Hot! The “An Education” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: “Silky” Poly-blend, 2 yards–$20
Pattern: Simplicity 2588–$1 (!)
Year: 2012
Notions: Technically a zipper, but have omitted for now. If I re-do the (stupid, stupid, stupid) yoke/collar, I may insert the zipper.
Time to Complete: 14 hours
First Worn: February 2012
Wear Again: Yes, if I can fix the collar so it’s more  chic and less Flying Nun. Currently–and you can’t see this because I purposefully put my hair over the damn thing–the collar is all wavy around the edges.
Total Cost: $21 (fabric, pattern, and zipper)

While I was excited for the Oscar Outfits Challenge, I was also at a bit of a loss as to what to create with such a wide net of inspiration. Oscar night dresses, movie costumes, music, scenery… Oh my!  The more I Googled, the more my eyes started to cross and my brain to freeze.

And then, tucked demurely away among all the big name’s in the 82nd (aired in 2010) Oscar Nomination List–we’re talking the year of Avatar, The Hurt Locker (winner of six awards including Best Picture), Sandra Bullock (winner Best Actress), Inglorious Basterds (for which Christoph Waltz deservedly won Best Supporting Actor), and Kathryn Bigelow’s triumphant Best Director win over her former hubby James Cameron–were two nominations for An Education. One for Best Movie and another for Best Actress for the immensely talented Carey Mulligan.

In my humble opinion, this little gem of a movie most likely  got lost in the brouhaha surrounding the SPFX monster that was Avatar 3D. An Education is a coming of age story set in 1961 London. Jenny (played by Carey Mulligan) is a precocious sixteen-year old school girl on track to enroll it prestigious Oxford University. Her life is, admittedly, a bit humdrum. That all changes, however, when she meets charming and worldly older man (emphasis on man) David Goldman. He pursues her romantically and lavishly–the two frequently dine out, go to clubs, attend concerts, etc. David easily charms Jenny’s parents as well. David whisks Jenny off to Paris–her dream vacation–and the two nearly become *intimate*. Jenny asks that they wait until she turns seventeen.  Jenny eventually learns that David has a few skeletons in his closet, one of which becomes a deal-breaker of sorts.

I really liked this movie for two reasons: it was very real in terms of the romance (as in it was so sappy it made my teeth hurt) and the clothing. Oh the clothing!  Jenny’s progression from girl to woman is so very adeptly depicted in her clothing (for more on this, see my blog, Down the Retro Rabbit Hole, for a Sew Weekly Post).

All of Jenny’s “grown up dresses” are so very lovely. However, a lot of them are not practical for every day wear–as in wearing to the office (as if I actually get out of my PJs and go to an office! HA!) or just mucking about. This one below, however, kinda does.

Don't you love the collar detail? And the colors??!

To me, this dress screams versatility. one could throw a sweater or blazer over it for work in the winter/fall, or tie a white scarf around your head for sailing in the summer. Mostly, it just makes me want to go on a really long European vacation.

Here’s my version:




Tina C.

Tina C. is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA with her beau and her two ridiculously spoiled Siamese cats (this does not a crazy cat lady make!). She's not buying any off-the-rack clothing this year, so she better get cracking and learn how to sew!


Comments are closed.

  1. Great dress and fabric match. It’s so close! I remember loving her outfits in the film.

    • I had forgotten the film–not like “forgot” forgot, but it wasn’t foremost in my mind–as I saw it while in India. It was a beautiful little movie and the costumes were fabulous! I really loved the white and red dress with the over-the-shoulder drape…

  2. Ooh, you did it so well! Great inspiration film/dress :)

  3. The fabric you found is just perfect – please please re-do the (your words) stupid x 3 collar and bung the zip in as it is a gorgeous dress. Love the pockets too

    • Than you Jen! I’m not sure what happened with the collar–it ended up all “wavy” around the shoulders when it should lay flat… *Sigh*

  4. Very nice! I love this movie and your dress is adorable.

  5. Pretty! I think it would be great belted too.

    • Indeed it would! Know, if only I had a belt that matched! (I didn’t photograph below the knee because I didn’t have shoes that matched)

  6. Hey Tina, love your choice of fabric, it’s a beautiful color palette. It’s hard to see the collar but did you snip the curve after sewing the seam to release the tension?

  7. Wow, this dress is stunning! I would wear it in a heartbeat! Pinning.

  8. It’s so lovely! That movie is a fantastic source of inspiration :)

  9. Love the colours of this, and thank you for all the additional fashion pics from the film on your blog, I might have to get this movie watched.

  10. I LURVED An Education! You did a really wonderful job with this challenge of creating an inspired outfit! The dress is gorgeous and definitely a garment worthy of envy!

  11. That inspiration dress is the perfect anywhere-anytime dress. And, your rendition is cuteness!

  12. Great inspiration and dress