Hot! The “Serenity” Dress | Debi Fry


The Facts

Fabric: 2.5 metres red print silk £10, 1 metre of gold crepe back satin £5
Pattern: DuBarry 1082B reproduction pattern from Vintage Fashion Library
Year: c.  1932
Notions: vintage buckle £10 from UK seller jemimajay on Etsy.

Time to complete: 9 hours

Wear again? OH Yes!!!  I love this dress!!!

Total Cost: ~£25

I was very excited about this week’s theme and I knew right away that I wanted to make an outfit inspired by my absolute favorite TV show–Firefly.  Firefly is what is called a Space Western–part Sci Fi, part Western.  It aired in 2002 for 10 of 14 episodes but was cancelled.  Due to the huge fan outcry because of the cancelling of the show, a movie with the same characters was made called ‘Serenity’. The TV show has almost reached cult status because there is still a huge fan following and the DVD sales of the show are still going strong.

David and I are big fans, we are part of the ‘Edinburgh Browncoats’ fanclub (there are similar fanclubs around the world).  The TV show is fantastic.  It features an amazing ensemble cast and you really feel connected to all the characters. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already!  I believe the Science Channel has been airing the episodes since March.

My outfit inspiration came from one of the characters named Inara Serra.  She’s always very regally dressed. Here are a few photos:

Picture 39

I decided to take inspiration from the red and gold tones worn by Inara, as well as the Chinese prints that abound in the costumes for the TV show (which is set in the future where the two surviving superpowers, the United States and China, fuse to form the central federal government, called the Alliance).

What more perfect pattern could there be than DuBarry 1082B? It’s a reproduction pattern from Vintage Fashion Library based on a 1932 DuBarry pattern.

Picture 33 I adore this pattern–even more so after I’ve sewn it up.  It’s incredibly easy.  I followed the instructions to a T, including the instructions that seemed a bit odd (i.e. closing the side seams before doing the back darts, sewing the top contrast binding to the inside of the garment and then slipstitching to the outside).  I really love the back details and the simple, yet sexy, front of the dress–very reminiscent of the clothes the character Inara wears!


I found some AMAZING Chinese silk at my local fabric store.  It is a bit heavier (though not too heavy–hehehe not very good at descriptions am I?).  Anyways, it’s a dream to sew.  The pattern is a basic gathered bodice with constrast borders (I used a gold crepe back satin) and a straight skirt with just two darts in the back.

And then the back…

I love, love, love the back of this dress! How neat is the low back with the pretty ‘v’ shape?  The pattern doesn’t call for interfacing for the border and it pretty much stays in place.  Though I might tack it down where the the ‘v’ meets in the middle–just in case!

I’m also going to experiment with making just a blouse from this pattern.  Hopefully I will have something to show this week over on my blog.  It should be interesting to try and convert this into a blouse, but it just might work!

I realised I needed a belt buckle for this dress at the last moment.  I searched and found the PERFECT buckle on Etsy, from a UK seller no less.  I ordered it and the next day it arrived! Here’s a close-up of the buckle (and the dress fabric):


I just have to show you this amazing shot in the Prince’s Street Gardens with the fountain AND the castle in the background.  It’s a bit funny asking a tourist to take your picture when you’re wearing a gown! hahahaha.  David joined me later to take the amazing photographs above :-)


This dress is perfect for this week as Friday is David’s birthday! I’ll have to wear this somewhere fun (not sure where yet as I’m a bit behind on his birthday surprise planning!)


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 love Firefly! I have always wanted to make an Inara dress. So pretty. Love your interpretation!

  2. I LOVE!!!! The pattern, the inspiration, the fabric! Gorgeous!

  3. What a fabulous dress – the belt buckle is the perfect topper.

  4. wow wow wow! You and this dress look stunning! Well done again!

  5. The dress is just awesome. Its glowing color and design patterns are complimenting.

  6. looks like you are having beautifull weather in scotland too! I have never heard of this TV programme, but your dress is enchanting!I thought you had made your belt yourself as it matches so perfectly.

  7. So lovely! The back is amazing and I love the neckline. Have fun celebrating David’s birthday!

  8. margueritedesigns

    Beautiful and the style is you.

  9. I think it is beautiful and you look great in it. I have never heard of the tv show or the movie. I will have to check it out.

