Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and 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!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Retro fabric dress

A week before the wedding I got into a sewing/cutting frenzy and really wanted to use some super cute vintage print fabric I had.  My mom thought I would like it and picked it up for me at Goodwill for like $1.99 for two yards.  Pretty cool to find cute and usable fabric for such a good deal!

I envisioned it made up into a cute, loosely retro-ey dress like some of the sweet floral print ones I've seen around and saved in my dress inspiration folder.



And I loved this Anthro dress last summer:

More Anthro:

Anyway, lots of inspiration--all over the place, really.

I went back and forth on which pattern to use--something with a midriff panel?  Something with wide straps, or spaghetti?  I have plenty of patterns I could modify, but I wasn't sure what to do.

I ended up using a pattern my mom bought for me when I was 17 or something--a pretty dated pattern.  But I put my own spin on it and it turned out pretty cute!

There it is, Simplicity 4531, but I cut it down to make it a little more low-cut in the front and way more low-cut in the back.  In my book, if it's a strappy dress to begin with, it's gonna show some skin.  Not cute otherwise.  Anyway it came out very fun!  A short-ish, wearable gathered skirt to go with the bodice.  And it's super cute with a wide leather belt!  Here it is plain...

Here's an up-close of the cute vintage-ey print.  Love the colors!

It's nice to have dresses that are cute but not too fancy.  I feel like this could go to the farmer's market, the movies, lunch, brunch or breakfast... or on errands, which, let's be honest, is the most common of those options anyway.

Other bonus of this dress--because it was so simple (four pieces plus lining and straps) it only took an hour or an hour and a half to make.  I should make dresses like this more often... no midriff panel so half as many horizontal seams!


  1. I can't believe you were still making dresses a week before the wedding! I'm so impressed!

  2. I could definitely use some more "cute but not too fancy" dresses. I wore one to work on Friday and got complimented almost every time I got up from my desk! Oddly enough, my thought process that morning was "I've got to break in these red shoes for that wedding in November... should I layer... nah. I'll just wear a dress."
    Dresses are the way to be both classy and lazy at the same time. :D

  3. Lovely dress! The fabric is perfect :)

  4. Brilliant, Suzannah! It reminds me of Jean Seberg in "Breathless"--it totally has that vibe.

  5. Super cute! I could see this transitioning well into fall with leggings and a cardi :)

  6. Love this dress, the fabric is a fantastic print as well!

  7. So far I have wanted ALL of the cute little dresses you have made...I would die for your wardrobe and I love that you make them all yourself! Wish I was that handy :) Would save a lot of money! Hehe

  8. Anonymous12/30/2012

    How do you make it? Would you share the pattern? I'd love to make one for myself, for when I go to Belize in a week or so!




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