Hot! The “Garden Tour” Dress

The Facts

FabricGood Life Collection Organic Bird Floral Spring from, $26; Slipper Satin Pink from $2.50
Pattern: Butterick 5206, $1.99
Year: Contemporary
Notions: none
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$30

When pulling together “Make This Looks,” there’s no greater feeling than finding the exact fabric available online. For the Garden Tour Dress, it’s Sew Weekly contributor, Christi, not me, who gets the credit for the perfect find.

As soon as I saw that the fabric was available, I snatched up three yards. The original pattern I listed in the “Make This Look” was Butterick 5030. While I think that this pattern would be a good approximation of the original inspiration (with some sleeve modifications), I decided to work with a pattern that was already in my stash: Butterick 5206.

Since “Make This Look” is all about giving folks information on how to, well, make a look, I’m going to go into more construction detail than I usually do for this creation.

So first things first. Having sewn so religiously for the past two years, I’ve abandoned reading all instructions included with the patterns. Unless the instructions are very detailed and clear (like Colette Patterns), I find that I get more confused with them than without them. Any sort of tips I give here, may be completely contrary to the pattern instructions. Just keep that in mind.

The fabric. The pattern called for moderate stretched knits. Well, this fabric isn’t a stretched knit, but it had a slightly  decent stretch. I took my chance making it up with the fabric despite it failing the pick-a-knit stretch test provided on the pattern envelope. Instead of picking a knit, I cut the pattern one size bigger to be on the safe side. This worked out perfectly. While a jersey or stretch knit would give this dress a nice hang, for the dress I wanted to make, the cotton was sufficient.

The bodice. I didn’t make the bias contrast that the pattern called for since I didn’t plan on having any contrast fabric on the belt, bottom of the skirt and neckline. Instead I cut one bias strip and that was sufficient. I also stitched the left and right sides together down the cross-over portion. I don’t know about you, but when I wear wrap dresses and tops, one of my breasts always seems to be making a break for it. The stitching made the top quite secure.

The sleeves. To be more of a cap sleeve, I doubled the hem of the sleeves. In theory, I should have just cut them shorter. I didn’t but would do that next time. Without this modification, the sleeves are significantly longer than the modcloth dress.

The sash. My sash is detachable. I simply have the bodice and skirt sewn together and use the sash as a belt. This way I can skip the sash when wanting a little more casual look. Plus, it saved me work. That said, the sash took more time to make than the dress! As my original instructions in the “Make This Look,” I used the wrong side of the fabric as the right side. I just didn’t want a satiny shine. The matte fabric, I think looks so much better. To make the sash, I used 1/2 yard of the satin. I cut three pieces, two the same width and the other twice as wide. The twice as wide piece was then sewn together, turned inside-out and pleated. I took the other two pieces and joined them to the sash on either side. Okay, I don’t write pattern instructions for a reason. Here’s an illustration that may explain it better:

In the photos, the sash is a bit wonky-looking. It just needed to be adjusted.

The zipper. Oh snap, there ain’t no zipper!

The skirt. No modifications were made, but I am wearing a petticoat underneath.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. Oh this is just perfect! I have serious envy. I’m glad I could help you find the exact fabric. :D

  2. Beautiful dress Mena! A great Make This Look!

  3. You definitely ‘made that look’ exactly. Pretty dress and very good instructions. I love how your styling gives it a real vintage fee. Hat and shoes are ideal.

  4. Where did you find that sunshine? Sun or not, you light up the screen. Great dress, and beautiful photos.

  5. Very cute!! I’m looking this pattern up as we speak, or type.

  6. So so purdy! I love that you have the perfect sunglasses to match!

  7. Oh, this is gorgeous! The colours are so perfect on you and I love the styling!

  8. This is super lovely! And such cute accessories :D

  9. Fabulous! So great to see one of the ‘Make this look’ in real life…I just love this! I know what you mean about sashes taking FOR-EVER…the teal dress I made for NYC had a sash…that took ages…but it’s so nice to have and use when you feel like it!

  10. So pretty! I love your hat.

  11. Gorgeous!!! The fabric is so pretty and summery. I love it!

  12. Perfect! You really did it well; this is exactly why I started sewing!

  13. Very pretty! I just love the styling!

  14. Wow you set the bar high! Great dress and your photos astound me :-/

  15. Such a beautiful dress! I love the fabric and I love the pairing of the hat with it. Despite the fact we’re having awful weather right now, you look Spring ready!

  16. Love your dress and entire ensemble Mena!

  17. It’s lovely Mena! The outfit is so fresh and springy… Yet another MTL I’ll be adding to my pinterest account. :)

  18. Oh, Mena, this is amazing! You look gorgeous, and I love this. I have the same wrap related issue, who are these women whose breasts are obedient? Mine are like bad children. It’s an issue. This is so lovely, and the hat, oh, the hat!

    • Thank, Leah. Yeah, those breasts. Wrap dresses will never agree with me unless I take drastic stitching measures. The women with obedient breasts are the same that can wear tank tops without bras. Lucky bastards!

  19. That colour scheme just really suits you – you look very lovely.

  20. I love clicking on the sew weekly and seeing your gorgeous smile and i loved reading that you ditch instructions, phew! me too. This is a smashing dress, you ARE the queen of vintage sewing even though this is a contemporary pattern you make it look so.

  21. Fantastic! Really impressive that the same fabric could be found and it looks just like the Modcloth version.

  22. This is super adorable! I’m having the hardest time with the Colette Crepe dress because I worry the sash makes me look too young, but you’ve pulled off the contrast sash so well here. I can’t wait until I’m fully settled in my new apartment so I can get my sewing stuff out of storage and start working on these challenges! Must stay patient…ugh.

    • Thanks, Amanda. When I was making this dress, I kept on saying “I’m too old for sashes. I’m too old for sashes.” Oh well, I like sashes.

  23. Love the styling with hat and specs – looks rather Dita-esque! Great make.

  24. We made the same look! And how different they are…especially since you matched the fabric. Your version is lovely. Makes me want to order that fabric and make the dress all over again.