Hot! The Jason Wu 吳季剛 Bow Dress | Adey Lim

The Facts 

P7054453 Fabric: Edgy criss-cross border print and purple lining from stash, can't recall how much and where I got these from. The main fabric feels like cotton voile.
Pattern: Advance 3397
Year: c. 1943
Notions: Invisible zipper
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: July 2011
Wear again? Yes!

While going through the list of American designers, I decided to sew a dress inspired by a designer of Asian descent. I was tossed between Jason Wu and Wenlan Chia.  I was mesmerized by Wu's fresh take on vintage style but I also have a  copy of Twinkle Sews, Wenlan Chia's book with 25 sewing patterns out of which I have only sewed one tunic.  In the end, I decided to go with Wu who might have been famous for dressing the American first lady but the pieces that wowed me were these. His bow dresses, clearly with vintage influence but made with edgy fabrics and given a new look.


00080Off course, his use of border prints are just as amazing.

2008RTW1Drawing from these inspirations from his works, I selected a 1943 Advance V-neck bow dress pattern and a criss-cross fabric of red, purple, grey, navy blue and pink tones to create my take on his style. The fabric print looked somewhat like plaids but it isn't. It reminded me more of American painter Jackson Pollack's work of art where paint has been dripped onto canvases.

The unique fabric comes with a single side border print so I cut the skirt pieces such that they end at the selvedge. Once in a while, I love that there is no hem to stitch! The hem of the sleeves were also cut on the selvedge so I saved time on stitching these as well. For a little bit of contrast, the yoke of the dress was cut on the border print. 


I didn't read the instructions beforehand and it was only half way through the project that I realized the bow actually attached to the dress as a separate piece. Without it, the dress has a cute cowl neckline. Feels like it's pure 1940s pattern magic!

BowThis bow dress zips on the side and has a slight tucked in 'bloused' effect. Besides the adorable bow detail, I love the four pleats down the front of the skirt and how they sway when I walk :)



Adey Sew Convert

A former kids' television channel manager turned stay home mum from Singapore, I hated sewing since I attended my first home economic class at the age of 14. In 2007, something miraculous happened when God blessed me with a second pregnancy. I discovered that I was expecting a baby girl. That changed everything. First I went crazy shopping for handmade clothes for her on etsy. Then I decided I needed to make something for her on my own. I was a month from my due date when I took an intensive 8-hour sewing class. In Dec 2008, I made a dress for my princess before she was born and have not stopped sewing since.


Comments are closed.

  1. judy roberson

    Great job… I love your choice.. SO pretty and your shoes are just perfect for the dress. Happy Sewing.

  2. That is utterly darling!! Love the neckline/cowl/bow awesomeness.

  3. 40’s patterns all seem to have these quirky little details – they dont look too exceptional on the envelope but once you start sewing them, they reveal their cleverness. :-D
    Love that print too and the bow is so darling!

  4. Wonderful! I have loved the bow look ever since I saw a fun gold bow blouse on Sunni’s A Fashionable Stitch blog, but you took it up a notch here. Seriously great work.

  5. Just lovely – that bow is very pretty and the fabric is gorgeous.

  6. That is truly stunning. Your outfits keep getting better and better!

  7. Absolutely breathtaking dress! Love, love, love!

  8. It’s beautiful! I love those photos of Jason Wu too!
    This style is beautiful on you! I really have to try some 40s patterns! xoxo

  9. Lovely, just lovely…. the fabric in particular is wonderful and really works on you. Great job!

  10. I really really love this one Adey! .. and I love the concept of using edgy fabrics for more demure vintage patterns. I’m going to keep this in mind from now on. Makes the look so much more modern and wearable. No-one would guess this is a home made 40’s dress – go designer Adey!

  11. Fantastic dress! Love the fabric and the secret tie.

  12. Ahh this is lovely. The fabric is truly amazing, the coloration, how it flows, perfect for this dress. I love both versions with and without the bow. Jason Wu’s style is so smart and sophisticated in a such a refreshing way. I have a soft spot for Wenlan Chia and somehow found one of her dresses on sale, which now resides with me. I would say it’s modern vintage!
    Absolutely love everything about your dress!

  13. The selvedge hem is a brilliant idea…there’s a story in itself, what can you do with remnant selvedges? You could make trim for a fraction of what it cost wound up on a pretty spool at the fabric shop.

  14. How beautiful! That fabric is an amazing print. I especially love the clever neckline–such a great detail!

  15. Beautiful! I love it with and without the bow.

  16. How fun! Great fabric, great dress, great inspiration! This is fantastic!

  17. As always, I love the way you combine vintage design with modern fabrics! So classy!

  18. love it. it’s beautiful on you

  19. Oh, man, this is so gorgeous! You look amazing and I love the use of this bewitching fabric, it’s very clever!

  20. Adey you are amazing! your choice of designer suits you perfectly and your fabric choice is spot on, fab piccy’s too. LOVE IT!!

  21. margueritedesigns

    Very pretty and great interpretation.

  22. Oh, I love it! I think that’s one of my favourites of all the wonderful things you’ve made so far. :-)

  23. Thank you Judy! Happy sewing to you too :)

  24. Thanks Amanda:) The neckline/cowl/bow was such a pleasant surprise!

  25. Thanks Esz, you are so right! I’m so intrigued with 40s patterns now, can’t get enough of them kekeke. I love the shoes you have been pairing with your outfits esp those white/green ones from Miss L Fire shoes, gotta go check them out!

  26. Thank you so much for the sweet and encouraging words Amy:)

  27. Thank you so much Jessica:) Glad you like them!

  28. Thank you so much Catherine!

  29. Thank you babe! I think I’m hooked on 40s pattern :)

  30. Thank you Sally, your take on the Kelly Rowland dress is simply inspiring! I love it!

  31. Thank you Casey! You absolutely made my day and I think I’m gonna keep this in mind too:)

  32. Thank you so much MsCleaver!

  33. Thank you so much Cathe! Oh you lucky girl to have scored the Wenlan Chia dress! I absolutely adore the modern vintage look but it’s not so easy to find such edgy fabric so I will always impulse buy when I see them much to my hubby dismayal hahaha!

  34. What a wonderful idea! I am so gonna look at remnant selvedges differently from now on!

  35. Thank you so much Casey :)

  36. Thank you Liza Jane, I have not actually thought about wearing the dress out without the bow cos I love that detail so much but you are right, I might just go cowl one day with it:)

  37. Thank you so much Ali!

  38. Thank you Patricia, I am thrilled you like the combination:)

  39. adey, dammit. just DAMMIT. i want that. and i love your collage of tying the magical bow. but DAMMIT.

  40. This dress is fantastic! What a good idea to use an edgier fabric to make the 1940s dress seem so modern, and so similar to Jason Wu’s border print! I’m going to have to look for a similar pattern with that cowl neck/secret bow piece, it is too clever!

  41. Thank you so much Rhonda, glad you like my take on Jason Wu’s style:)

  42. Thank you Leah for your sweet and encouraging words!

  43. Thanks Kazz, thrilled that you like my take on Wu’s dress!

  44. Thanks dear, glad you like my interpretation of Wu’s style!

  45. This is utterly amazing! Everything- looks so fabulous :)

  46. Thank you fangaroni!  I hope you find an amazing pattern like this one too!

  47. Thank you for your sweet comment Kat!