Hot! The “West Side Story” Maria Dress

Fabric: Dress – Light Weight Jersey, Petticoat – Opaque Bottom Weight
Pattern: Vogue Vintage 8728 for Dress, Petticoat, online tutorial from Sugardale here is the link
Year: Dress – Original Design 1948, Petticoat – Web Tutorial 2008
Notions: Dress – Thread, Zipper, Horsehair Braid, Buckle, Cotton Batting, Lace, Tear Away Stabilizer, Ribbon with Snaps and Satin Ribbon. Petticoat – Satin Ribbon, Twill Tape and Hook & Eyes.
Time to Complete: Dress 12 Hours, Petticoat 6 Hours
First worn: Photo Shoot
Wear again? Yes! Wish it wasn’t a holiday weekend, now I have to wait till Tuesday to wear to work.

Total Price: Fabrics $32, Notions $41

Natalie Wood as Maria

My inspiration for the Oscar theme is “West Side Story“. I love to watch this movie, last time with my best friend Carmen brought printed lyrics to sing along and my husband recently surprised me with the 50th Anniversary Collector’s DVD set. How fitting is it for Sew Weekly that the girls work in a dress shop as seamstresses! Natalie Wood had 3 outfits that I would love to make but I selected the blue dress on the fire escape. I have my husband to thank for the great photo shoot location, as soon as I showed him the inspiration photo he knew how he could bring the dress to life. Needless to say “I felt Pretty, Oh So Pretty”… but it was so cold outside my eyes started to tear.

A big  thank you to both Sugardale for the Petticoat Tutorial and Gertie from “Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing” for the advise on where to buy Horse Hair Braid, Tear Away Stabilizer and Cotton Batting.

Learned a few new skills with this challenge; 1) used tear away stabilizer for the neckline, 2) used horse hair braid for the dress hem and 3) used cotton batting to make the shoulder pads (didn’t use in the end) – they showed to much under the light weight jersey. I added ribbon snaps in the shoulder area so I could stabilize the drape of the dress. I added dark blue satin ribbon to mimic the movie version but I need to add belt loops on the dress to keep the belt in place, the fabric is really slippery. My machine has a “Foot Pressure Dial”, that allowed the light weight jersey to run smooth and gathered evenly. The petticoat materials, I got an education on the difference between Tulle, Crinoline and Opaque Bottom Weight Fabrics. Because I plan on wearing this dress often, I chose the Opaque Bottom Weight, it feels nice against the skin.

The "West Side Story" Maria Dress Front View

The "West Side Story" Maria Dress Side View


The "West Side Story" Maria Dress Petticoat Reveal




Krista started sewing at the age of 10, but got serious July of 2010 when she had to replace her old singer and got a serger machine for a birthday present. She lives in Manhattan -New York City with her husband. Reading the SewWeekly challenges last year motivated her to try new things and rekindle her love of Sewing.


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  1. As soon as I saw the turn of your head, even before anything else, I knew the inspiration–great replication of a memorable dress and scene, even to the trim. And, yes, isn’t that wonderful about the women in WWS working as seamstresses!

  2. I too guessed well! We listened to the soundtrack for years before I ever saw the movie, but when I did, it made me cry. But your beautiful dress made me smile. I love the colours and vibrancy of this movie.

    • Hi Jen, I’m very flattered the dress made you smile. I can’t wait to see what other movies where depicted. This was a really fun challenge.

  3. Wow! Absolutely gorgeous.

  4. This dress is really pretty, extremely flattering and I’m inspired! I have this pattern and can’t wait to make it. You should be very proud of such a lovely creation.

  5. Gorgeous dress, and a brilliant photo shoot! Love it. :-)

  6. Very impressed by effort you went to for the photos! The dress is gorgeous too.

  7. These are amazing photos! Look at NY! Wouod love to see more outside shots of your incredible city. What a lovely dress – great colour on you – I am dying to try this pattern out.

    • Thanks Trisha, the pattern is a lot of fun. I’ve seen some of your previous post and your love of vintage. I love the color and the light weight jersey gathers very delicately. I’ll try to keep the NYC pict coming.

  8. You made my day! Anybody can be Maria and your Maria dress is awesome! I love everything about it. I always think of lightweight jersey as too body hugging and always always always envision it in a tee shirt. This is a great inspiration!

    • Oh thanks Colleen for the wonderful compliments. Jersey wouldn’t have been my guess either but it was actually suggested on the back of the pattern.

  9. amazing job ! love the color .
    and having that back ground of the city makes at magnifique !

