Hot! The “Sookie” Sundress Remake

The Facts
Fabric: 4 yards Lisette pink and white gingham from JoAnn, $26, and white muslin (for bodice lining), about 2$ (both from stash)
Pattern: Vogue V8725 for the skirt and Colette Pastille for the bodice
Year: contemporary
Notions: invisible zip
Time to complete: Long, as usual. 11 hours?
First worn: Just for the photos.
Wear again: Yes.
Total cost: about $28 (Though this is my second time around on this dress.  Does that reduce the cost?)

This week I set out to save my “Sookie” Sundress (from last year’s TV challenge, after a Sookie Stackhouse style on True Blood), which had been languishing for two reasons.  First, it’s winter.  Hence the Down Under theme.  Second, the fit of the bodice was terrible.  I liked the halter style of the original Vogue pattern but wanted a little more coverage this time.  Since I made the first dress, I had major surgery which left a large scar that curls around my shoulder blade.  Some day I’ll be fine with flaunting my scar– I’ve even thought of getting a tattoo around it– but. . . not yet.  I decided to work with the bodice pattern from the Colette Pastille dress, which, while quite prim in the back, has a sweetheart dip similar to the Vogue pattern in the front.

I’ve never attempted much in the way of pattern adjustments other than shortening or grading between sizes, so this week was an adventure.  After two muslins, some light bulb moments, and a lot of confusion, I called the Consulting Dressmaker, who happens to live in Brisbane, another Down Under connection.  She looked me over via Skype and set me on the right track.  Thank you, Stephanie!  I made another muslin.  By the end, my paper pattern looked really weird, and I was doubtful that it would either fit or resemble Pastille.  Magically, it did both!  Ok, it was a lot of work and not magic, but clearly I don’t yet comprehend everything I did, especially in the back, where I seemed to be removing random chunks.











Once I got the bodice fit down, I thought it would be pretty simple to attach the new bodice to the old skirt, insert the zipper, and attach the bodice lining, which I cleverly thought could replace the facings.  Then I cleverly sewed the lining neckline AND SLEEVE OPENINGS to the dress and tried to turn it right-side out for about ten minutes.  Yep, I did that.  I also had to sew the lining to the zipper tape twice, because I sewed it too close to the zipper teeth the first time and couldn’t open the zipper.  The same thing has happened to me with the Ginger skirt.  Have to remember to use the regular zipper foot, not the invisible zipper foot, to get the right spacing.  Man, invisible zippers can be humbling.  Every time I think, ok, no problem, I’ve done this a hundred times, I completely *&^% it up.

I’m really happy with the fit, and I’m sure this dress will see a lot of action when the weather warms up.  The finishing is far from stellar.  But that is another issue for another challenge; now is definitely time to move on.  To our sewists in the Southern Hemisphere, I love seeing your creations and your topsy-turvy seasons!



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. Lovely dress! I love that you did something True Blood themed. My favorite :) Oh, and how cool is it that you have a sewing ‘consultant’ for your woes?! Love it!

    • Thanks! I think my final dress is a little too sweet for Sookie, oh well. And my consultant is available to anyone with sewing woes.

  2. Very cute! Great pattern for that fabric!

  3. I love it, very retro and simple. The fuchsia color really adds some pizazz!

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, Lee. I’m so so so thrilled with your dress- why, it looks like it was made for you… ;) Never saw true blood but I may have to check it out.

    Super cute, really love the dress. :)

    • Thanks! Watch out, True Blood is pretty hot and nasty. I love the books by Charlaine Harris too. I actually like Sookie a lot better in the books.

  5. Great work matching the plaids and what a sweet sweet dress, looks just so feminine on you!

  6. Very sweet! I’m also wondering how you line the inside of a dress with no sleeves. Sew the neck then what? Wouldn’t you have raw edges that need tending in the armhole? Let me know if you know. Love the style and fabric!

    • To line a sleeveless bodice, you leave the shoulder seams unstitched and sew the lining to the fashion fabric at the armholes and the neckline. Then you turn it and slip stich the shoulders together. Hope that helps!

    • Thanks, Barbara. With this pattern, I should have basted the dress and lining armhole edges wrong sides together and then attached the sleeve facings. I guess you could also use bias tape to finish the armhole edges.

  7. Oh, that a great story, I can second that struggle with the zipper install. The dress looks fun to wear, the way the weather is ring in NYC, it may be warmer soon.

  8. Very nice! Congratulations on tackling new pattern alterations. I bet there were plenty of aha! and WTF moments. There always are.

  9. Love your combination of patterns … I’ve got something very similar coming up … just cut it out this weekend.

  10. This is so cool! I live the colour and I am so impressed by the fact you made two patterns work for you together. So awesome!

  11. I love both versions of your Sookie dress. That material is gorgeous but it’s the way you’ve put it all together that’s so inspiring. I’m hoping by the end of this year I can start putting together elements of patterns I love too……and hope I have your determination to keep going through multiple muslins and puzzlements.

  12. The dress is lovely!

  13. thats such an adorable dress.

  14. This looks GREAT! I go on and off of True Blood (I love the characters but they’re all so self-destructive…), but it turned out gorgeous. And I am totally going to remember adding a full skirt to Pastille.

    You can absolutely clean-finish a lined sleeveless dress by machine, but you have to sew the shoulder seams, then the neck and arm-seams to the lining, then turn it right side in—and only then can you sew up the side-seams and add the zipper. I think the Slapdash Sewist did a post going over it in more detail at some point… :)

    • Thanks, Tanit-Isis! Good to know– I’ll check that out before I make the next Pastille. As for True Blood, I’m way behind (Season 2), but I know all the books, which are a bit different from the show.

  15. Perfect! I had been thinking about the Pastille with a fuller skirt, and you have confirmed this is the way to go. I just love it, and you clearly worked very hard on your fitting– it’s fantastic.

  16. I have been wondering when Sookie would get her fashion due!

    • I love a lot of her looks from the first two seasons (that’s all I’ve watched). My dress is definitely missing the hint of skank that Sookie usually has.

  17. Hi

    Did you raise the neckline on the bodice of the Pastille pattern? I am thinking of making this pattern but noticed the neckline is a little low for me from the pictures in the Colette book. But when I see it on you it looks fine. Thank you!

  18. Many thanks, everyone!

  19. Super super cute Lee you look adorable and we love to see what you gals do too.

  20. I haven’t watched True Blood, so I don’t know the character you are referencing, but I gather she is on the sexy/smutty end of the spectrum. You in that dress however, are cute as a @&$#*** button!

  21. Wonderful save – the colour just make me smile

  22. Super cute! You did such a good job of making the gingham work. And the pairing with turquoise is just fabulous.

    And isn’t Steph the Consulting Dressmaker the best! I call her every time I need to work something out in my head – no matter how good you get, it always helps to hash stuff out with another seamstress, and you can’t get better than Steph.

  23. This dress is so cute I could eat it up. I wonder if my Joanns has any of that fabric left…