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: A fab Valentine's Day dress!

It's been a while since I shared a Sewing Circle question, but this one was for such a fun dress with perfect timing for the upcoming holiday... for those of us who would rather celebrate it by making something cute than by shopping for the perfect heart-shaped chocolate box or rhinestone heels or whatever it is the single folks do... (can you tell I'm out of touch?)...

This question came from Lauren...

Q: I read your blog all the time and love all your projects. I have gotten a ton of inspiration from you. I am a somewhat novice sewer, but I can tackle projects as long as I take my time! My first dress, the reason I learned to sew, was a plaid Christmas dress. I figured if I could match plaids, I could conquer anything :)

I have seen this dress over the past year or so, and I absolutely LOVE it. I was hoping you could give me some advice on how to make one myself. I think with a pair of leopard heels and some turquoise earrings it would be the perfect Valentines day dress! Here is the picture. Thank you for taking a peek!

Source: Wear is it From

A: That is a super cool dress!! Would def be perfect for Valentine’s Day. I’ve never seen a pattern for the exact thing (see some ideas below), but I’m sure you can make that sleeve peplum super easily…

To make the sleeve yourself (it looks like just a gathered rectangle, though a lined/double layer would be nicer), I would cut a piece twice as long as you’d like, about 1.5 times the width of the arm opening, along the selvage edge of the fabric. Then sew the cross grain (perpendicular to selvage) seam together, then I would fold it wrong sides together along the bottom edge, press, and gather the big raw/selvage opening. Then pin and sew right sides together the gathered piece to the sleeve opening! Does that make sense? Then you have a lining for your sleeve trumpet and no hemming to do on the bottom.

If you’re not confident, you could try using one of the sleeve trim pieces from one of these patterns. (or just take a look at the pattern piece picture and emulate it).

(Another quick search found some similar things on some Jennifer Paganelli tunic patterns... try this one, this one, one for girls, or this one for toddlers. Same construction. You would want to cut any of those bottom sleeve pieces wider than those patterns, though, for more fullness in the gathering. Probably would cut them longer, too.)

As for the dress pattern, you could use any basic natural waisted, slim-fitting dress pattern, preferably one that already has the straight sleeves. I’ve used this one before, Simplicity 1913, but I’m sure there are others… try the dresses and sportswear sections of the big pattern companies. The original pink dresses are darted bodices, more like Simplicity 1873 or you could use the flattering Simplicity 2444, but the skirt on the pattern below is so close, too; I figured if you want to get just one pattern, go with this one for a very similar look.

Hope that helps!

Readers, would you wear this dress?!? How would you make the sleeve trumpets? (Or, is there a better term for them?). Seems like the peplum trend is expanding to our arms... let's not put these on the ankles of our flared pants, k?? That make have happened in the 70's, but let's let sleeping dogs lie, right?

I kind of want to try making one of these myself!!

Update: Lauren DID make the dress, and she sent us some pics of the finished product!

From Lauren:
I used Vogue V8593--I decided that the pleat up top was important than the dress having a waist, so I found the Vogue pattern that had a pleat that matched pretty closely. I noticed too, the dress was more fitted so i thought it would be ok without a defined waist. For the trumpet sleeve I just did a rectangle and gathered it. Although I feel like maybe should i have lined it, but you sew and you learn. 

I have ordered a light pink necklace that i think will be the perfect over the top accessory :)

Thanks for sharing, Lauren!!


  1. Ha! I love that you say the peplum trend is expanding to our arms. The more I look at the dress, it does look like two tiny fairy dresses on each arm...

    As for wearing the dress, I'm not sure how it would suit my shape but these beautiful actresses, etc. look divine in it!

    Also, I see the reader questions all the time, and I love the process of breaking down each element into existing patterns (I did that myself once!). My question is, would it be possible to follow up on any of these people who have taken your advice? It would be fun to see the inspiration, planning, and results.

    1. I'm with you on this one! I would also love to see how their projects turned out!

    2. Definitely! Lauren actually did send me pics of her dress (since she emailed me her question a while ago) and I should share them!!

  2. check out Beauté Jadore's version of this dress:
    she used McCalls pattern M5927 and made sleeve alterations

    1. Look at that, awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I just noticed Petite Josette's comment and I to agree Nikki at www.beautejadore.com did an awesome job, the best I have seen yet!

    1. I just checked it out, too--she did a great job! Funny that others have made the dress already! =)

  4. Anonymous1/25/2013

    I love the new polka dot banner :)
    The old one look to me like a rickrack bacon bandaid ... no offense intended, but it always made me giggle

  5. Anonymous1/27/2013

    There's a New Look pattern that is almost an exact match for the pink dress: 6824.

  6. She did a great job! I love seeing how their vision turned out.



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