Hot! The “I Wish I Were a Ballerina” Dress

When I was a kid my mom bought me a tutu and matching bodice when the local ballet theater had a costume sale.  The top was pink water-stained taffeta with a big fake rose right in the middle.  The skirt had layers and layers of pink tulle and another fake rose at the waist.  I think it goes without saying, that little-girl-me was enamored.  I wore the outfit for Halloween that year, but would (when I thought no one else was around) put on my taffeta and tulle and a record and dance around the living room of my parents’ house.  I have very distinct memories of jumping and twirling off the brick fireplace to the crackly 33 1/3 rotation of The Nutcracker Suite.

Alas, I never took dance, (My folks were more instrument type people.) which is a shame since I grew to be a six footer, and I really think the training in coordination and balance would have helped me out.  Nevertheless, I still do daydream about high kicks and pirouettes . . . and also shuffling off to Buffalo, but that’s another dress.

Granted this dress is red.  I am just not so much into pink anymore.  But, the combination of the sheer fabric and fullness of the skirt at the hem sort of took me back.  The cut of this dress and the way it draped made me feel like I used to when I would dress up.  I like the way the fabric lightly tickled my knees.  I don’t think grown-up dresses do a lot of knee-tickling.

So . . . I may, or may not, have had the house to myself this past weekend.  There may, or may not, have been an obliging fireplace.  And I may, or may not, have done some twirling.

The Facts

  • Fabric:  Red (cranberry?) chiffon, probably synthetic, which someone gave me.  Satin for the lining.
  • Pattern: Vogue 8615. I was going to go real risque and make the whole dress sheer and wear it over a slip or something.  I got a little shy, so underlined and lined the bodice and added a loose-fitting straight skirt to line the chiffon full skirt.  I have been wanting to try this pattern for quite a while.  With a stiffer fabric, I think it would be a totally different dress.  I want to try it again.  Next time I will remember to add length to the waist.
  • Year:  2009
  • Notions: Zipper and thread.  The latter of which I ran out of, so some of my hand stitching is done in a non-matching true red.  Embarassing!
  • Time to complete:  About 10 hours.  Hemming the sheer skirt by hand took forever.  Felt like it anyway.
  • First worn:  Just for photos so far.  I need more fancy parties to go to.
  • Wear again?  I think I will.
  • Total price:  zipper – $2 + on sale satin – $9.73 = $11.73

I originally started working on this dress because I had the red fabric in my stash and wanted to try out a new pattern.  When it all came together, I thought it looked like a 1970s bridesmaid’s dress.  (I know it’s probably the bow, but I like bows!  OK?) It wasn’t until I put on the finished product that I thought it was actually cute.  Sure, maybe slightly juvenile and very modest, but still cute.

Author

Liz

Liz makes her home in continuously gray, but lovely, Portland, Oregon. The cloud cover and raindrops only contribute to her dressmaking habit. Liz believes that all dresses should have pockets and all pockets should hold kittens.

40 Comments

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  1. OMG! This dress is so gorgeous and lovely! You did an amazing job on it. I can’t decide which feature I like best but what I love is: the sheer sleeves & length of the sleeves, the bow, the color, and the luster the chiffon creates as it’s overlaid on your red underlining fabric. So yea, I think that’s all of the features of your dress. :)

  2. OOOO, aaaahhh!!!! I mean, YEE-owsah!!

  3. Love this dress! The color is absolutely amazing on you – if I were you I would never wear anything but red! The sheer sleeves and the length are perfect. Beautiful job!

  4. Juvenile and very modest? I don’t agree. I think you look very feminine and elegant in this dress, it is lovely!

  5. In that dress you can be a ballerina! And you’re just the size for it! You’d make a lovely ballerina!

  6. This is such a gorgeous style on you! I empathize with your stolen, prima ballerina aspirations. My parents took a similar course and stuck me in piano and flute lessons. Oh, well, a girl can dream… This dress is really wonderful!

  7. This dress is so very lovely! I love the adult interpretation of a little girl out fit. I love this pattern and actually just gave it away because it was the wrong size. I think I’ll have to buy a new pattern!

  8. Well done! I love the bow most of all.

  9. It’s very attractive. A great color for you and that was a very nice post. I really like the sleeves.

  10. I love this dress so so so much!

  11. This is one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen! You look stunning!

  12. Thanks for all the lovely comments. You are really making my day!

  13. The dress is stunningly beautiful and you look fantastic in it! Well done!!!

  14. what a truly stunning, original and creative version of vogue 8615. i love it, wear it in health, and have fun!

  15. SO PRETTY! You look stunning in this, and it’s really gorgeous and glamorous and chic! And I love that bow, love love love. Well done! Twirl away!

  16. GOR-JUSS! Very elegant. Regal even. Love it! Especially the shear sleeves. Awesome work.

  17. FANTASTIC! The dress is stunning! Love the twirling :)

  18. Wonderful, bet you’ll have that forever.

  19. This dress is gorgeous! Knee-tickling and twirly-ness are dress criteria for me too. I guess there are more of us. ;)

  20. Beautifully elegant – just lovely. Every girl (young and old) should have the right dress to twirl in.

  21. That dress is beautiful!

  22. absolutely SPEECHLESS.

    (except oh my god, you had better wear that dress again.)

  23. Wow!!!! I know this is tough to sew and you did it so well. Great work!

  24. REALLY BEAUTIFUL, LOVE THE FABRIC AND HOW IT FLOWS.

  25. lovely, lovely dress and you look wonderful in it!

  26. Very gorgeous and elegant! This particular shade of red really suits you. Love the bow! I wish I can sew my red dress and not working on my assignments.

  27. Absolutely lovely. I would also want to twirl, if I were wearing this fabulous dress! You look so chic.

  28. Delurk….. what a beautiful dress, I love it!!!!

  29. wow…you and your dress could not get any more perfect.

  30. Wow! This dress is amazing!

  31. It is so pretty! The sheer sleeves and the swooshyness and the bow argh so darling! You ned to have a party just to wear it now!

  32. It’s just perfect in every way!

  33. Screw ballerina, you look like a princess! I love it! It looks great on you- fabulous colour.

  34. WOW! This is just plain beautiful! :)

  35. So pretty and feminine! It’s a dress everyone should have in their closet.

  36. Absolutely gorgeous, the sleeve length is perfect.

  37. Those sleeves are killing me! The length is perfect, but even more I love the cuff.