Hot! The Couch of the Irish Dress


Fabric: Leftover upholstery fabric from Mom’s couch project, pea green bed sheet for lining
Pattern:  New Look 6000
Year: 2011
Notions: green thread, grey zipper
Time to complete: 10 hours
First worn: March 11, 2012
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $0


Friends, Mama Grand has recently been working very hard on getting rid of any extra fabric lying around her house.  This means, of course, that it’s all coming to my house.  Included in the most recent box of goodies was this piece of upholstery material;  I remembered it fondly as she had recovered a couch with it not too long ago and I had always loved the stripes.  I had exactly enough to cut the front and back of the dress; the sleeves were a little sketchy as they had to be pieced together with leftover pieces of material.  I so desperately wanted to add one of the fabulous collar variations of this pattern, but there just wasn’t the material. .

This fabric is HEAVY.  It began unraveling almost immediately, so all the seams are straight stitched and zig-zagged.  I exercised every patient bone in my body with this dress, even taking the time to add a lining!  I realized I didn’t want upholstery material rubbing against my skin all day and the lining would eliminated the need for facings.  Double win.

 The hardest part of this dress was, without a doubt, trying to put in the darts.

The fabric is not exactly pliable and easy to work with – it is resistant to change.  I went reallyslow putting in the underbust darts, and eventually came out the winner.  I realize that using upholstery fabric and taking every effort to reduce unraveling means this dress will probably last forever.  People can sit on me and not wrinkle or ruin me.  This is exciting as Human Resources can sometimes be like a high contact sport…or perhaps this is only in my daydreams.

The stripes are both satiny and grosgrain-like in texture.  I LOVE the sheen of the satin stripes – I feel that it just adds a little bit of sparkle to the dress.  For some actual sparkle, I added a shamrock brooch that my boyfriend’s parents gave me.

Overall, I am shocked by how this dress came out.  After working with this material for about an hour, I was convinced that this dress would be boxy and unflattering.  I decided to stick with it in case I was pleasantly surprised, and I was completely blown away by how well it came together in the end.  Ah sewing, you will never cease to amaze me!

If I could change one thing, I would want the sleeves to be one complete piece instead of being comprised of pieces.  I made sure to match up the stripes so it doesn’t draw too much attention, but I will still always know it’s there.  Other than that, I think it makes for a perfectly indestructible dress that could easily recover a chair if I get too bored with it ;)

Thanks for stopping by, friends!


Meg the Grand

Megan Grandstaff was thrown into the sewing world in 2005. Ever since that fateful day, she has been eager to increase her skills and reduce her (quite large) fabric stash.


Comments are closed.

  1. I love it! You had me giggling out loud about how resistant you are to squatters (aka people sitting on you). Who knew upholstery fabric would yield such fab results?!

  2. I think I’ve seen that same sort of fabric – but in navy – in Joann’s home decor section. I was thinking of redoing our couch with it but ultimately went with something else.

    ANYWAY! Your dress looks awesome! The fit looks perfect and you did them so well, no one will be able to tell the seams in the sleeves weren’t intentional. Great job!

  3. Whoa…couch fabric. Never would’ve known. But now that I do. High five!

  4. I love the dress, the green color looks great. I could see your sleeve being a green chiffon.

  5. Hah! What a great use of stripes! That’s some clever re-piecing of scraps on the sleeves. I wouldn’t have noticed had you not pointed it out. I imagine finishing the sleeve seams were pretty tricky since it’s upholstery weight stuff. Did you do a lining on the sleeves as well?

  6. What a great way to re-use fabric! I love using upholstery fabric for clothes, but I’ve never used something quite so heavy and upholstery-y. And your dress looks fantastic! Not at all like a piece of furniture.

  7. I love your dress! Sometimes I think upholstery fabric works better because they are sturdier and they have quite interesting prints not found in normal suiting fabrics. Good for you that you have lined the entire dress, I am a fan of lined dresses now!

  8. Very chic and so “green”! Good for you for using up that fine fabric. It looks expensive and well made.

  9. Meg, this is fabulous! I want one. I can’t believe it’s upholstery fabric.

  10. Love it Meg! There are so many bonuses to this dress between the color, fit, and the NON WRINKLE…seriously cool, lady, well done!

  11. I think this is stunning, and you look amazing with this cut (not boxy at all) and in this shade of green. Happy St. Patricks day to YOU! But don’t let anyone sit on you, it’s mean.

  12. Introducing sexy couch chic! The pieced sleeves are a brilliant solution– they look great!

  13. Gorgeous! I just knew you would look smashing in non wrinkle green. I love those little sleeves. Well done Meg.

  14. The fit looks fantastic Meg! The green is obviously your colour too. I wonder if you’re also stain resistant?!