Hot! The “Bye Bye Summertime” Dress | Veronica Darling



P1050401The Facts

Fabric: Tablecloth, thrifted $3, Lining Grey Lawn $.20
Patterns: Colette Patterns Rooibos
Year: c. 2009
Notions: Vintage zipper $1
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: February 2011
Wear again? Yes! Maybe my brother's beach wedding in May?

Total Cost: ~$4.50

Colette Patterns FTW. I've never made one before, but seen the buzz online about Colette Patterns and now can see why. As you know most of my sewing stuff is second hand, so I don't really buy any new commercial products but I would seriously consider getting out of that habit just for the rest of Colette Pattern's collection. 


I don't really know where to begin with this one! It's AMAZING in every way, and Husbie and I think it could be the best thing I've EVER made! Seriously! First up, I had a long look online of other Rooibos creations, to see if there was any secret in fabric, and I noticed a lot of people tried the block colours, or smaller prints like tiny spots or patterns. I hadn't seen any larger prints, and even though a lot of factors were pointing against this working (I'll explain them below) the dress is a piece of wonder and overcame all obstacles!

The fabric is a secondhand tablecloth, with – after I become sold on using it for Rooibos, I noticed – many table/coffee stains. It took about 2 hours of laying out the pattern pieces to make sure I was using the best of that floral print and avoiding the stains. It was particularly hard mapping out the pieces so not all the red flowers were down one side, that there was a mix all through the garment. In a complete fluke, the last piece I cut out was the waist band, with the white horizontal line… and I had no idea how awesome it looked until I sewed it all together.


Colette Patterns have the darlingest little sewing booklet with really great instructions and advice all throughout. I initially wanted to do piping (like it suggests in the booklet), but thought it'd be all way too much 'going on' with the floral print, so instead just used a grey (like the flowers) lawn for facing/lining the pockets. As an afterthought the 'collar' pieces, you can see in the pattern, didn't really suit so I've tucked them under the neckline for these photos and will stitch them to the facing/lining.

How great are pockets in dresses?!

The other factors that could have made this an ultra fail:

– invisible zipper with thicker material, but it went in fine! I used a few online tutorials to double check I was doing it right!

– a high neckline & an A line shaped skirt doesn't really suit my body shape, but it has turned out ok. I chose Rooibos because the model looked like Regina Spektor, and not really on the style of dress. Oops!

– Forgetting to resize the shoulders (my usual problem with patterns) actually turned out fine too! I did resize the waist (on the skirt pieces) & shorten the hem before I cut the fabric and am glad I did because I was slithers away from running out of material.


Oh and you have to see the way the facing/lining was attached to the bodice! It was the most interesting way I've ever sewn it! First the neckline on the inside, then you ROLL the shoulders to the other shoulder/armhole and flip it over sew it up, and pull it through. Then do the other side. What's this technique called (if you can understand my bad description!) as it was FABULOUS!

The Colette Pattern Theme this week is also about colour palettes, and considering it's just hit autumn in Australia, I've called this my Bye Bye Summertime Dress and my colour palette is autumnal:


I used the colours in the dress to match my accessories as well as the photos are taken near a much loved (and hated!) sculpture in Melbourne currently living near an art centre and a theatre. When we were taking the photos it started to rain, and in typical Melbourne autumnal spirit the sun then shined and the air got all electric! I like that some of my colours are warm *and* sharp as it does reflect our changing seasons.

And yes, you've caught me on another Pin Curl Set Day! Makes for a very vintage look though!

Best, Veronica Darling

Want to win your own copy of Rooibos? Answer this question in the forum to enter.


Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. Perfect for a beach wedding but hopefully not on a Victorian beach in May. I am ever impressed at your use of table cloths. The one cloth I thrifted I put it on my table. And you did a great job with the zip and fit.

  2. I think I agree with your husband, the best you have done yet! It looks wonderfull, fits perfectly. Also love the photo shoot!

  3. WOW! Absolutely fabulous!! I adore the dress–you did such a great job and I’m happy to know that this tablecloth is going to have a fantastic second life! Great photos–the colors are amazing!

  4. LOVE!
    that white line is genious : ) and I love how you have the bodice roses all together.
    Felicitaciones guapa : )

  5. You really do manage some amazing things with a tablecloth! Well done. STUNNING! I don’t know about bye bye summer here in QLD. First few days of autumn have been over 30 degrees C. !