  10. This is beautiful! I love the back detail, very sexy! I keep saying it – your dresses are always gorgeous, thank you!

  11. So beautiful! I adore firefly, and love Inara’s dresses. The back is so spectacular!
    I was actually thinking of making something based on Kaylee’s crazy pink ruffled thing….but I didn’t end up doing it. Would have been a little too..frilly.

  12. Debi, you make the most gorgeous gowns. That buckle is such an amazing find and the back design is splendid! You should be a costume designer, not me!

  13. Debi, there is nothing you can’t do! I am amazed at your eye for fabrics and design. I wish I could go shopping for fabrics with you to see how you do it! I am also amazed that you have not been sewing all your life, many ladies who have sewn for years haven’t produce anything half as nice as this dress. You are truly a natural!

  14. Beautiful.. You look wonderful in it. and Red is my favortie color..
    Great photos..

  15. Oh my good golly, Debi!! This is an utterly fantastic dress!! You look totally stunning!!! Wow!! The colours are perfect for you and the Chinese silk is heavenly. The back detail on the dress is amazing – no wonder you fell in love with it.
    You look simply smashing!! Well done!

  16. I love the dress, and I love Firefly! I know exactly which of Inara’s dresses was your inspiration, and it is spot on.
    I also really love me some Nathan Fillion. If you liked Firefly, may I suggest his current tv show, Castle? Really good too.

  17. Oh, another Browncoat, yay! The dress looks fab, and funnily as soon as I saw it I thought that it looked like one of Inara’s. The colours look great on you, another beautiful item!

  18. Stunning – the dress is beautiful.
    I’m jealous of the flowering tree – it was spitting snow here today (Toronto).

  19. First I have to say I am a HUGE fan of firefly. People don’t realize that even though it’s science fiction it is so good. It is actually my favorite all time show and you have combined it with my love for sewing!!!! The dress is fantastic and so gorgeous on you. You could wear it to the theater and everything! Great job!!!

  20. Thanks Alyssa! It’s a fabulous show, isn’t it! Inara has some great fashions in the show and it was hard to narrow down what I wanted to do!!

  21. Thanks Bethany! I’m super happy to have found the perfect fabric!!

  22. Thanks Jen! I can’t believe I found the perfect belt buckle at the last moment from a UK seller!! I love it!

  23. Thanks Oeble! I was quite happy to have found the perfect fabric for the pattern and the challenge!

  24. Thanks Charlotte! we have been having unusually amazing weather–except it did cold again today for a bit! But it’s been wonderful!

  25. I love the back too! The pattern illustration has two dress clips in the front–which it would be nice to find matching dress clips for the belt! David and I are thinking of revisiting the place we went on Valentine’s Day for his birthday!

  26. Thank you so much! I did indeed feel very comfortable in the dress!

  27. Definitely check it out! It’s a lot of fun to watch!

  28. Thanks so much Debbie!!

  29. Just gorgeous- what fabulous fabric and pattern :)
    I never saw firefly… but we love Nathan Fillion ;)

  30. Hi Farah! It would be sooo much fun to reproduce Kaylee’s pink dress! I actually thought of doing her Chinese print blouse and the umbrella she has when they are picking up passengers for Serenity. She’s such a fun character–plus we have the same last name :)

  31. Thanks Lisette for the sweet comments! You’re a fab costume designer! I love your creations!

  32. Thanks so much Gina! Your comment really made my day! Thanks so much also for the suggestion on a blog post–I definetly want to do it! Oh and come to Scotland and we can go fabric shopping :)

  33. Thanks Judy! I, surprisingly, don’t have much red in my wardrobe–except now I have two beautiful red gowns!

  34. Thanks so much Sarah! This dress definitely makes me feel stunning–I so much adore the patterns of the 1930’s–so simple, yet so elegant and easy to wear (and sew!)

  35. Yeah..Nathan Fillion…sigh! I really need to watch castle! I don’t have a tv–so have to watch DVD seasons or youtube clips. I have seen his references to firefly in the show Castle…really funny!

  36. YAY! Browncoats unite :) I’ve been commissioned by David to actually make a Browncoat for him based on Nathan Fillion’s in the show! Thanks so much for the sweet comments!

