Hot! The “Meet Me in Athens” Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Left over Tina Givens for Free Spirit cotton and inherited ivory lining and crinkle chiffon from a bridesmaid dress
Pattern: Vintage 3454 Simplicity for the top. Self drafted cap sleeves.
Year: Circa late 1950’s
Notions; Zipper from Mom
Time to complete: 3 hours
First Worn: Easter Sunday, 2012
Wear Again: Yes!

Total Cost: $0

I chose our local Cultural Arts Center as a backdrop because of its resemblance to Grecian architecture. The colors also have a Grecian feel to them as well. It is the most beautiful building we have in Simi Valley, CA. Blues, golds, and ivories just makes this building standout among the suburban style homes and out dated shopping centers that can barely keep a store alive. I have seen a few plays here and before it was the Cultural Arts Center, I used to attend the haunted house the city would put together every Halloween as a pre-teen. I found the architecture of the Arts Center very inspiring when it came to putting my Grecian style dress together for this challenge.

Let’s start with the top of the dress. The fabric is by Tina Givens, I love her stuff. I originally bought the fabric to cover a bench seat that I keep my sewing stuff in. I had just enough leftover for a top, cap sleeves, and facing. I am in love with not only the pattern I used but the print of this fabric. It is a beautiful egg blue with decorative olive gold framing over blue and yellow roses with dark blue leaves. This was a very easy top to put together, especially when I realized I have an easier time using patterns designed for teens. I measure right on with the average vintage teen pattern measurements, and had less of a hassle tackling this challenge when it came to fit.

Now the skirt is a funny story. The fabric actually came from a bridesmaid dress that we sold in the bridal salon where I work. When certain dresses get discontinued by the designer, we mark them half price and put them on the sale rack. Well, we couldn’t do that with this one. It had a huge stamp across the butt that read “SAMPLE”. That stamp does not make for a sell-able dress. My boss gave me the dress and said “make something of this and make me proud”. Thankfully I am of short stature and the dress was an average of 61 inches from hallow of neck to hem. I cut the dress right at the hip and still had enough length from my waist to my ankles to use as a skirt part of my creation. I had to seam rip the back of the seam through the double lining and chiffon to put in a zipper. I gathered the top part of my skirt and attached it at the bottom part of my bodice top. I didn’t have to do a hem or side seams! It was great and the ivory resembled the main canvas of the Arts Center.

I’m glad I chose the Cultural Arts Center/Athens as my City Inspiration, or I suppose I am glad it chose to inspire me. I am very happy with is dress. The simplicity and the flow of it makes me want to have an excuse to wear it again. This was probably my easiest challenge to date and am glad I went with it. I especially enjoyed using it as my Easter Dress. I got the whole family to match! Wish we took a family photo…Maybe later.




Bethany is a forever student in Fashion Design. She took a hiatus from her studies due to the fear of using a sewing machine and a long term illness. It wasn't until her daughter was born, she felt inspired to create again and dive headfirst into sewing by machine.


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  1. Bethany, Greece is perfect as its a gorgeous , goddess like outfit

    love it. xx

  2. What a fab boss! And you’ve made us all proud. I love your blue shoes too, you don’t only look Grecian goddess, but it also is a nice interpretation of the Greek flag. I would never have guessed you’re not statuesque….your creations always make you look like you’re tall.

  3. Wow Bethany, that fabric is so beautiful for the top, it really stands out and I love the length of the gown, so statuesque. Great photos with the dynamic angles!

  4. So elegant and pretty. Really like the print combined with the chiffon.

  5. Wow, this is really pretty! And I can totally see the Grecian inspiration. Your shoes are fabulous, by the way, and match so well with the top!

    • He he! Thanks. I love these shoes. They are 5 in. heels, the tallest I own. I need the height. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Bethany, this is beautiful. Perfect place for your photo..

  7. The blouse is so lovely! The print and color really do remind me of Athen’s blue seas and then the skirt is just the right compliment, resembling the white stucco architecture. How wonderful that you were able to use the Art Center for photos! You look fantastic.

  8. So cool and elegant. Well done!

  9. A gorgeous creation and a great combination of the bridesmaids dress and the fabric!

  10. What a great boss and a great job. When i first saw your pic, i was reminded of the ’30s. I am a fan of pbs /amc Piorot movies. You looked like one of the actresses in fantastic vintage costume. Well done.

  11. So pretty!! I just love the fabrics! Excellent setting as well.

  12. I LOVE this creation! What a wonderful way to use the old bridesmaid dress. It is gorgeous! :)

    • Thank you! I love it too. I am so happy with the turn out. Thank goodness bridesmaid dresses don’t always have to stay bridesmaid dresses!

  13. You look darling Bethany your photos are gorgeous. I love the pattern on the fabric and the silhouette of the top. Well done as always.

    • Ahh shucks! Thanks Kazzy! I am so happy with this dress. I actually thought of you when it came to picking out my shoes for this photo session!

  14. This is gorgeous. There’s a bridal shop going out of business not far from my house. You’ve inspired me to go take a look for parts. That doesn’t count as buying fabric, does it? :)

    • Thank you! Erin, seriously do it! If you find any that have a full skirt, snag them up. More fabric to work with. It totally counts!

  15. I love this Grecian nod! The post-production on the photos really adds to the color of the bodice and that dreamy, vacation light. Lucky duck on that dress :)