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!

Work in progress: Silk party dress

I wanted to share this one with you as it is now... wearable, "finished," but possibly in need of some more trim or accessorizing!
My cousin is getting married late next month in sunny Florida, so I need something formal and tropical-appropriate but not summery.  I have been playing around with options, and I have a couple other dresses in mind that I have fabric for but have never needed to make, so you may see some more choices coming up.  This dress may be a little too playful and girly for a formal wedding... we'll see.
For this one, I really got to be a designer... I used a standby pattern (McCall's M5489) as a base and added my own design:
I added ruching to the center of the sweetheart neckline, and I went nuts with the skirt: I had tons of this almost-hot pink silk chiffon from Goodwill, and it really feels and looks vintage to me.  It is also much more likely that it's vintage, because... who uses hot pink silk anymore?  MEEEE.  I'm very excited to have it; it feels so much better than poly.  I used a heavy hot pink poly that I got literally for $1/yard on clearance at JoAnn a while ago (I figured, I like pink, better pick this up).  Anyway, with lots of sheer fabric, I did several layers of skirt cut asymmetrically.  I was going for more "edgy teen homecoming" than "Barbie tutu."
Think of me as a mannequin (sorry, I don't look good enough today for my face to go with a party dress!) ;)
I also added boning to the structure of the dress (not sure if the pattern recommends this... haven't read it).  It helps it stay up; honestly, just about every strapless dress needs a little boning.  I added it on the sideseams and center front and back (I now realize I could have used that flexible stuff in the bias casing you buy in the roll, but my mom has 1/4" plastic-dipped steel boning she uses for corsets for historic clothing, and I used a few pieces of that that I housed in matching bias tape casings that I hand-stitched in through just the lining.
So, what I'm wondering is...
What else does the dress need?  I like the idea of some self-fabric flowers or poufs, like some of the wedding dresses I've been researching have, but I also could just keep it simple (it's already showy since it's HOT PINK) and go with a matching grosgrain belt or a self-fabric bias belt (I have plenty of the chiffon left over).  And of course, I will need darling peeptoe pumps and cute jewelry with it!!
Here's some formal dress faves of mine in the same flavor as my new pink number:

And... here are some similar ones I just found poking around.  From Lulu's:
From Forever 21:
Similar concepts.  Some are cuter than others... guess I'm not the only one on the hot pink trend, though...


  1. I think I would just add a flower brooch. The dress is gorgeous in itself and really should take centre of the stage.

  2. If you have enough leftover lining or if you want to go with the chiffon, I'd make a matching belt, probably with a bow that I would place off centre in the front. And I'd probably add a vintage brooch to the centre of the bow, something sparky. Then I'd just wear it with a nice pair of (not too big) dangling earrings, a matching clutch and as you said peep-toes. I think that would look cute, dressy and still wouldn't take away from the bride.

  3. I would just a fabric flower at the waist, not too big because you don't want it to overpower the skirt. Super cute and you can really pull it off. Good luck!

  4. I think a contrasting belt, a contrasting flower at the waistband, a big statement necklace, or some contrasting trim along the bust would take it up a notch.

  5. I think a contrasting belt and maybe the same contrasting flower middle of the bust. BTW its absolutely gorgeous and I love it!

  6. It's darling as it is...I'd say just vamp it up a bit with accessories. A contrasting belt is a good idea, or a fabric flower/feather corsage like these and ban.do: http://www.shopbando.com/products.aspx?cid=9

  7. is it okay that I dream about being you one day?

  8. I love what you did with the skirt!

  9. You should totally make a little grosgrain ribbon belt with a handmade flower or a broach or something there! It looks like the perfect canvas for one :D

  10. A turquoise grosgrain belt! (ok, that would really be playing on the bright colors, but it would definitely be a statement!) Or, maybe a black or navy one if you wanted to keep it toned down. Or, make a removeable belt so you can switch it out for different occasions!

  11. Anonymous9/22/2010

    I think a black lace belt with a off center bow or flower would be fun!!

  12. I like the idea of a single flower up top (either to the right or the left) to bring some of the fun of the skirt up to the relatively plain part of the dress.

  13. I actually really like it as it is - the color is so bright and fun!!! I'd just add some great statement jewelry and like you said, awesome shoes!!

  14. Google what Kristen Bell wore to the "You Again" premiere. I'd leave a pic here if I could. Adorable!

  15. Thanks, everyone! I love your ideas. It helps me think about it and not be so overwhelmed... I may do a simple belt with rosette? We'll see.
    @Jane, you mean the yellow and white lace Valentino dress? SOOO cute!!

  16. Yep, that's the one. I don't know where to get lace like that, but I've never really worked with lace, so why would I? Anyway, I'm coveting it!

  17. That's so pretty! It looks great. I can't wait to see the finished product!

    Come over to my blog, I'm having a giveaway :)

    Just Better Together

  18. The dress doesn't need a thing. It is a gorgeous pink canvas for some fabulous accessories. The strapless neckline leaves your collar bone open for a great chunky/flashy necklace. Some super sexy shoes and maybe a super pretty frilly hair accessory.

  19. no flower, no lace, nothing nothing. Right now it is cute and flirty and tropical but still kind of modern. If you tart it up with embellishments it WILL look Barbie tutu. And your accessories should be clean and modern, too. You could do black or a nude shoe, and very simple jewelry.



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