Hot! The Wendy Bird Dress | Veronica Darling


image from 1.bp.blogspot.comThe Facts 

Fabric:  Two types of sweat shirt knit fabric, thrifted, approx $3
Pattern: Sew U Home Stretch, Built by Wendy, with self drafted bits
Year: 2008
Notions: None
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: to work, May 2011
Wear again? Yes, but without a beehive!

Total Cost: ~$3

Yay for the mums on Mother's Day! This week has been really fun for me, because a) My Mum is gorgeous and b) I love her a lot! Right now Mum & Dad are on a caravanning holiday, heading up to Queensland for my brother's wedding, so luckily before they left, Mum emailed some photos through. Since she's not a big 'photos on the internet' kinda gal, let me please introduce Wendy (with quite possibly her online debut):

  IMG_0003 - Version 2

Mum grew up all over Australia, as the family moved around a lot, but in her later teens they settled in Sydney, our biggest city. It was the late 1960s, and from stories and seeing photos of my mum dresses up like this, I always thought there were heaps of parties and dances and fun 'city' things! Remembering that I grew up in the country, where not a LOT happened!

Something very serendipidous happened upon choosing my pattern this week that I've ONLY just worked out, by thinking of the title of this post today. Mum's name is Wendy and I chose a Built by Wendy pattern to base my dress on. Amazing!

Mum's photos show her wearing lots of flattering shapes and silhuettes for a petite figure, the shaped or darted bust, the flared skirt, the waistbands to show off a skinny waist. I settled on the purple colour, and wanted to do some colour blocking since I've been watching Project Runway and they always talk about it. I also didn't have enough darker purple knit to do the whole dress, and I'm committed to using my stash. I've only visited the fabric store once this year (For my Grace Jones lookalike dress) and it confused me! Endless restrictions make a tougher challenge, but I'm determined!

The changes to the Built by Wendy patterns (using something like the blue dress on the book's cover, as a base) was to cut the front bodice piece shorter, making a scoopey shape (like Mum in the black and white photo) for the waistband (& raising the front skirt piece a tad), and adding a cowl neck like the first photo. Initially, I did want to add sleeves (as it's getting cold in Melbourne!) but I didn't have enough dark material and I didn't think the lighter purple would be right.

I also flared the skirt a little bit, but I'm not so sure if this was a good idea with this fabric? What do you think? You can probably see that both Mum and I share a love of short skirts, so I'm kinda thinking I could possibly cut it back a couple of inches, and it might feel a bit better.

The dress is cute, but feels a little limiting as to what I can pair it with and for stretch fabric it does crease an awful lot! The Built by Wendy patterns and instructions, however, are so great, and I'm SO happy with the changes I've made. Seriously using stretch knit makes it SO easy and quick!


Here's a 'Hipstermatic' photo Husbie took on the iphone to look like 1968! I'll put the rest of these vintage looking ones on my blog this week!

I was eating my breakfast! LOLZ! See you next week!


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. love it! you look amazing! and you Mum is adorable! The dress is just perfect for your inspiration. The colour is fab and looks great with those shoes. I like it without sleeves.

  2. I love it, and your hair looks awesome! Nice staircase too.

  3. Great dress. The colour blocking worked well (sleeves might have been a bit much). I hope you can work out seperates to go with it as it would be a shame to leave it in the wardrobe. I reckon there is a fair resembalance to your Mum too.

  4. It looks great on you! I have that book and think it might be time to use it. Did you use a serger or sewing machine?

  5. Fabulous dress!! Your mum is so glamorous! I really love that first dress she is wearing!! I love your interpretation and I think the colour blocking is awesome! I’m scared to sew with knits! You’ll have to do a blog post on your process of sewing with them. I’ll have to check out that book too!!!

  6. margueritedesigns

    Looks great on you and I love that top stitched hem which works really well with the lilac middle section.

