The “bridal shop” dress

The Facts
Fabric: Polyester crepe, $12
Pattern: Colette Peony
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Zipper, bias tape
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: Haven’t worn it out yet
Wear again? Yes, with some changes
Total Cost: About $12.50

To have made a Rita Moreno dress would have been awesome, don’t you think?

But also well outside the limits of my time and ability. So I stuck with West Side Story (The 1961 film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 10), but went with a simpler inspiration dress.

I have been watching this movie since I was pretty young and have always liked the scene in which Tony comes to visit Maria where she works at Madam Lucia’s bridal shop. The two exchange mock wedding vows with well-dressed mannequins standing in as their family and friends. It’s one of the last really tender moments before things get intense and tragic.

I thought the Peony pattern’s modest neckline, three-quarter length sleeves and sweet waist gathers captured elements Natalie Wood’s dress from the bridal shop scene – but in a way that would be easily wearable for me.

And I’m mostly happy with how it came out. The ivory band at the bottom of the skirt seems like too much, and I’m going remove it. The ribbon at the waist will go too – I think I want to make the cummerbund belt that’s included as part of the Peony pattern. I just don’t know if it should be the same pale gold color as the dress or more of a contrast?

Author

Jennifer T.

Jenn Torres lives right in the middle of California. Sewing is one of the things she's trying to get better at.

11 Comments

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  1. I think you should be very happy! I love this dress. And I love the binding at the top and bottom (keep it!)- I think you did a great job of making a wearable version.

  2. So cute! I agree with you about the binding at the bottom of the skirt. I like it at the waist, but if you add a belt, you won’t need it. I think matching fabric or white/ivory to match the binding on a belt would both look good.

  3. Lovely rendition. Not bridal looking at all.

  4. Your dress is fantastic! I think an ivory cummerbund would look very nice

  5. who wouldn’t love Rita Moreno’s dress?? it is so vibrant, but I like what you’ve gone for. Simple and sweet. I’m with you on the removal of the bottom binding. The ivory as suggested above sounds about right.

  6. This is a great dress from West Side Story and a wonderful dress interpretation. Wearable is always agreat goal, cause every time you wear it it reminds you of the movie.

  7. So sweet, you nailed it. Bias binding is one of my fave things to do

  8. That is so pretty! A great idea of using the peony pattern, very sweet.

  9. What a sweet Maria-inspired Peony!

  10. Well done! I need to make a Peony now more than ever!