Hot! The ‘Rose Garden’ Dress

I was so excited to see an upcoming pink challenge in the queue, as I knew exactly which fabric I was going to use.  I’ve had this fabric in my stash for as long as I can remember.  I can’t recall if I picked it up over 5 years ago when I thought I would take up sewing, or if I grabbed it from my mom’s stash.  It wasn’t a print I was necessarily drawn to, but knew that I could cut it up without being worried about the outcome of the final garment.  But now that I actually know what I’m doing, I wanted to see if I could make it into something that I would wear.  Not only that, but I wanted to be excited about it.

The Facts

Fabric: cotton from my stash $0
Pattern: Megan Nielsen’s Darling Ranges $18
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Buttons and bias tape! $6
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: This past weekend on a trip to the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden
Wear again? Yes!
Total cost: $24

So, time to mix things up! I had to get out of my Colette/Simplicity comfort zone and try something new.  I switched on over to Megan Nielsen mode.  Please, bear with me as I become obsessed.  This dress was so fun to make. There were just a few pattern pieces and they didn’t have a lot of markings that I had to deal with.  As I can be pretty lazy when it comes time to cut out my patterns and fabric, I loved this.  The instructions were really clear and I loved the methods for installing bias tape into the neckline and the front packet for the buttons.

The only challenge that I had is the bust is a bit tight.  This could have been avoided if I made a muslin, especially as I hadn’t worked with her patterns before, but when I immediately made up her Banksia pattern, I had zero issues with the fit.  So, note to self…  I may need to bind the girls up, or just lose a few pounds, but I do know that when I make this dress again, I’ll have to double check the bust fit.

I ventured out of the backyard again for this photo shoot, and headed on over to the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden.  I drive by this beautiful garden whenever I go into the office, but had never stopped to check it out.  It’s over four acres of land that contained about 3,200 varieties of roses. All are planted and maintained by volunteers. It was pretty amazing and a beautiful treasure trove in the middle of San Jose.  It also made for the perfect backdrop for this pink challenge.  Roses everywhere in every color imaginable! And I braved the bees for you all!



Christine started sewing in late 2010, inspired by the many crafty bloggers and their gorgeous, self-made outfits. When she's not sewing, she's doing Irish and Scottish dancing, needlework or other various crafts, and hanging out with her hubby and fur babies (1 dog and 3 cats).


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  1. So lovely!! I just bought this pattern and I’m pleased to see such a positive experience with it. I love the fabric, too.

  2. Love the atypical plaid color plust the dress looks comfortable and easy to wear! After looking at the line drawings for both your dress & the blouse you made, I think some of the snugness in the bust area is due to the placement of the bust darts on the pattern. The pictures of the model wearing the blouse clearly show that even on the model the bust darts are too high & too short.

    Your Rose Garden pictures were a perfect way to start the month of May & a great reminder for those of us in the area to go visit an unusual & beautiful garden.

    • Great call-out! The more that I look at the dress, I can definitely see that contributing to the problem. After I made it I started fussing with the dart area but it was too late as I hadn’t made a muslin ahead of time. I’ll definitely be tweaking that placement when I make it agan.

  3. I love your dress and the vintage feel!

  4. Those roses are so pretty. It must be lovely to see the fabric finally used…I do like a button fronted dress, it looks lovely.

  5. This photo shoot is ADORABLE! And perhaps the perfect setting to show off this gorgeous little dress?

  6. Great photos – the dress is lovely

  7. I love this dress so much!! The photos are stunning, too. And, thanks for sharing your would-be tweaks of the pattern – I had never heard of Meagan Nielsen before, the designs are really nice.

  8. Adorable! What a lovely setting too!

  9. I like your dress! Being a bit busty myself, I wasn’t sure if that pattern would work for me but now I’m considering it! Thanks for sharing.

    One tip I have to avoid gaping if the bust is a bit tight (and on button down shirts is always is for me) is to safety pin or sew snaps on the placket in between the buttonholes. If it’s really tight that might not work, but if the problem is more gaps than tightness that’s what I’d suggest!

    • I usually have to do pins when I buy ready-made store bought blouses just because I don’t think they’re made for busty girls like me but depending on how often I wear this before I make any adjustments (to the dress or my weight), I may need to sneak in a pin or two. Luckily the gaps are fairly small – nothing where someone standing next to you would get a show. ;)

  10. Very nice! I have this dress pattern in my sewing queue. I need some time to devote to this pattern though, because I’m having some serious bust issues. That rose garden is very pretty.

  11. It’s very cute – I think I might just have to get this.

  12. Wow, your obsession might be contagious– a seriously cute dress that makes up easily? Count me in. Love the plaid fabric, the buttons, and of course the beautiful blooming roses.

  13. Wow Christine this is the cutest road tripping dress, the button placement looks perfect. Your photos are just gorgeous the perfect setting for your dress. There seems to be a theme apart from this weeks Pink challenge, all of us are surrounded by mother nature in our spotlight shots. Gorgeous.

  14. Another one of those patterns I have heard so much about that I just have to try it. Yours is absolutely gorgeous!

  15. Christine, this is really cute.. Love the fabric on you.. and I love trying new patterns..This is really cute.

  16. Thank you everyone for the wonderful, kind words!