  37. Ack! Sorry to hear it is still snowing! We had a pretty rough winter too and everyone is so relieved that spring has made an appearance! I will keep my fingers crossed that spring is on it’s way to your neck of the woods soon!!!

  38. YAY! Another fan!! It is such a fabulous show!! Yeah..I was pretty excited to combine my love of Firefly with sowing too :-)

  39. Thanks Rachel! If you love Nathan Fillion–then you MUST see Firefly!!

  40. Debi this dress is so lovely and fits you perfectly. The fabric is gorgeous and I agree, red is such a great color on you! Your location choice is breath taking too. Just perfect!

  41. Thanks so much Cathe! I absolutely adore the Prince’s Street Gardens and the cathedral we took pictures at!!

  42. I’m a huge of fan of anything Joss Whedon has a hand in, adored Firefly, and was crushed when it was canceled. What an amazing dress you’ve made! I love everything about it.

  43. Thanks for reminding me of Firefly – I forgot I loved that show. I love that you’re in a fan club! This dress is absolutely stunning and a perfect match for the show- I was quite speechless when I first saw it! I’m constantly amazed at your beautiful creations.

  44. Oh wow! absolutely gorgeous! I can definately see Inara wearing this, such a fantastic job. I adore Firefly, they should so make another season! But then again they have alot to live up to at the moment so expectations on another season would be very high.

  45. I’m a big fan of Joss Whedon too–the show is absolutely brilliant!

  46. Thanks so much Amanda!! And thanks for the wonderful package! I cannot wait to make up that nightie–so elegant!

  47. They should definitely make another season–but you’re right–the expectations would be very high and I don’t think it would work unless they had everyone from the original cast!!

  48. I loved watching Firefly too! Joss Whedon is AMAZING!
    This fabric is really beautiful Debi, and looks really DIFFICULT to sew with, I’m so surprised!
    Is it warm enough not to wear a coat, or are you braving the cold here?

  49. The fabric was easy peasy…it’s a medium-weight silk and it doesn’t slink around at all (enough body to sew really easily with). I know, isn’t Joss Whedon Amazing? I love his work!
    It was unseasonably warm when taking these photos and I felt perfectly comfortable in the dress! I think I’ve completely acclimatized because it was around 17 degrees and I was hot!!! :)
    Loved your dress this week! You look so fab in 50’s style dresses!!

  50. OMGOMGOMGOGOMGOGMG. I love Firefly and I LOVE Inara – she is my fave. You look stunning in this dress!! Love the back – the “v” is perfect, and the gold contrast would get two regal thumbs up from the lady herself, I am sure! Very well done!

  51. giggle…most awesome-est comment. EVER. :)

  52. Wow! Debi – this is so beautiful and the back is such a cool detail!! If only we could rustle up captain Mal to come high five you for this… :O)

  53. It’s very majestic! I love all that you share on Scotland. My ancestors are Scottish so I take pride in all this beauty and thrilled to have Scottish blood!

  54. That would be AWESOME :)

  55. Wow Debi you are very clever and inspiring that fabric is darling. I’m embarrassed to say I have never watched Firefly or even heard of it my head is often jammed within the pages of books I shall surface and get on to it ha ha. Your photo’s are pretty amazing too.

  56. The dress is magnificent and the setting stunning as always!

  57. Both David and I have Scottish blood too (he’s fifth generation and I’m a bit more of a mutt but that includes Scottish and English ancestry)…it’s one of the things that definitely drew us here! they also have really good archives here if you ever plan a trip to look up your history!!

  58. Thanks Kazz! Definitely check it out when you get the’s a fun show!

  59. Thanks Adey! I absolutely adored your outfit this week! And I know I’ve posted this twice already but I CANT wait for yours and Mena’s patterns :)

  60. this dress is amazing! well done!! the back, in particular, is just stunning….
    we loved that show as well!

  61. This dress is absolutly stunning. Makes me want to see the show just to see the costumes!

  62. That’s on the list of things to do! I love ancestory! I have English blood too! I can see the appeal of Scotland, your pictures amaze me. All that history at your finger tips!

  63. You should definitely check out the show!!

  64. wow you look stunning! the colour is beautiful on you. and the fabric is lovely-I always see fabric like that and think “but hat would i make of it..?” And I LOVE firefly! Nathan is one sexy man, and I just love them all! Joss Whedon is a legend.