  10. That blue is stunning on you! Way to represent West Side Story so well!

  11. Absolutely gorgeous! The color is beautiful, and both you and the dress are stunning. This is the second time in two challenges I’ve seen this pattern (which I have), and I want to put down my Clover fitting to sew it. Was curious about leaving the shoulder pads out, so I’m happy to see you did the same. I love the horsehair braid. Kudos to you and hubby for a great photo shoot!

    • Yes, I saw that to. It’s a great pattern, I’ll. DeFinately use it again. The light weight jersey was suggested on the back of the pattern. I’m not a big fan of shoulder pads but I wanted to go through the steps to teach myself.

  12. This does look stunning on you and what a great photo shoot! I would never have thought of using jersey for a dress like that, what an eye opener. The waist detail and trim really make the dress and I love the vibrant colour.

  13. I love this dress!!! Beautiful, you and the dress.

  14. You look very pretty in this dress. Maybe you can wear it on a nice picnic with your husband when it gets warmer.

  15. GREAT SHOTS! and gorgeous dress!

  16. The color is beautiful on you and the dress is gorgeous! You do look like a star!!! Nice Job

  17. Oh, well done! It’s just beautiful!

  18. Krista, this is fabulous! How awesome of your hubby to take such great photos. Your dress is beautiful!

  19. Awesome dress! The color is fabulous on you, and you did a great job recreating the Maria vibe.

  20. Wooooooo! The work you’ve put into it really shows – It’s a show stopper. And the photoshoot puts the finishing touch on a beautiful inspiration dress.

  21. Oh my… this is perfection from top to bottom! How lucky to have a “photographer” that scouts perfect locations to showcase a perfect outfit!

  22. Thank you Tina, yes I’m lucky, we make a great creative team.

  23. I love the color of your dress. It’s perfect for you. I am a big fan of this pattern, it’s great for learning new techniques, and an easy sew. Perfect combo!

    • Hi Clarissa, surprising when I wore this dress to work yesterday, was told it was a great color for me. I really loved learning some new techniques. With the info I got from the sewing community I felt armed to go into the Fashion District to buy the right materials.

  24. Oooh! This is what you wanted all that info for! It’s well worth it! The dress is fantastic on you. Such a fabulous colour. And so clever to make it in jersey!

    I’m actually wondering if you need the horsehair. I don’t think the original (I mean the *real* original – not sure about the Vogue re-issue, they sometimes add instructions and alter pieces much to the detriment of the pattern imho) had it – it’s very usual to see it in mid 1940s patterns (wartime restrictions and all that). The horsehair is overpowering the drape of the hem of your skirt just a tiny bit.

  25. Hi, I was lucky Gertie knows NYC like the back of Eric hand and pointed me in the right shops. I looked at the dress with and without horse hair braid and with and without the petticoat. Without the horse hair braid the bottom of the dress fell flat, I actually went back over it and intentionally top stitched it top and bottom for an extra accent for the bell shape. I love the petticoat for the volumn but wish it was less obviously under the light jersey. I’ m thinking of making another petticoat out of a softer material. The pattern was first issued in 1948, not sure if the horse hair braid was added in the reissue, I’ll do some research, now I’m curious to find out.

  26. Wow, another amazing rendition that makes me want to buy this pattern! The jersey looks beautiful, and I’m curious about how it looks without the petticoat. Is it just too clingy/drapey for comfort and you wanted a more structured look? I never would have thought to pair jersey with a petticoat, but your work paid off and the dress suits you perfectly.

    • Actually it looks ok without a petticoat I think because I used the horse hair braid. The hem gave it shape but the petticoat just makes it that more fun to make. I’ll take some pictures and post later.

      Really loved your Audrey look. The top looks super comfy.

  27. This is the most wonderful dress!! I can’t believe it’s jersey. Excellent, excellent work. Adore the photos. You look like a movie poster.

    • I use to be so scred of jersey. This project definately stretched my comfort zone. I’ve been reading the “the Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques” book and just they way it broke things down help me to tackle my fear. Thank you Najah, looking forward to seeing your submission.

  28. GORGEOUS! This color is so beautiful on you, and your inspiration is so evident in your dress! Absolutely lovely!

  29. Absolutely amazing! You look lovely! Great job!

  30. Thank Ginger. Gosh I can’t believe all the great feedback I’ve gotten on the dress. I’m really happy to be participating.

  31. Krista you have done an amazing job, so great to see your creation in the spotlight this week. Brilliant.

  32. Thanks Kazz, this weeks theme was a blast but I feel like the weeks are going by to fast. I just finished up the ReFashion piece, which I found to be a much harder challenge.