Hot! Shosanna’s “Killin’ Natzis’ Dress

The Facts

: 5 yards wool crepe suiting in red
Pattern: McCalls M2401
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Nothing but thread.
Time to complete: 4 hours.
First worn: Sunday for pictures.
Wear again? Probably not.
Total price: approximately $25.00

I know what you’re thinking…Cheryl, didn’t you say last week that you hate red?  Yah, I did. And still do. For the most part.  But my friends, this time it’s different. Because this time it’s the Oscars challenge and my movie inspiration was Inglorious Basterds (2009). This has got to be one of my top favorite modern movies of all time.  Not only is it a great war movie with beautiful clothing throughout, it is a revisionist look at WWII where Hitler and the Nazi Party big-wigs meet their much earlier and twisted demise.  It’s a Tarantino film all the way, and that means some pretty fabulous characters.  I won’t shy away from saying that I wish I had me some Aldo Raine in real life. Mmmmmmm, Brad Pitt.

Anyways, I originally thought I would sew Bridget von Hammersmark’s fantastic suit since there is a vintage inspired pattern available. Then I wanted to make her movie premier dress that was so long and drapy and sparkly. Both were shaping up to take a lot of time and I knew that I might not have that time available. I was hemming and hawing over what I should do when I saw, Shosanna’s movie premier dress in all it’s red glory.  That was it.  Simple, fitted, long sleeves, and those wavy bits on the front that I learned later are called a peplum.

Since I didn’t really have a pattern for this one I decided to wing it (did I mention I was worried about time, hehe).  I used the McCalls pattern for the basic structure and then just spent most of my Friday night thinking about how those peplum things worked.  On Saturday morning I sewed a muslin (kind of) before I moved on to the red fabric and got things really moving.  The McCalls pattern is super easy to put together so I didn’t bother with the instructions, I just went to work on the basic parts and then began to work out the best shape of my peplums.  It was only after I had sewn the back pieces together wrong and finished their seems (eek!), picked out the seems and resewed things back together, that I realized my mistake.  I never sewed the facings on in the first place. Inglorious Basterds! *shakes fist in the air*  Luckily I had to take a break for a fancy night out with the man and some good friends at the Violet Hour.  I drowned my sorrows in a handcrafted cocktail called a Tattooed Seaman.  It was a great cure.

It wasn’t until Monday that I went back to work finishing the dress.  Since my facings issue was virtually impossible to fix, I decided that bias tape was going to be the proper way to go. I didn’t have any ready-made bias tape that matched, so I tried my hand at making my own.  I’m glad I did since it was easy and it really looks nice.

I got all dolled up: red lips, red nails, DIY hat with mesh–and made my way with J to the train with our local independent theater–The Davis–in mind for the destination.  For fun, we took some pictures on the train and I am damn glad we did.  J didn’t even make it to 15 pictures and the camera died.  Inglorious Basterds! *shakes fist in the air again*  We quick got off the train before it left the station and headed home.  I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the whole vision through, but in the end I learned a valuable lesson about making sure my camera is fully charged.

Ultimately I do not think I’ll wear this dress again in its current form.  I had decided to only do two peplums and when looking at the pictures, I think that three would have been a better choice.  I like the dropped waist, but I’m not shaped like a stick so my curves don’t really work with that style.  If When I remake this dress I am going to add another peplum at the natural waist line so that it will compliment my figure better.  I will also probably install the zipper as well so that I can get a better fit and make it easier to get in and out of the dang thing.

And finally, folks, I am not ashamed to say…I think might I like red after all.





Cheryl is a teacher, martial artist, crafter and sewer just trying to find balance in a busy world. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin she's now trying to fit into and explore the vast expanse that is Chicago, Illinois.


Comments are closed.

  1. What I like about peplums is how flattering they are at the waist. One would think extra yardage at the hip would be disastrous for most folks, but I find the opposite is true. So I think you are on the right track (thought track, not train track). Now I’ll have to watch the film. Beautiful bodice construction, BTW.

  2. Fantastic. Love that movie.

  3. Red likes you – you look lovely, great inspiration!

  4. Love the inspiration and the dress! Nice work

  5. Red does look nice on you! You have a great start to the outfit. If you just go for a more fitted look, I think you’re golden!

  6. Awesome movie, what about making a detachable peplum sitting at your waist, might just work. I have a picture I could put if you like? Great effort

  7. You look awesome in red! I bet you turned quite a few heads. And those peplums are adorable, I quite like the 20’s stylee dropped waist (this is why you’re the history expert and I’m a journalist).

  8. Only just seen this movie (dvd chrissy pressy) and that dress completely stood out. Looks good now but with the tweaking it will look great – and you’ll wear it!

  9. I LOVE your inspiration piece! Huge Tarantino fan here. Oh, and I really don’t think you should give up on the dress OR red. Cinch that waist, show those folks on the train what you’re made of.

    • Thank, Lavender! I cannot wait until I redo this dress and get all those little issues out of the way. I also cannot wait to expand on my Tarantino movies. Any good recs???

  10. I’m not a huge Tarantino fan by any stretch of the imagination (I like Resevoir Dogs and begrudgingly respect Kill Bill) but I really liked this movie. And I LOOOOOVED the costuming. Your interpretation of Soshanna’s dress is really pretty. And I agree–red, whether you like it or not, suits you!

    • I haven’t seen either of those, Tina. I will check them out, though. I think I’ve come around to red, you all are right and have convinced me :)

  11. Love this movie, and the red of your dress is great. I agree about a third peplum at your natural waist. I’ve never tried a dropped waist style, I’m still too afraid of them. However, a peplum might just do the trick.

  12. Wow, Cheryl, what a great interpretation of the dress and I agree like it or not red is a great color on you. Cute hat, did you make that as well?

    • Thanks so much, Krista! I DID make the hat :) It wasn’t anything fancy–paper covered by fabric and then a mesh bag (for oranges!) painted black. I wish the camera wash charged for the pictures I wanted to take to show the hat and mesh :( Next time!

  13. I love your version – and your movie inspiration is fantastic! Oh, Aldo Raine – *swoon* Anyway, I’m glad to see you’ve come around to the red because you look smashing! Love the photos on the CTA – woot woot. Were you on the Red Line? Because that would be oh so appropriate :)

  14. Wow! Cool dress! I love your interpretation. When I saw the title, I was so hoping you were talking about “Inglorious Basterds”. It was my first Tarantino film and I really like it.

  15. I love this for three reasons:
    1. You look smoking hot,
    2. You faced your fear of red (and won!), and
    3. You made me think of Michael Fassbender (aka my future husband).