  6. Wonderful! I love the waist band and the print is so much fun! The photo shoot kinda reminds me of a circus, like the big round top or something and I love that.
    <3 Rebecca

  7. This is gorgeous! You look wonderful in this dress. And the white line, even though it was an accident, is just perfect. A very happy accident.

  8. I am totally in love with this dress. If I were as tiny as you, I’d fight you for it. Seriously though, this is hands down the best dress you’ve made so far. Great job!

  9. It’s stunning! My fave Roobois todate! You are super duper fabulous in fabric placement and I really do love the white line across the waist!

  10. GORGEOUS!!! and those shoes

  11. I’m blown away! The things you can do with a tablecloth, girl! Wearing that dress against the sculpture surely convinced everyone that it was gorgeous all around. Congrats on executing another fab dress!

  12. Girl! I’m with Amy on this – way to blow us away with a tablecloth! Who knew a tablecloth would look like that – it looks like designer fabric!! And the fit is divine – I am now going to make one of these!

  13. Veronica, you look FABULOUS in that color! The dress is magnificent, and the shoes and flower compliment it so well. I can’t even believe you made that from a tablecloth – I am in awe of your skills. Great work!!!

  14. I can’t believe it is a table cloth. Wow! You did a great job and I love the white line waist band is so great I thought you had planned it that way.
    For future reference: When I encounter stains, even old ones, I put dish soap on them and let it soak for several hours or even days and then wash again. It doesn’t always get all the stain out but works amazingly good. I have been doing this since my boys were babies and saved a lot of clothes that way. Only thing is that you have to make sure the dish soap you used does not have bleach in it or you will leave a bleach spot where you are trying to get the stain out instead. It really does work good though and I have gotten paint and blood out of clothing this way.

  15. I’ve never seen the Rooibos dress in such vibrant fabric, and it really works. I love it!

  16. Absolutely stunning, Veronica! This is my most favourite dress you’ve ever made! I love everything about it and now I want my own version of the sassy tablecloth Rooibos!
    Well done, you! :)

  17. WOW! This is seriously one of the prettiest versions I’ve seen of Rooibos. Really fantastic colors and fabric choice!

  18. This my favorite Rooibos!I just got mine in the mail today, and am completely re-envisoning what Im going to do with it, thanks to you!

  19. No no, totally a Queensland beach wedding! Lucky!
    Sometimes I’ve used second hand tablecloths as actual tablecloths too, but some are just too good and need to be worn! Thanks for the comments Jen!

  20. Thank you Charlotte! Very happy overall and totes best yet!

  21. Thank you Debi!
    The colours really stand out with the great backdrop! The sculpture is called ‘The Vault’ but is ‘known’ as the Yellow Peril in certain circles and really makes my dress jump out! xoxo

  22. Wow, that must be Spanish? Thank you so much, so lovely!

  23. OMG it is totally Bye Bye Summer in Melbs! This week has been FREEZING! Thanks for the comments/love!

  24. The fabric’s flowers are certainly big and bold and dictated the photos!
    Thanks Rebecca!

  25. A happy accident indeed! Thanks Kathleen!

  26. Oh thanks Amber! If I see a tablecloth (or if you do!) similar, I’ll let you know and we can be twinnies! xoxo

  27. Thank you darling Adey! What a surprise that the white line was a happy accident, as it was the last piece to I cut out!
    You looked SO darling this week Adey, I had to buy your Oolong to try it myself!

  28. Thank you darling girl! So proud to get such a great response, and YAY for second hand tablecloths!

  29. YAY! xoxo Thanks babes! Tablecloths makes it one of a kind, that’s for sure!

  30. I love the thumbnail post for your entry this week on the home page! I thought it was a Photoshop effect. What a wonderful coincidence with the line at the midriff! Beautiful colors too.

  31. Thank you Meg, how great to have a shade of grey in the fabric, that matches my shoes so well!

  32. Hey Sue, thanks for that tip! I have a few more tablecloths in the stash, so will check out your Stain Remover idea!

  33. Thanks Amanda! It was totally why I was ‘locked’ on using this fabric, I hadn’t seen any Rooibos with large prints. The gored skirting perhaps is better for solid colours or smaller prints.

  34. Thank you Sarah! Totally my fave as well!

  35. Thank you Sarai, it’s totally made my week to see your comment here! Thanks for your great pattern!

  36. Yippee! You’ll have to post your finished dress online in the Sewing Circle cause I’d love to see more Rooibos!

  37. It’s a fun collection of colours, with the sculpture and my loud dress!
    Thanks Amanda!