Hot! The “Stylish Alternative” Dress

Just give it another 20 years and I may be cringing at this too... hopefully not.












I think anything would probably look stylish as an alternative to the permed hair and neon wind suits I so dearly loved in the late eighties/early nineties.  I SHUDDER when I look at pictures from these years.  I wore my pants too high and all my shirts tucked in (a boy in band actually asked me why I wore my shirts tucked in all the time) or wore stirrup pants with oversized blouses and sweaters.  Then there were the wind suits.  So comfortable.  So sporty feeling.  I wore the two or three I had…. a lot.

How long WAS the crotch on these pants anyway!!?

So, to counteract the awfulness of this photo, I hope to present the antidote, the neon maxi.

Fabric: ITY knit from

Pattern: bodice based on Sis Boom Jamie Dress and the rest is my own concoction

Year: 2010

Notions: elastic

Time to complete: too much, 6-7 hours because of unpicking and resizing

First worn: all day today and then out to take pictures

Wear again: Yes!

Total Price: $8

I loosely based the bodice on the Sis Boom Jamie Dress pattern even though it’s not made for knits.  The skirt is just two rectangles and then what was the border on both sides of this crazy fabric, became the ruffle, using the selvedge for the hem.

After completing the bodice, I tried it on and the fit was fine, a tad loose, but fine.  I suspected though that the weight of the skirt would pull on those stretchy straps and throw the fit (and the length) totally off.  Boy was I right!  There wasn’t any way for me to tell how long to make the straps or the skirt until I put the whole thing together to see how it would hang.  If I was aobut 5 inches taller and my boobs were about 5 inches lower, it would have been perfect.  As it was, I was indecent and tripping over the ruffle.

It took some time to unpick because the thread buried itself good and deep into that knit.  I was somewhat prepared and I just knew the result would be great if I could see it through to the finish.














I shortened the straps each by about four inches to compensate for the stretch and the weight of the dress pulling them down.  I shortened the elastic in the front casing by about 4-5 inches as well, just to be positive I would never have to worry about an indecent moment.  I also had to re-sew the seam between the ruffle and the main skirt to make the whole thing 5 inches shorter without taking away my ability to use the selvedge as the hem.

I knew I wanted to highlight the design of the fabric by leaving the front of the skirt flat.  I attatched the gathered part of the bust to the flat part of the skirt and then gathered the rest of the skirt, matching the side seams.  It was pretty wide through the ribcage still, so I added elastic to the seam all along the gathered part and left the flat part untouched.

My vision became a reality and I think this is a much more stylish way to do neon in a comfortable, wear-every-day sort of item.  It is officially my new favorite dress of the Summer!




Sara is a dance teacher by degree and at heart, but has currently set that aside while her husband completes his radiology residency and she raise their two little girls. Her interest in sewing began when she had her first little girl four years ago and she began sewing for herself just last year. Sewing is her creative outlet and is also becoming an academic endeavor as she attempt to educate herself further in this new pursuit.


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  1. Words cannot express how much I want this dress…. It’s sooooooooooo gorgeous. You’ve used the material to it’s upmost. I love that all your hardwork having to make the adjustments for the weight and to have that flat front paid off. It really is gorgeous, possibly the garment I’ve coveted most on Sew Weekly this year. And if that’s me saying all that when words can’t express….

  2. Absolutely love this!!!

  3. That print is crazy! Good job sticking through all the weirdness of ITY knit though. I’ve worked with it once, and never again!

  4. I looooooooooooooooooove this dress!! This is such a cool piece and worth all the extra work to get the fit right. You go Gir!!

  5. Love this so much! Great job.

  6. The print is FANTASTIC. I adore this dress on you and I’m so glad you didn’t give up on making it work :)

  7. Fabulous…in the UK, we called ‘wind’ suits ‘shell’ suits and believe it or not, I saw one in the window of a vintage shop in a quite trendy district! Surely they can’t be coming back into fashion! Noooo….. The colours in your dress are gorgeous and it’s quite stunning.

    • sometimes I wonder about what people value as “vintage”… I hope, along with you, that these do NOT come back.

  8. I want it! Fantastic dress. I remember shell suits too. The sound they made when you walk was known as ‘the Romford rustle’.

  9. I love your recreation! So fun and perfect for summertime. I think it was worth all of the extra effort you had to do picking your stitches and resewing.

    I think I also have some scary 80’s pictures of myself in neon and pastel tie-dye oversized t-shirts.

  10. So colorful! I love the print of the fabric and the interesting way you put the dress together. Great Job!

  11. Sara this is the best interpretation of a childhood photo I’ve seen. The colours from the neon wind suit to this!! Love it, so summery and cheerful.