Hot! The Melbourne Gateway Saga Dress | Veronica Darling


P1050486 P1050487The Facts

Fabric: Grey (like concrete!) Cotton Spandex $18 for two metres (from Spotlight, brand new)
Patterns: Sew Stylish's "Take The Plunge" – thrifted
Year: c. 1995? 1994? earlier?
Notions: just thread (thrifted)
Time to complete: 2 (and most of that was the handstitching on the collar)
First worn: March 2011
Wear again? Maybe, if I can resize the collar/shoulders/frou frou arms.

  Total Cost: ~$18

If you have ever arrived, by plane, to Melbourne, Australia these large abstract sculptures of 'urban design' are the first pieces (or flavour) of the cityscape that you'll spot. From this angle (above) you'll zoom past in the taxi or shuttle bus on your way into the city, and it's called 'The Melbourne Gateway' by the designers. We of Melbourne call it various things, and in my family (ie my Husbie & I) we call it "Chips and Chips with Tomato Sauce" or "The Cheese Stick and Spare Ribs" (after these sculptures, you'll then drive into a tunnel type structure that I like to think is the stomach).

I really like these colours with the grey 'concrete jungle' of our motorways, and for this challenge, I just wanted to do something quickly and easily and didn't want to procrastinate in the sewing room at all. After last week's floral Colette pattern placement took so long, I decided I'd just think quick and then go for it (The pattern is called 'Take the Plunge' after all!). Ha ha, maybe a little more thought would have been better, but I've still got something sharp like the sculptures, that's for sure! It's just a little hard to get into!


My 'Saga' consisted thusly:

– choosing cotton spandex instead of cotton sateen (oops) so the dress is tighter and thicker and takes 5 minutes to get on.

– I decided I didn't want a pattern that had a zipper, so on that whim, I chose this weird SewStyle pattern that I do NOT recommend.

– SewStyle have thick paper patterns, double sided, so you can't cut them out and you are invited to trace it onto your fabric. I have never learned how to do this, but was in a 'determined' state of mind, so just kinda cut the shape I thought the pattern pieces were meant to be.

– in my 'resizing' (with haste!) I tried to wrangle those collar pieces and the V neck of the front piece to not be so 'plunging' (or shoulder paddy) but, in turn I still had to add my yellow 'modesty patch' so I could actually wear it in public. Tres plunging!

– for some reason, I thought puffy sleeves would be amazing, so ignored the pattern's flat sleeves and added MORE volume (as that collar just doesn't add enough boobage to my front!)


Phew! And so this dress is now the Melbourne Gateway Saga Dress, and it feels like I'm going to jump into some crazy city adventures and knock people's socks off. As Husbie said while taking these photos 'Think Grace Jones and get angular' and we had so much fun walking under the motorways for these photos!


So welcome to my Melbourne Gateway, and while you zoom by me and my Big Chips (or Cheesesticks!) can you please remind me to NOT 'take the plunge' with sewing dresses in the future?

P.S. it takes 10 minutes of wriggling to get the dress off! LOL



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.


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  1. Love it! You look like Lady Gaga in the last photo back before she arrived at awards shows in eggs!

  2. Ok, there is definitely something very funky cool about this dress! Plus the colour combo is awesome :D However what got me is that obviously you wrote this with some humour about your project, and that reminds me that I can’t approach every project with the idea that it all has to be perfect. Sometimes, it will skew a different way and take me 10 minutes to get out of a dress… and that’s ok too!! I bet you still learned a ton and it was a terrific experiment with your inspiration :)

  3. Those shoulders are genius. Genius!!

  4. There’s actually a lot to like about this dress – flappy shoulders aside. The fit looks amazing, as do the colours you have chosen. Still anything that takes that long to get in and out of … I wonder if you can retro-fit a zip? lol (I quite like the ‘french fries’ myself).

  5. Awesome! Definitely a statement piece. ;-) (Although I’m with Jen – could you add a zip? It actually looks great on you, so it’s a shame it’s so hard to get in and out of!)

  6. Very edgy this week Veronica! I actually think it looks pretty cool. Love your writeup and photos. Those are certainly some statement shoulders, but you work it well girl!

