me! ehehhe. it seems like you jsust whip these cute things in minutes- you make it look so easy! ehehhehe. great job- the dress came out super cute! :)


  27. You're dress is so cute and classic! I don't think I could dare attempt one yet, but I love the dresses from Mod Cloth!

  28. It's a really fun, kind of old-fashioned (but still popular!) event that actually started maybe 10 or so many years ago, Now I think I'm going to have to make a dress like that.
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  29. Anonymous6/24/2010

    Ohhh I love this dress. You are making me want to learn enough about sewing to be able to even think about tackling something likes this.


  30. What an adorable dress this is. Very cute!

  31. this blog is amazing!!

  32. Anonymous9/17/2010

    This is wonderful! I love it! I read a post earlier, I'm new to your blog and catching up on all your wonderful projects, that someone else commented about how you make the bust lay so well. I wish that I could do that. Mine have always puckered. Never took a sewing class, self-teaching as I go.. Any advice??

  33. Anonymous11/14/2010

    I LOVE this. Can't wait to feel comfortable enough to alter patterns like this and make something similar!

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  34. Nice Dresses collection, your collection is amazing, all of your dresses is great i like these dresses there is another collection which i like on another website



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