Hot! The Pulitzer Prize Dress | Veronica Darling


P1070398The Facts

Fabric: Vintage curtains x 2, $5 (and green cotton scraps for the neckline facing)
Pattern: Butterick 3802 & McCalls 8821  Year: Not sure for the Butterick, but 1967 for the McCall's Notions: Zipper from the stash
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: July 2011, to work & to a concert
Wear again? Yep, but under warmer climes

 Total Cost: ~ $6


I've been trying to think of what the overall 'theme' was for me this week. I settled on American designer Lilly Pulitzer, I thought up my dress, chose the fabric, made it up, wore it out on Saturday night, waited for the sun to come out (which it never did), then froze in a dreary early morning photoshoot. So no really connection through my sewing week, other than contradictions perhaps! My designer is very 'summer' and my town is VERY 'winter' at the moment!

I needed American Designers 101! Whilst I have seen a lot of Project Runway (US Version!), I actually can't remember designers too well. I'm getting better but, honestly, I remember Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors (from PR) but I couldn't pick their designs if I saw them down the street. DUR. Needing some references, I asked the Sew Weekly girls, and fantastically they gave me heaps of suggestions for this weeks challenge and I thought I'd research like crazy (AKA google on my lunch break) to find the right designer.


And it was Lilly Pulitzer that seemed the logical fit! Mena suggested a lot of my creations already suited that vibe, and having now swatted up on the latest Pulitzer summer range, I believe it's the vintage bedsheets & curtains I often sew with that have a really similar colour palette, and a lot of my 60s and 70s patterns mirror the Pulitzer silhoutte. If you have followed my Sew Weekly pinterest feed, you'd have seen a few of these beachy styles pop up. Bell sleeves, tailored/darted waistlines, beach or resort florals. I have been researching!

I used the bodice and skirts pieces from Butterick 3802 (widening the neckline to more boatlike) and the bell sleeves from McCall's 8821 and changed (once again) the back zipper to the side. It's seriously my favourite place for a zipper at the moment (it was the Colette Patterns that got me!) and since I didn't have an invisible one in the stash, I just used a normal one and made it as invisible as I can.

Lilly Pulitzer's prints are bold, often floral, and quite nostalgic. I chose this second hand curtain (in two 1 metre x 1 metre pieces) from my stash for I felt it was kinda Lilly, but kinda Veronica Darling as well. The fern and butterfly pattern will be a perfect summer time dress but I think it fits with our wintertime. We've been so lucky in Melbourne with some gorgeous blue sky days, but I've been waiting since the weekend, and there's just doom and gloom out there during daylight hours, so apologies for the starkness of my photos! I still think you can see the dress ok!


This photo shoot was riddled with 'I'm freaking freezing' grins, so luckily I had a few 'relaxed' faces there! I love the shape around the middle, and the bell sleeves are EXACTLY what I had in mind, and it's rather nice fabric. I used the existing hem of the curtains (after measuring a million times, just in case it didn't match up, skirt front/skirt back, but it did!) and blind hemmed the bell sleeves!

I reckon it has turned out quite Lilly Pulitzer, but I'm sorry to say I didn't really find out anything more about her. Do we know if she is related to the Pulitzer Prize somehow? I imagine her holidaying a LOT to have these kind of designs, so I imagine she's constantly wearing sunglasses!

And how did I REALLY wear it to work?


With heaps of layers of course!

Happy Indepence Day to all you Americans!



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. * Independence Day – Happy Birthday – etc! OOPZ TYPO

  2. Tablecloths, pillowcases and now curtains, you never fail to amaze me:) And that is one good looking vintage curtain, love the green and the dress is absolutely adorable on you, as always!

  3. Cute! I would have never guessed you were that cold in the pictures, you look absolutely radiant :-)

  4. So cute. I know when I’m having winter your having summer but since I’m in summer now I feel so bad for you! I hope your dress warms you up at least in your imagination.

  5. What a great dress and fabric! Lily or no Lily it’s great and looks very Veronica to me!

  6. i LOVE how you wore it to work.
    this dress is awesome. i’m stumped on american designers too; looks like you landed on one i’d love!

  7. I LOVE this dress – it turned out fantastic!

  8. I adore this dress!

  9. ooooohh gorgeous! specially with that delicious coat :)

  10. This one is adorable! I like how the print freshens it up so that it manages to pull off longer sleeves without looking frumpy– I’ve found that’s hard to do with dresses!

  11. sweet dress, and I love the winter layering.

  12. Oh I love it, and what a great silhouette on you. A to the amazing!

  13. Those are the cutest curtains I’ve ever seen!! I LOVE this dress, and the pattern-frankensteining you did to make it happen! What concert did you wear it to? I love the layered look too – much better for current Melbourne weather and the prevention of “take the freaking photo already I’m freaking freezing” face syndrome :) xx