  7. OMG you look amazing, like a completley different person. You look like a super model. I’m always a bit scared of anything 80s but this is good. I’m really enjoying the siclptures too. Also to finish off my swooning, you always have the best shoes in the whole wide world!

  8. Greatest photo shoot EVER! Gave me a great big smile on an average day. Wow, tracing pattern pieces directly on to spandex would have been unbelievably tricky – well done you for having pieces that made a dress!

  9. I love your enthusiasm in these photos – you look like a rock star and have the attitude to match!! I love the color of the dress – the yellow and red set it off so well. I give you tons of credit for tracing pattern pieces and having such a fabulous end result!! Love the sculptures too, btw…makes me think I should visit Melbourne :)

  10. “Think Grace Jones and get angular” best quote ever. This looks like something that Rhianna would wear to the MTV awards sans the modesty patch. (Love that you call it a modesty patch). I think this dress can be salvaged though. As dramatic as those shoulders and neckline are, they are just not practical for us non rock stars. And I second the zipper notion. But the color & fit are fab.

  11. I love the “attitude” you have in these photos, such personality! :) And the styling is so great.

  12. I think that last photo is the best photo ever. :)

  13. Like Sarah, I saw Lady Gaga in the last photo! If you really don’t like the shoulders which I though were pretty cool, why not make the dress sleeveless and insert a side zipper. You look spectacular!

  14. HILARIOUS! Thanks babes! I hadn’t even *thought* about Gaga, but yep, I can see it as part of her masculine/suit era!

  15. Thanks for understanding my humour Catherine! I did learn a lot, and in a way ‘Taking the Plunge’ is a good lesson for me, as how else will I learn about cotton spandex (which is a lot tougher and thicker than regular spandex)?

  16. Thanks Krissy! Accidental Genius!

  17. French Fries! Yes!
    Thanks for the zip tip! I may be able to fit that in, and it’s probably something to remember in the future. It may be stretch material, but not all stretch/knit can fit without a zip. (Did that turn into a rhyme?)

  18. Thanks darling, glad you like it! I’ll have to figure out how to retro fit the zip, like Jen says, as I had overlocked the seams… I’ll figure it out…

  19. Thank you Casey! If I had more time, I’d have made another outfit, but I’m pleased I posted it! It’s so fun to read all your great comments! A little bit different for me!

  20. SUPERMODEL! At a petite 4’11” I’m so happy! Thank you for your lovely comments n gush! You’re a dream!

  21. It was kinda tricky (I used fabric chalk) and measured a lot (albeit quite hastily)… Thanks Amanda, xoxo

  22. Come and visit Meg! There’s plenty more amazing structures and colourful things to see!
    Thank you for your awesome comments! Gotta commit to a look I reckon!

  23. LOLZ, thanks Amber!
    I didn’t really know what it was called, seems apt though!

  24. Thanks Amanda! Had to colour coordinate exactly!

  25. Big smiles Mena! Thank you! Isn’t this a whole lotta fun!
    So tough being Grace Jones/Lady Gaga/Rhianna!

  26. Thank you Adey! I reckon I’ll make it a nice sleeveless dress too… it’ll take a bit of working out with the side zip! But I was inspired by your cotton sateen dresses, but bought the wrong kind of cotton! I’m SO learning about fabric this year!

  27. You do look like Lady Gaga! Total woman’s power dress.

  28. You look better than Lady Gaga!
    (I think she overdoes it)

  29. The sleeves are fantastic and and I love the yellow and red with the grey. You look great in this dress. Nice inspiration too.

  30. LOVE this post!! I love the Cheese Stick and Spare Ribs sculptures! What a great place to do your photos! I love the photos as well! It looks really early in the morning? Your hubby is so great!

  31. Thanks Lisette! Those shoulders are hugely padded!

  32. You are a darling Nicole!

  33. Thank you Sue, those bright primary colours compliment the grey so nicely, I agree!

  34. Thanks Debi! It was lunchtime I think, but it was a super super hot day! Husbie had to use the flash ‘fill’ to get the shadows off the dress… so it’s using the flash (even though the camera will tell you you don’t need it) to blow out the shadows.