Hot! A “Grease is the Word” Dress | Veronica Darling





The Facts

Fabric: wool blend with brown dots and silver flecks, gift from my friend 
Pattern: Simplicity 6161 (bodice pieces) and Simplicity 9959 (collar) and self drafted sleeves, $.50c each
Year: 1976 and 1981
Notions: buttons, gifted from my friend’s grandma
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: October 2011
Wear again? Yes, with more practical shoes!

Total Cost: ~$1

This week the inspiration is endless! I love musicals! My favourites are Cats, Cabaret, Chicago, Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Calamity Jane and stacks more! In a former life, I was known to “tread the boards” in several low key but fantastic theatre groups, so singalongs and dress ups are still things I like to do! 

So! For my opening number: “Finding the Frock” la la la! A few months ago, my friend posted me a link to the Fred Perry/ Amy Winehouse collection, that was due to be released around the time of the songstress’ death. It has now been released, and it’s a gorgeous and fitting collection to her memory, and I particularly adore this ’50s Micro Houndstooth Shirt Dress’! So hitting the High C’s I locked it in (to my pinterest feed) and stored it away for this Musical Week, BUT who wore such a little 1950s shirt dress?


A PINK LADY OF COURSE! Rizzo wasn’t really my favourite Pink Lady when I watched Grease growing up, I think I loved Jan the best (the dorky one!) but Rizzo sure has the best lines in the film! And Stockard Channing is a sizzle fest of a babe! As I was googling, I found a real ‘INTERESTING FACT’ about Stockard, and that she was 33 years old when she played Rizzo in the film! OMG! I’m 33! And that she passed the ‘Crow’s Feet’ test set by the director! Where was this director when Luke Perry played a High School student in 90210! OMG!

Rizzo wears ‘collars up’ really well, and combining her styling with the Fred Perry/Amy Winehouse dress, I used two Simplicity patterns from my stash and improvised a little on the sleeves! The fabric was a gift from my friend who often pops into a nearby Remants Shop on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, and it’s kinda woolie fabric with a lovely drape or hang to it! It’s soft charcoal, but with small brown dots, and tiny silver flecks through it like glitter! 


To make the dress, I extended the shirt bodice pieces about 30 centimetres, and shaped them slightly (for my hips!). It was a pretty straightforward dress until I got to the sleeves because I wanted to create some interesting cuff details (having two black pieces fold over each other at the shoulder) but instead I used one continous curved piece because my brain couldn’t figure out how to lap two pieces AND work with the concave/convex curve of the sleeve. Next time!

But buttons take so long!!!!!! Most of the time was sewing buttonholes and handstitching the little guys on; I guess after last week’s 1 hour dress it seems like eternity! BUT, it’s a gorgeous dress and I’m really pleased how it kinda looks like Rizzo and Amy Winehouse. Both ladies had loads of moxie!


And for the encore: beltless! I will probably wear it more this way, it’s super comfy as a shift dress!






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. OMG!!! I LOVE GREASE!! I have seen it so many times I’ve lost count. I don’t know how this didn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking of musicals?!?!? You look amazing in that dress! Very Stockard and Amy, I love them both so much!


    Great dress,,,

  3. What’s the name and address of the shop on Brunswick St? I’ll have to check it out next time I’m over that side of town… :)

  4. I’m with Wanett on this one. Fabulous look both with and without the belt. lol – still cold enough for the tights though.

  5. Its soooo cool!
    I especially like the sleeves! So it was well worth the effort!

  6. That’s fab, I had to laugh at the Crows feet test lol very funny. Rizzo and Amy inspired indeed. Fab job I say.

  7. I LOOOVE it Veronica, well done. I think I would wear it heaps without the belt. its not how long it takes, its how often you wear it.

  8. Awesome inspiration, I was singing some Grease last night, actually. The dress is very stylish :) Do you ever do tutorials on your hairdos? This is a great Gibson girl style!

  9. This post is one of the most interesting and entertaining I’ve read here. I enjoy all you talented ladies and your posts, but I really enjoyed this one for some reason. Love everything about it this week. :) I have never participated in any of the weekly challenges, but, oh my goodness, if I had access to my sewing machine this week (we are out of town) I would SO do this one! I love musicals.

  10. LOVE the dress! What a fabulous movie/musical to choose!

  11. You look adorable. This dress is so versatile, you will be able to wear it anywhere. Well done!

  12. You look terrific, and that is an inspired creation! I love the contrast collar and cuffs.

  13. Grease is my all time fave musical film and you make a gorgeous Rizzo! Love the dress and it looks great with or without belt!

  14. Hi Anna, it’s the Dangerfield/Alannah Hill warehouse on Brunswick Street, right near ‘The Fabric Shop’ (which is also good, but pricier), you go in through all the Alannah Hill accessories, up the stairs and turn right, you’ll see heaps of rolls of fabric up there. I’m sure you can google up Alannah Hill factory outlet, and it’ll show you the address xoxo
    Happy shopping! xoxo

  15. I haven’t done any tutorials before, maybe I should! I’ll also have to google up Gibson girl style now! I have a lovely Swedish hairdresser and she often wears her hair like this, so I tried to copy to get the ‘short hair’ look Rizzo has!

  16. Thank you Sara, you’re such a sweetie and it’s a lovely inspiring comment to read! Hope you get your sewing machine out and make every week a musical week!