the “wannabe parisienne” dress

The Facts:

Fabric: wool twill/tweed in black, white, pink, mauve, magenta.  lining in silk marc jacobs heart print.
Pattern: Vogue 8511
Year: c.2000s
Notions: 22″ zipper
Time to Complete: 8 hours
First Worn: January 24, 2012
Wear Again: Yes
Total Price: ~$75
Challenge Theme:  “Made This Look”

i first spotted this photo on miss celie’s pants, when cidell posted what she called a “parisienne” dress from a BWOF pattern.  i saved the image immediately, knowing that i would come back to it one day when i was in the mood for something beyond my usual routine of cotton blouses.

“made this look” gave me several opportunities on that front–it’s january, so a cotton dress isn’t really as much fun as it usually is, to begin with.  but mostly this theme was a perfect chance to take a card off of my inspiration board and turn it into something real.

something wonderful happened while i was making this dress.  i hit what can only be called “the zone”:  that perfect chance when your skills and your image of your finished project are completely in sync.  i don’t usually say that things go together “like a dream” but there is no other word to describe how easily and perfectly the pieces on this garment came together.

i started with my moulage and learned how to adjust a princess seam using a regular darted bodice.  this was huge for me–i often avoid a princess seam because, since i need to flatten them so much, i find them even more difficult to fit than a regular darted bodice.  even more importantly than that, however, i sat and took the time to do things properly.  the seam allowances on the wool are trimmed and catch-stitched down for a clean, flat look on the bodice.  the waist stay is pick-stitched by hand to the lining.  the lining is hand-understitched to the bodice seam allowance.  the hem is hand-stitched and trimmed with lace.  the zipper is hand-picked.

i’m not going to lie.  a lot of procedural reruns were watched in the making of this dress.  but the end result was worth it and, best of all, didn’t delay my finished product.




Devra is a New York-based photographer and sewer who tries to find time to do her day job in between bouts of crazed sewing.


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  1. Very nice – it feels great when things go together easily, something that doesn’t seem to happen in my sewing room very often! I love all the hand finishing details you have done.

  2. I love the dress you chose! (I think I need one of these in my own closet!). Lovely finishing details – certainly worth the time they took!

  3. Agree – love the inspiration! And can I just say that your cat is adorable!

  4. my cat disapproves of my sewing because it means i have less time to rub his tummy. it’s a tough life!

  5. KITTY!!!! Love the dress and that lining – oh so fantastic!

  6. Love this so much!!!! And kitty hug win :D

  7. Spoilt cat and cute shoes – lovely fabric and great lining.

  8. Maybe you should stand in your photos so we can get a look at your dress? I can’t tell what it looks like.