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!

Sewing Circle: Pattern for a mystery dress

More pattern-searching on Sewing Circle today!

I got an email from Katharine...

Q: I saw this dress in the window of a ridiculously expensive store in my city, and I kind of fell in love with it, but not enough to even be tempted to go into said super-expensive store to see the dress in person (it's REALLY expensive. I'd be surprised if they were selling this cute dress for less than $700). But I love the wide buckled belt, the polka dot fabric, the knee-grazing A-line skirt, the fairly fitted bodice, the button placket, and the high-but-not-too-high neckline. I don't know what kind of sleeves it has, if any, but that isn't really a big deal for me. 

I tried to find out who the designer was or a picture of the garment unobstructed, but the Internet sadly failed me there. I've also been looking for a pattern to adapt, but I haven't been having a whole lot of success. I just haven't seen anything with quite the right lines and I was wondering if you might have a few ideas of patterns that could be adapted into something like this inspiration dress?

A: Hi Katharine, thanks for reading, and thanks for your email!  It is hard to see the dress in the pic, but that means you can make whatever pattern you want that has the same look on the parts that are visible. You're right that the basic elements we can see are, full bodice/high or boatneck, covered buttons on the bodice, and self-fabric belt and buckle. Hard to tell if it has a midriff panel or not, but I think the bust/waist of the bodice are one piece. The skirt is not too full, looks like four pieces with a center front seam, probably for the placket if the buttons on the front are operational. The belt and skirt you can make up without a pattern, or add from other patterns, so let’s focus on the bodice. 

As for my pattern recommendations...

My first thought when I saw the pics was this pattern, Vogue V2960. My friend made it once, and it was sort of annoying and complicated with a bunch of steps modern sewers may not be used to, but it was super cute. You could cut the neckline however you wanted, using another pattern as an example. 

There’s also this one, Vogue V8577, which you could also modify in the neck area. 

 And, if you want to go the simple route, this Simpliticy Cynthia Rowley might actually be perfect for the bodice--Simplicity 2215.

 And, keep in mind that you can always add the button closure placket to any pattern, by adding several extra inches at the center front and cutting it on the selvage or a straight edge rather than the fold. It gets a little more complicated with lining treatments etc. Although you also could just add a row of buttons to the front of any dress to get the look, if you’re looking for something easy! In which case I’d recommend one of my fave patterns, Simplicity 2444.

Hope that helps! Readers, have you seen the perfect pattern?  Any great ideas for Katharine in her quest?  Chime in!


  1. Too cute! I love that is has such a wide belt...it's probably very flattering! The fabric is also darling. The closest pattern I could think of was this one: http://www.simplicity.com/p-5858-misses-dresses-purse.aspx in view C/D

    It's a little hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks to me like only the bodice has buttons. Personally, I'd make the pattern as-is and add in a faux placket with buttons after...but I'm a weirdo and dislike buttoning shirts (probably because I always end up with gaps). Good luck!

  2. If you go inside the store and ask any sales lady in any clothing department they would know. I used to work for a shi-shi department store and we would get "schooled" on our window displays. If you do find out please come back and share with us, I would LOVE to see the details more clearly!

  3. This red outfit is really looking adorable.

  4. Thanks for the thoughts, and thanks for the pattern idea, @TheYellowRose! I think it is only the bodice that has buttons. Cute!

  5. I've made the V2960 and it ended up being referred to as the Hateful Dress. Too bad because it's super cute when finished.



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