Hot! The “How Green Was My Button” Dress

Fabric: 4 yards green flowered cotton, 1 white bed sheet used for flat – lining

Pattern: Colette’s Ceylon Dress

Year: c. 2011
Notions: 16 buttons, Rit Forest Green Dye, dark green piping
Time to Complete: 14 hours (my longest project to date!)
First Worn: January 2012
Wear Again: Definitely when it is warmer!

Total Price: $9


Friends, I have a minor Pinterest addiction, so when I came across this fabulous tutorial on how to dye buttons the exact color you wanted, I knew I found a great skill to try for this challenge. I’ve never worked with dye before, but I imagined it as an experience that resembled an extreme makeover: watch as these plain white buttons from my stash because dark green emeralds of delight!  I worked cleanly and quickly…but each time I put the buttons in the dye bath, I became horribly disappointed.  After four attempts at dyeing and knowing that I had pushed my luck far enough in not covering my kitchen in green liquid, I called it a day and accepted these buttons for the mossy bits of disappointment that they are.


Truly, the buttons are the only thing I’m unsure about on this dress.  Once it was finished, I was completely stunned by how much I loved wearing it!  I love the cut and style of this dress – definitely another winning pattern from the Colette Patterns company and I highly recommend it!  While I am not sure I can devote the 14 hours I worked on this dress to any other project, I knew that for this dress to turn out the way I envisioned, I was going to have to take my time.  This meant I left out my normal shortcuts.  I basted the piping onto the uninterfaced pieces before sewing the seam.  I did the hem by hand. I flat-lined each piece to give the appearance of modesty.  Most importantly, I did not rush through the buttonholes, and WOW are there a lot of buttonholes.  I tuned out and watched Downton Abbey while hand sewing buttons because it was the right thing to do.

This might be one of my favorite dresses I’ve made, and I think it’s largely due to the fact that I took my time, I paid attention to detail, and it came out exactly the way I hoped. The weather for pictures, however, was NOT what I had hoped at all ….

Below zero degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill, y’all!  Hope you are keeping warm where you are!


Meg the Grand

Megan Grandstaff was thrown into the sewing world in 2005. Ever since that fateful day, she has been eager to increase her skills and reduce her (quite large) fabric stash.


Comments are closed.

  1. Fantastic! I am loving the pattern and fabric you chose.

  2. I love this dress, and I can’t believe you went outside in it! That’s dedication. :)

  3. I’ve loved that Ceylon pattern for a while now, but have been intimidated by it. You did a wonderful job! Is that piping? And buttonholes with dyed buttons? All of that detail paid off.

    • Thanks Najah! I definitely dyed the buttons and added the piping for a little bit of flair. I was completely intimidated by it, too! All those buttonholes were tough, but I used colored chalk to outline exactly where they were going to go while the dress was pinned on my dress form. I think that was a big help in the end!

  4. Wow! It really pays off when you slow down and pay attention to detail because your dress turned out so nice. I’m a big fan of piping and I think it really added the right amount of contrast for your green print fabric. That’s very interesting about the buttons, I had no idea you could dye them. I’ll have to look that up.

    • Thanks Barbara! I definitely think I’ll try dyeing buttons again in the future – you only need so many white ones, right?? I love piping too! It just adds a nice little pop to any outfit :)

  5. Great dress and I love the green piping. I didn’t know you could dye buttons. I’ll have to look that up.

  6. Wow! I have never really clicked with any of the Ceylon dresses I have seen sewn but this is truly stunning! Well done :D

  7. That is one fabulous dress, the piping makes it and i just love how the collar stands up

  8. Love love love the dress! Think i might just have to buy a Colette Pattern now. I love the piping detail! Thanks for the dye link!
    And while you might be frezzing your butt off there im sweating mine off here!

  9. You look like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth in this dress – beautiful piping and great dress all round.

  10. I love the close-up detail shot of this.

  11. Meg! this is serious, you sewed the Ceylon and you won, I think your sewing skills have improved sevenfold, you’ve stepped up a whole new and exciting level you can really tell you spent the hours on her. Well done clever lady pants.

  12. That looks great. I love the pattern and you did such a good job putting it together.

  13. Ceylon still inimidates me. Congrats on defeating it, and with such style!

  14. Meg, this is absolutely gorgeous, girl! Love love love it! That piping, that fabric, and it fits you perfectly. A well spent 14 hours, in my opinion. :-)

  15. Love your work Meg! It’s beautiful.
    And I love the use of the piping in the neckline & down the front.
    I’ve been too intimidated to try the Ceylon yet, it’s all those button holes that scare the beejeebeez out of me….

  16. Well worth the time and effort– you look amazing in your well-made dress. I even like the moss green buttons; had no idea you could dye them. Stay warm!

    • Thanks Lee!! That’s why I love Pinterest so much – I find out so many things there! (Quite possibly more than I will ever use, but still…it’s good to know, right?) :)

  17. Super cute! Makes me wish it was spring…or St. Paddy’s day! :)

  18. I love your Ceylon dress, so classy with the piping! I have this pattern and bought pale yellow fabric for it, would love to make it in time for our warm weather months. Love, love, love your shoes too! And that pose at the end – you are NUTS to be out there in the cold, but well worth it for that photo! ;)

  19. Your Ceylon is great! I swear Rit dye is never as vibrant as one would like, no matter the water temp, time or vinegar.

  20. I too am additcted to Pinterest! I don’t know what I would do with out it… and am now adding in that fab tutorial on dying buttons. I am sorry that it didn’t work for you and your green buttons. But I think they look perfect as a mossy green…. It really makes your piping pop.

    Talk about cold!!! I know just how you feel my fellow Windy City gal. :)