Hot! The “Tempest Smash” Dress

The Facts 

Fabric: Cotton leftovers from other projects in stash
Patterns: Self-drafted
Year: Contemporary
Notions: Zip 79c, bias tape made from pillowcase in stash, thread
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: May 13th 2012
Wear again? Yes, but bodice needs darting

Total Cost: $0.79

The challenge: “Mix It Up: Using at least two different prints in an outfit”.

Oh dear, this week. Nope, I’m not going to make any excuses. Let’s just say it was a pooey week, kids off sick, doctors visits, x-rays, teaching (marshalling) 27 nine year olds making our own Jackson Pollock tribute (big fun, but lots of prep and clearing up)….and me trying to make a dress I’ve been planning for ages…

No, not this dress.

The plan was to take 9 different Dr. Seuss prints I have in my stash and make a maxi dress with a patchwork skirt.

This was my sewing lair cutting table on Monday morning:

And this was my bodice on Monday afternoon:

And this was my dress by Saturday afternoon:

Your eyes do not deceive you there – that is a sleeve sewn to a neckline instead of an armhole. And that is a dress without a bottom half.

Had this been in my teens or my twenties, or even my thirties, I would have curled up in a corner and cried. Luckily, I’ve gained some perspective in my forties and my verdict on my Dr Seuss Patchwork-Wonder Dress was “sod this for a game of soldiers, let’s go and see The Avengers, I’ll make something simpler in the morning”.

The Dr Seuss Patchwork-Wonder Dress will have to see the light on another day. This was not its day. Not even Tim Gunn could have convinced me to “make it work”. I needed a break. I needed to go out with my kids and have some fun……and wow, was The Avengers the right choice! Love, love, loved it.

So on Sunday morning I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed and made this dress instead.

I’m Thor……..well you shouldn’t have dropped that hammer on your toe then. Bu-dum tish!

It’s a rectangular piece of floral fabric 3 inches larger than my bust size, with a flamingo print one and a half times the length of this gathered to the bottom edge of the top piece. And a floral bottom flounce twice the length of the top rectangle, gathered to the length of the flamingo piece. Oh, and top straps. And a visible zip because it was a nice lime green and had a cool pull. I chose the two prints because the sizings of their images seemed balanced and they both had lime greens in them. I also made some bias tape out of a pillowcase in a complementary purple to one in the floral print. Does that make any sense?

It was going to be called the “Hulk Smash” Dress but I suspect that Marvel and Disney probably have that trademarked and their lawyers primed to fire off cease and desist letters more accurately than Hawkeye. Why was it going to be called that? Because there two ways to wear the dress. I can wear it ‘backwards’ and it looks slightly more conventional….more outwardly ‘normal’….

You’ll have to use your imagination to think of this as the front….just pretend I’m doing a Cousin It impression. Or I can wear it ‘frontways’, less conventional, more monstrous….and has the tendency to make me do this:

And this….

Oh dear, I look more like Ricky Gervais in that one. Perhaps I should try another Thor impression….

Don’t even dare suggest I do my Captain America….

Luckily for you all, Goth Child insisted that the light was getting too bad for photos so my Hawkeye, Black Widow and Ironman impressions will have to wait for another day….. Just you wait for Diamond Jubilee challenge week……you’re not going to believe my Queen Victoria does Nick Fury impression!



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. You know I think sometimes the best thing to do is give a project some space. I’m sure the original will be great when you get back to it and this one is lovely now.

  2. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I am laughing SO HARD at this post! You really crack me up! That sleeve sewn to the neckline in priceless, truly. I love what you’ve made instead! It’s so cute. I wait with baited breath for that Nick Fury/Queen Elizabeth mash up!

  3. Look out Woodstock, here comes Tempest. The perfect dress for a music outing! Looks like you had a great time with this adventure.

  4. Ha! I can so relate to that pic of the sleeve sewn to the neckline! It all turned out fabulous in the end though. Dying to see the finished Dr Seuss dress as well.

  5. Love that flamingo print… and your impression of the Hulk! :D
    ((don’t make Tempest angrrrryyyyy))

  6. Can’t wait to see the Dr Seuss dress, you really must finish it!! That ‘neckline sleeve’ cracked me up too!

  7. Go Tempest, go Tempest, top of the table. Seriously, though I love your style. I was going to put some stuff about the similarity of our lives, but i think I’ll pm you on your blog.

  8. Queen Vic as Nick Furry. I must see this!!! Good job making the best of a bad situation. Hopefully you’ll get your dream Dr Seuss dress one of these weeks!

  9. Don’t you just love making those weird mistakes? Really gives you those WTH moments…I AM looking forward to seeing your Dr. Seuss dress one of these days but in the meantime this is fun and bright. Good job for sticking to it!!

  10. I can not wait to see the Dr Seuss dress!

  11. Been there done that…. sewing something in the wrong place and other dreadful mistakes. Great that you didn’t give up, but moved on to create something else. Love the color and pattern combinations. I really like the little zipper in the front too. I think I’ll go see that movie now so that I can get all the references.

  12. I am thinking that the Cat in the Hat might go for the sleeve at the neckline.

  13. Way to persevere! I think this dress is just fantastic and I loved your Avengers pictures! Can’t wait to see the Dr. Seuss dress once it’s complete :)

  14. You are an awesome and relentless sewist extreme!! I’d recruit you to fight evil any day! And, your Plan B dress has a great combination of fabrics.

    I, too took a break from sewing to see the Avengers in 3D. It was THE BOMB!!

  15. I’ve got to get less scared of bold colours! Perfect for a hot day and the shoes are ideal.

  16. My daughter has had her eye on the Dr. Seuss fabric for sometime, she wants to make a suit from it . I’m looking forward to seeing your Dr. Seuss dress too. Another funny post Tempest.

  17. I love those pics – literally rolling on the floor laughing here. And OMG, is that flamingo fabric again? Not the same as in your first post though as far as I can remember…Very cute dress and the shoes are the perfect match!