Hot! The “We’re Made For Each Other” Dress | Debi Fry


Full length
The Facts

Fabric: Red crepe back satin, 3 meters -£21, pink crepe back satin, 1/2 meter -£3.50
Patterns: Wearing History’s Manhattan Melodrama reproduction pattern (I think I got the last one!)
Year: 1934
Notions: 4 vintage zippers – £0.20
Time to complete: 20.5 hours
First worn: February 2011
Wear again? Yes, for special occasions

Total Cost: ~£25

For the Valentine’s Day theme I wanted to do something really special.  I decided to use Wearing History’s reproduction pattern called ‘Manhattan Melodrama’ from 1934:

1934_Manhattan Melodrama
There are so many things I adore about this dress.  I love the back details, the shoulder and the fit.  I knew that I wanted to make the blouse as a separate so that I could wear it again for less formal occasions.

There were a lot of ‘firsts’ with this pattern.  This is my first gown pattern.  This is the first time I graded a pattern (from a 30B to 35B).  This was the first time I significantly altered a pattern (i.e. made separates from a single dress).  And this was the first time I used crepe back satin!  Phew! I’m tired already :-)

Upper back

Here’s a better picture of the back, there’s a secret neck zipper under the middle panel:

I cut out the fashion fabric on Saturday night but didn’t start sewing the dress until Sunday and I raced home from work on Monday and was literally hemming the dress 30 minutes before walking out the door for our Valentine’s Day dinner!  I didn’t have time to make the belt but I think it looks fine without it!  Luckily, I had graded the pattern a few days earlier (and tested it for fit).  This dress is one giant narrow hem :-)  Besides the finishing details, it went together very easily.


There was one minor issue at the last moment.  One of the things I hadn’t anticipated in making the top separate from the dress was the ability to get the waist portion over my head.  When making as a full dress, there is a side opening that extends the length of the blouse and part of the skirt.  I had already inserted a small zipper (that didn’t quite extend the whole length of the blouse side) as well as a zipper in the neck back (under the panel).  However, I went to put it on and I couldn’t get the waist bit over my head! EEK.  I started to unpick the zipper and was going to put in a continuous lap with snaps down the whole side.  Luckily, David suggested I should put a zipper (upside down–i.e. with the head of the zipper at the waist bottom) on the other side of the blouse.  As luck would have it, I had another of the exact same zipper (from a great charity shop find).  So, that is why this outfit has 4 zippers! (3 in the blouse and one in the skirt).  That solved the problem perfectly with only a small amount of work!

Cool lamp
When I told David I was making this dress, his first response was ‘I’ll make a matching bow tie’!  How awesome is that?  He made the bow tie using scraps of fabric that I had left with an old bow tie as a pattern AND he sewed it all by hand!  He also made a matching kerchief:

David and Debi
We are so made for each other! I love how creative he is!  He’s going to do a ‘behind the scenes’ guest post on my blog this week–which should be really fun!

We had a lovely dinner and as an added bonus, I got to wear my faux fur jacket I made two weeks ago!

Loads more photos this week over at my blog.  What do you think?


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. I actually gasped when I saw this post waiting for me in drafts! So amazingly gorgeous. You did such a fantastic job. And your pictures are marvelous. Way to go, girl!!

  2. Absolutely beautiful! Great dress, and four zippers? I used to be so intimidated by zippers (maybe still am a bit).

  3. What a beautiful dress (and wearer of course!). I’m going to a ball in November and this is THE DRESS I want to wear.

  4. wow – this is an amazing outfit. Jawdropping to say the least. I look at patterns like that and can never quite imagine what they will actually look like when made up. It is always great to see such a dress because it gives me incentive to try a little harder.
    And the jacket looks fabulous with this outfit. Cheers.

  5. WOW – this outfit is so beaut.iful … and you look fabulous! Congratulations

  6. Your dress is absolutely stunning!!! You look amazing in it. And you really suit your hair like that too! :)

  7. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous! I love that your man made himself a bow tie to match. :-)

  8. Wow Debi… you astound me every week. You always pick a real challenge and then pull it off with aplomb. Hats off to you!

  9. margueritedesigns

    Very glamorous and well done for coping with all that slippery fabric!

  10. That is such a stunning dress! You both look so glamorous! And you look very appropriate to your date spot (which I’m assuming is the voodoo rooms? Every time I go there I wish I was wearing this sort of outfit!)

  11. A stunning evening dress! This has got to be a difficult fabric to sew!

  12. You look gorgeous and oh so glam!

  13. Oh my heavens, Debi! I gasped, too, when I saw the photos! This dress is an absolute TRIUMPH! The fit, colour, and details are sensational and you look utterly gorgeous. You really, really suit 1930’s gowns, Debi.
    I am so delighted by David’s bow tie and kerchief. He’s definitely a keeper, him. Looking forward to his guest post on your blog, too. :)
    Congratulations, Debi! What a stunning creation!

  14. Wonderful gown! And a great idea to use up those scraps for a matching bow tie and kerchief. All these Valentine sewing and photos definitely have the power to make the single-me a tiny bit jealous ;).

  15. Wow! This dress is so beautiful – it looks like Chanel or something! Love the back details, the color and the adorable photo of you and the hubby!

  16. I know! 4 zippers! Geez :-) I have to remember where they all are when I get into the dress!

  17. Oh! A Ball…how divine! You should definitely make this dress! I think Lauren from Wearing History is going to bring back this pattern in a couple of months!!

  18. Thanks Jen! I really loved making this dress!

  19. Thanks Debbie! (p.s. Fabulous name :-)

  20. Thanks Suzie! I’m lucky to get my hair up in time to run out the door! hehehehe…

  21. I know! How sweet is that?

  22. Thanks Casey! I’ve been loving seeing your work at the Sewing Circle too! It’s so much fun!

  23. Thanks! Luckily the crepe side did a bit to stabilize the satin side!!

  24. Oh yes! That is the Voodoo Rooms! Are you from Edinburgh? It is so beautiful there…that was our first time there. I want to visit every place on that block…it’s like stepping back in time!!!

  25. Thanks Adey! The fabric wasn’t too bad to sew with as the crepe side sort of stabilizes it! Much easier then the fabric you worked with this week I’m sure! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your dress as well!

  26. Thanks Wendy! I definitely feel very glam :-)

  27. Thanks Sarah! You are so sweet! Hope you and Miss and Mr Friday feel better soon! Hugs!!!

  28. Thanks so much Christina!

  29. Thanks Sarah! I really LOVED your dress and photos this week…the photos were so much fun!

  30. yes I live here in lovely Edinburgh, I came for uni and never left! Voodoo rooms is gorgeous, and I always really enjoy sitting in the Cafe Royale downstairs in those fantastic circular booths!

  31. Such a beautiful couple and the dress is fantastic AND looks soooooo great with the coat. You are amazing.