Hot! Double Collared Licorice Dress

The Facts

Fabric: A slippery, drapey, geometric print named ‘Bunga Cinta’ (Flower of Love in Bahasa Malaysia) at RM5.90/USD1.80 a yard (after 70% off), 2 yards.  Most probably polyester.  Malaysian fabric stores prioritize on the name of the fabric collection rather than accurately spelling out the fiber contents; and the salesmen are also ditto about these details.  Off-white Lining Fabric to line the dress (yay to another lined dress!)
Pattern: Licorice Pattern from the Colette Sewing Handbook (the handbook has such ‘yummy’ pattern names!)

Year: 2011
Notions: Basic Zipper and Covered Buttons
Time to complete: About 10 hours
Make This Look Inspiration From: ModCloth Magnetic Personality Dress

First worn: 22 Jan 2012 for Chinese New Year Eve celebrations
Wear again? Yes! I like how this dress is comfortable and the dress just skims over my curves and the tie belt gives the right amount of shape to the body.
Total Cost (excluding Colette Handbook): Approximately RM16/USD5


I was browsing and it appeared to me that the collar of this dress is so much like the famous Licorice pattern.  I have seen a few completed Licorice dresses online sewn with solids; and the dresses featured in the book and Colette’s blog are all in solids as well.

Previously I was really wondering if I made a huge mistake choosing a busy print for my version. I was feeling very insecure and not confident as the dress was nearing completion, I suspected that I will not like this dress in the end as I have always associated the Licorice with solid colours; and already regretting that I was such a rebel to use a busy print. But when I tried it on for the second time I realized that I really like it; this is what my good seamstress friend used to call as ‘Let the Dress Simmer’.

It was really a nice coincidence that I chanced upon this modcloth version and it gave me the idea to ‘break’  the busy print by adding another collar made with leftover purple lining cloth underneath the main collar.  The purple covered cottons on each side of the collar also provided good contrast and lent a hint of cuteness to the dress.  I sewed the purple collar according to the original seam allowance of the collar pattern piece; but added another 1cm seam allowance to make the smaller collar piece in busy print.

For this challenge, it’s my first time using slippery and drapey fabric, as I have only sewn using the good old easy-to-sew cotton/blends to-date.    I referred to this useful tutorial to cut the slinky fabric, it does help!    Another tip to generously use pins..and more pins to hold your fabric in place before joining the seams  I noted that it is tougher to set a sleeve using slinky fabric compared to the good old cotton.

Thoughts on the Pattern + Instructions:-

I cut a size 2 from the Licorice pattern but sewed a 1cm seam allowance instead of the normal 1.5cm.  For modesty sake, I also lengthened the skirt, I usually do not have do this with my other patterns as I am only 158cm tall, but the original style is meant to be above the knee.  This is really a cute pattern with a retro twist (the boat neck collar) and puffed sleeves are so darling (one has to use drapey fabric to enjoy the effect).

The Colette Sewing Handbook has instructions on how to sew lining to the main dress using a sewing machine. I have made 4 other lined dresses using patterns and instructions from McCalls and Butterick which calls for handstitching the lining – after attaching the lining to the dress on the neckline, they recommend to machine sew the centre back seam beneath the zipper, then hand slip stitch the rest of the lining to the main fabric (i.e. slip stitch lining to the edge of the zipper and around the armscyes).  Colette on the other hand recommends: After attaching lining to the neckline, turn the lining and dress so the right sides of both dress and lining meet each other; and sew the lining to the edge of the zipper using your sewing machine (take care not to catch the main dress) – the last step is to join the remaining center back seam of the lining beneath the zipper.  This eliminates the need for hand stitching your lining!


Last but not least, I would like to wish all Sew Weekly Readers a Happy Chinese New Year 2012 of the Dragon!



Sertyan is a full time working mother from Malaysia with a 2.5 year old daughter (fondly nicknamed 'Little Terror'). She started sewing for Little Terror 1.5 years ago and she was hooked on making clothes ever since. All she thinks about constantly is sewing! She has started to sew for herself in the last 6 months. Before making human clothes, she used to sew for her Japanese dolls. You can see all her sewing creations at


Comments are closed.

  1. This is lovely. The print is elegant and I do like the second collar as it allows the top collar not to fade into the dress.

  2. I really like your fabric choice! It’s very retro. You always do such a wonderful execution on the looks that you make for yourself. You’ve inspired me to think more about lining and to use it more often. I love your photos this week. They really make the dress pop!

    • Hi Barbara!

      I am very happy that you noticed my ‘style’ of sewing. As much as I like to see my completed dress as soon as possible, I try to slow down and make sure the insides look as good as the outside, so that it will be a garment that I will wear frequently. I am hooked on lining now!

  3. I love the fabric! It adds such a fun twist to the dress.

  4. Sertyan,

    This is a lovely dress! It’s wonderful, really really wonderful! I love the fabrics you used and the buttons at the top of the collar. It all came together so nicely! I love your pictures too this week, so lush and tropical verses my miserable snow. Enjoy your Chinese New Years celebration! I bet you received many complements on your beautiful dress!

  5. This is great! The fabric totally makes your dress and the collar contrast is too cute!

  6. Love it! I think I prefer Liquorice in a print than in solids after seeing your version – and the contrast collar really makes the details jump. The dress has just jumped my queue.

  7. I made my Licorice in a vintage Liberty lawn — it is paisley all over. Yes, it’s busy but I adore it so much! I love Licorice — I think it is a classic dress and yours is amazing! That second collar is wonderful; you are a pro!

  8. Sertyan, you did a beautiful job on this! So happy for you.

  9. Wow – what a great dress, and a fabulous fabric. The contrast collar and buttons are a wonderful detail. It drapes well, and looks so elegant on you!

  10. What a lovely dress! I adore your collar addition and the fabric you used is so fun!

  11. So cute! Glad you let it simmer, because it looks great in a print. Happy Year of the Dragon!

  12. Really lovely! I love that you spotted the potential for the Modcloth dress in the Liquorice pattern.

  13. What a great fun print! Looking forward to making my own Licorice now!