Hot! The “Texan Gingham” Dress

The Texan Gingham dress

The Facts

Fabric: 3 metres of green and white gingham ~$12
Pattern:McCall’s 3394, gift from Sew Weekly Sewing Circle member Crissy as part of the 2011 pattern swap
Year: 1955
Notions: 55cm invisible zip ~$5
Time to complete: 5 hours (including 1 hour of alterations)
First worn: 7 January 2012, to yum cha with friends
Wear again? Yes, though ironically not with the belt

Total price: ~$17

When I saw the theme for this week’s challenge, I knew I had the perfect candidate in my wardrobe – a blue and floral waist belt that I purchased about three months ago, only to find that it doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe. Clearly, this week was the time to remedy that!

Belt in hand, I hunted through my stash, trying to unearth a length of fabric that a) was long enough for a dress, and b) went with the belt. It was a toss-up for a while between yellow-with-cupcakes and this green-and-white gingham. It’s only been a few weeks since I made a dress with cupcakes on, so the gingham won out. Sure, it clashed a bit, but that’s all part of the fun, right Oona?

To do this belt justice, I figured I need to make a dress. A 1950’s style dress (because the belt’s a little bit 1950’s, don’t you think?) With a waistline that showed off a belt nicely. Enter McCall’s 3394, with it’s fitted, dropped waist and full, pleated skirt. “Perfect!” I declared to myself, “the pleats won’t get in the way of the belt feature!”.

Despite the look of resignation I gave to the sheer number of pleats on the skirt of this thing, the dress took surprisingly little time to make up. I made a couple of alterations – switching out the side zipper for a centre-back invisible zip, and doing a basic small bust adjustment by removing the side bodice darts. The real issue came with the fit – even though the pattern was half a size too small and I decided to go all crazy-like and just make it up in that half a size too small, it ended up being about a full size too big in the bodice. And the dart points were too high and didn’t taper nearly enough, causing odd pleat effects above them. So the quick unpick (what we call a seam ripper down this way) and I got to be great friends and spent about an hour resizing the bodice. It was an hour well spent though – the dress is now a winner, and I know what adjustments to make to the pattern next time.

Why “Texan Gingham” dress? Coz this pattern came all the way from Texas! (Thanks Crissy!)

Ironically though, now that I’ve made it, and the fabric and pattern were chosen specifically for the belt, I don’t actually like the belt with this dress. Oh well, back to the drawing board for something to wear with it! In the meantime, I have a navy belt that’ll go well with this dress….

Texan Gingham dress back full length
Texan Gingham dress close up front
Texan Gingham dress front

(The tree with the red flowers in the background is a Pohutakawa – also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree as they’re all beautifully in bloom this time of year.)



Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.


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  1. It’s so cute! And I love it with your blue hair, especially against those red flowers. Wonderful!

  2. Kat, Blue Hair! Why not?! It really suits you, as does the gingham. I am loving the Pohutukawa, too – it seems to be a bumper season (or have I just timed it right?). Great dress, I am inspired.

    • Thanks lady! (I must admit, the blue hair was an accident though. Note to self: if dying hair on a public holiday, check you do have the right colour *before* you start. Oops.)
      The pohukukawa are stunning at the moment, eh? Would be a good time to be up in the Coromandel, they’re always spectacular up there this time of year. (And there may be some sunshine. That would make for a nice change, eh?!)

  3. It’s a great belt and a great dress, but I agree – a navy blocked colour belt would suit your Texan gingham and perhaps a blocked RED dress would go with this belt!

    Great to see you up and running in 2012 Kat! Can’t wait to see your creations this year! xoxo

  4. I agree with Trish, blue suits you!

  5. Can I just say that I love that your hair and dress coordinate?? You are the best. I love your dress and the cut, but I especially love that last picture of you – you look fantastic!

  6. I admit,I was waiting to see your accessory entry- I always love the way you style things!

  7. Kat, this was indeed inspired. Love it

  8. I like it, even with the quirky belt. True, it’s not “matchy matchy” but I’d wear some odd tights, pretty and weird shoes and just go for it. You could rock that kind of look.

    Such a cute dress. Good job on the fitting.

  9. I’m with Steph, you can totally rock the unconventional, for once a seam ripper put a smile on someone’s face, she’s a ripper Rita I mean Kat ha ha.

  10. Ooh, I like Veronica’s idea about a red dress with that belt. Fantastic job on those pleats, and the fit is perfect!