The “Accessorize with Anything” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton with 3% Lycra ($8 on sale @ $2 per yard)
Pattern: Simplicity 2247
Year: 2010
Notions: Metal buttons, $3
Time to complete: 10 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? I think so.

Total Cost: ~$11

Is it bad to decide a dress around an accessory you don’t even own yet? Because that’s what I did this week – made a back-to-class dress to go with the new bag I was hoping for as a birthday present, and lo! The birthday present showed up early!

But really, this is a basic dress that accessorizes with pretty much anything. The blue pinstripe and pattern were both in my stash, and the pattern is one that I’d like to use for my Make this Look later this month so it was a chance to work it up before busting out the more expensive wool crepe.

For such a basic outfit though, this took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish. I basted together a fitting stage. I put the facings in, didn’t like them, took them out and made my own. In the meantime I tore the bodice and had to cut another one (fortunately I had an extra yard of fabric). I basted the zipper in, realized I didn’t need it, and took it out and sewed up the back. I set the sleeves several times before finally figuring out what was going wrong with them.Now that it’s all done, the neckline is a little gapey – owing mostly to the stiffness of the fabric I used.

But still, this dress is a victory for several reasons: 1) I used stash fabric 2) I lined the pinstripes up properly 3) I learned how to do sleeves on unforgiving material and 4) even with all the hiccups along the way I didn’t get overly frustrated (well, until the very very end…..) And I very much like the style and fit of this dress, so I’m hoping that when I use the pattern again (in a totally different way) it will be much quicker to put together. Seriously, I can shave at least five hours off by omitting the fitting stage, the zipper and not putting pockets or multiple buttons on the damn thing.

In the end I have a dress I will most likely wear with my tall Dayton boots around the neighbourhood – perhaps even to class this Wednesday.  I really like the pinstripes and would love to make a dress out of proper suiting material so the drape is nicer. Projects for another day.

One more goal I have this year is to take better self-portraits. I’m off to a bit of a bumpy start here, I know, but I’m hoping for improvements along the way. Sadly, I didn’t any great shots that included the accessory and my fabulous boots – but I do love the following photo for the “what is going on with my face” effect:

The bag btw is Matt and Nat’s “Clyde” made from paper material. I love their bags immensely, my last one died after five years so it was time for a replacement. Just in time for this project!



Megan Eliza is almost forty and lives in Vancouver, BC. Love, home, sewing, craft, writing, grad school, gardening, cooking and even sometimes politics are what make her life joyous and complete!


Comments are closed.

  1. I have a few Amazing Fit patterns, but haven’t opened them yet; I guess the promise of “Amazing Fit” makes such high expectations that I know I will be disappointed! Yours, however, looks great, so you may have swayed me ;) And that last photo? I love seeing pictures from Vancouver in the winter with visible GREEN living things! Everything here is white. Or rather, off white from slush and salt.

    (Non-sewing related question: do you do raised square foot gardening? It looks like it from the background. I have some improvised beds in the back yard, but this spring I would really love to make some more presentable ones for the front of the house from which everyone can graze. What kind of corner braces have you used?)

  2. Wow. I think it’s amazing that you were able to infer raised-bed square foot gardening from my very messy winter garden background shot. No, it’s not covered in snow, but it’s pretty dampy-damp out there. For more photos of this garden in actual life check out my flickr collection: To make those boxes I basically just used cedar fence planking (1 inch thick, six inches wide, four feet long)and joined with these hinges: – they are a tad expensive – but they will last forever and when a plank rots out it is easy to unscrew and add another plank in. I am a huge advocate of raised beds in general, and the square foot gardening has really worked for me, though I do have to top the boxes up each year because a lot of soil leeches out.

    As for the dress – the fit was better than I expected and I didn’t have to do too much adjusting at all. I have pretty standard proportions and my one oddity (narrower back than front) is always easily taken care of by taking in the centre seam. I’m planning on using this pattern again for my Make this Look so I’ll be curious to see how it works with a more ammenable/drapier fabric.


  3. This is a great dress for accessorizing, I wish I had thought of doing one that would go with a number of things!

  4. Ah, Lee Valley. Of course! We don’t have Lee Valley in Quebec (because they won’t translate the catalogues or labels into French, so they are forbidden by the language police. Don’t get me started…..) I’ll take a look next time I’m in Ottawa.