Hot! The “Red Satchel” Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Cotton print (2 yd.) from Walmart, $4.44/yd
Pattern: Butterick 5450 (Dress C)
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Invisible zipper, optional blanket binding from stash
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: January 2012
Wear again: Maybe, if I fix the botched zipper job!
Total price: $10

I love handbags. I have amassed quite a collection over the years, ever since my aunt gave me my first real handbag in college: a Coach shoulder bag. Now I love a well-made bag with great materials, shiny hardware, and beautiful stitching. When I was in Iraq with the Army, I spotted a bright red Dooney & Bourke bag online (the Priscilla satchel) that I knew I must have. It reminded me of the Hermes Birkin! To celebrate my promotion to Captain, I bought it for myself and it ‘met’ me when I got home from deployment.

My handbags!

The problem is, I don’t have enough bright, coordinating pieces in my wardrobe to do this bag justice. Sadly, despite my love for it, I have only carried the bag once or twice as a result. So I decided to let the bright color inspire me to create a dress that would go hand-in-hand with the bag!

Confession time: I’m still a beginner. This was my 3rd dress and 4th garment ever, and I love it… except for the zipper. Does anyone else have this problem? The whole thing looks acceptable to me, except for the hideous job I did on the side zipper, which is visible if you know where to look. It was such a ghastly job I had to add the dreaded hook and eye to the top to hold it all together. Even though it was marked as ‘Very Easy’, the pattern took me a while. But I love the silhouette and pleating, so I can guarantee you will see me making this again sometime, in a different print and style!

Oh, and another confession: I didn’t fix the zipper because I got hooked on Downton Abbey on my Netflix. So I finished the dress by brute force quickly so I could watch it!

Next time I’ll go outside and take some nice, styled photos.

My cat snuck into picture time... couldn't resist posting it!



Aubrey started sewing in December 2010, and shortly after purchased her first sewing machine! Still a beginner, she is ready to learn more with every challenge. Aubrey is an Iraq veteran and fashion-loving blogger who loves to cook; she's also a chatterbox who can't wait to dive headfirst into the Sew Weekly community.


Comments are closed.

  1. Awesome colors! I think you did a great job and don’t worry about the zipper, it takes a few garments to get the hang of zippers and to make them look ok. And I’m liking that Birkin look-a-like, one can never have too many great handbags!

  2. That shade of green and the red go so well together!

  3. This is a great color combination! Absolutely pretty.

  4. Fantastic dress …. and I LOVE your bag.

  5. Love the colors! It might be the this week was the curse of the zipper; mine didn’t work either…It was all for a good cause though, Downton Abbey is so fantastic. I stayed up way too late last night watching the premier of season 2!

  6. Oh, I love this dress and bag! Gorgeous! I have trouble with zippers, too, but Casey’s lapped zipped tutorial makes it easy:

  7. THANK YOU! I realize now that I used my technique for a regular zipper instead of invisible zipper… I keep going back to the muslin fabric with zippers that I created during my first sewing lesson, and looking at that technique again. Just need to remember what I’m doing sometimes.

    Also, not mentioned in the writeup, the pattern I bought was too small for me, since I’d bought it over a year ago. It was the first time I’d ever resized a pattern to myself, and this dress actually fit really well!

  8. Downton Abbey OMG. Love that show with a fiery passion. Love your dress! The colors are fantastic and I adore the contrast belt – it works great with your handbag!

  9. This dress has me thinking, SPRING! I share your appreciation of a quality handbag, though your collection outdoes my own! Very nicely done!

  10. Gorgeous! I have the same pattern and I’m using it for the challenge in two weeks. Zippers can be hard, don’t fret just keep trying. Nice to see the pattern on a real person. Also, Downton Abbey is so good, even my husband is obsessed with it! :D

  11. How cool! I love that you celebrated your captaincy by buying such an ultra femme bag. :) Very stylish.

    Keep trying with the zippers! The zipper on my wedding dress was DREADFUL. I camouflaged it with a ribbon sash and by keeping my arm down most of the day. ;)

  12. StephC, all I wanted while I was in Iraq was to come home and be a GIRL again! :) I even had pink bedding, a Hello Kitty humidifier, and cute PJs while I was over there, because it was the only ‘girly’ stuff I could get away with. I also always painted my toenails bright colors.

    Iraq made me learn to be low maintenance… but it also taught me to indulge a bit!

  13. I really love the fabric you used and the yellow belt, it looks really summery and lovely.

  14. Oh you have done a magic job, as for the zip!? Just wear one of those many bags over it until a UFO challenge comes up. :)

  15. Love the colors!!! Don’t stress on the zip… they get easier. You’ve got a great eye for color, so you just have to keep sewing :) (Also, thank you for serving)