  7. What a fabulous knit dress! Love the color blocking and those shoes are yummy!

  8. Your mom looks so stylish and so do you. That first dress she’s wearing is gorgeous. Your version reminds me of Daphne, on Scooby-Doo in a good way :)

  9. I love it all. The photos of your Mom are so great and we can see where you get your good looks. I love the dress and I think sleeves would have detracted unless they had been the same dark purple. The length is perfect, I think. And the shoes, where did you get the cute shoes? Well you have done it again, another beautiful dress. Oh and the Wendy pattern/instruction books are great.

  10. oh, i love the flare in the skirt! the whole dress is so chic and the color blocking is wonderful. and your hem looks perfectomundo.

  11. I don’t have the Built by Wendy Stretch book..but I should given how much I love to sew with knits and jerseys. Maybe I’ll get it out of the library first?

  12. your mom is a total doll! i lovelovelove her dress in the first picture. your dress turned out perfect and i think she would definitely approve :)

  13. Veronica, you and your mom look so much alike, both such hip girls! This weeks dress is great, classy yet comfy sweat shirt material!
    Love your setting too. Actually I always love your settings and the post work you do on your photos, they have a lovely dream quality, so engaging!

  14. This dress is amazing – I love it! I love how you’ve used inspiration from a number of photos and drafted bits of your own to bring it together into one dress! Look at clever you drafting things! It also looks like hemlines are hereditary! And…. are they new shoes?? I missed Shoesday this week!

  15. Thanks Casey, I’m glad I went without sleeves too… the lighter purple would have looked weird.

  16. Thank you all round Rachelle!

  17. Thank you Jen, I thought we looked similar in some of the photos too!
    I wore a red cardigan (with black tights and boots) with it to work, and it seemed to work ok, and was warm enough. It’s kinda cosy!

  18. I used the serger/overlocker for all seams but used a zigzag stitch for the hem but a straight stitch top stitch for the arm holes.
    Thanks Elizabeth, and I’d totally try out some of her patterns, Wendy has a great way of explaining how to use her patterns with or without a serger.

  19. Oh! Thanks Debi!
    Knits feel scary at first, but after you try it once, you’re like 30 minutes to make a dress? WTF! When I get some time next month, I’ll write up a few knit types!

  20. Thank you Marguerite, glad you noticed! xoxo

  21. I love my shoes! Thanks Adey!

  22. OMG, I know what you mean! Thanks Lisette, I think Mum is pretty stylish too! Then and now! xoxo

  23. Thank you Sue, really appreciate all your lovely comments!
    The shoes are imitation Melissa (Vivienne Westwood often designs for them – the real company) and unfortunately I bought them on impulse off ebay because they matched another purple dress I made for a wedding last year. I didn’t realise they were fakes, just that they arrived on time for the wedding. OOPS.

  24. THANK YOU OONA! You are the Queen of Knits, so I’ll take that as a compliment! Yay! Best day ever!

  25. Yep, get it from the library and test it out! I’ve copied over the bodice pieces to more durable paper, because I’ve seriously made that many dresses (for myself and friends) from this book!

  26. Thank you Lauren! She sent me a text today saying she’s seen the post, and loves it! She loves reading Sew Weekly!

  27. Thank you Cathe!
    When I have a little time up my sleeve, I’d like to write up a ‘Photo taking’ suggestions in the Sewing Circle! There’s a few tips that I’ve learnt this year, and that Husbie has helped me with, that I can pass on! xoxo

  28. Thank you Amanda! Not new shoes (see my comment above on Sue’s note), but still nice ones!

  29. I would love a photo taking/Photoshop tutorial from you! I will look forward to that!

  30. EEEP! You look amazing – what a wonderful tribute to your mother’s 1960s style!

  31. You know what? I’m going to invest in that book!! hehe your dress is magic!! I love it and I like that you flared the skirt too. Your mum is a classy dame and you’ve followed just nicely in her footsteps. FABULOUS I say.

  32. Oh, I love this so much! This may be my favorite thing you have made so far. I love the colors and your inspiration! Fabulous style and I love your shoes as usual :) Well done!

  33. Thanks Kazz, yeah I think I like the skirt shape now!

  34. Thank you Meg, you are such a sweetie!