The “it’s all in my head” dress

The Facts
Fabric: Floral Satin Cotton 4 yds @ $7.50 per yd, Turquoise Cotton Guaze 2 yds @ $2 per yd
Pattern: It’s a franken pattern! B5181-back bodice, B5485-front bodice and midriff, M5801-skirt
Year: modern
Notions: invisible zip, lace hem tape, thread
Time to Complete: about 8 hours
First worn: June 2012
Wear again?: Yes!
Total Price: about $30

Hey ya’ll, let’s get this Jubilee started! Perhaps if I put my petticoat on things will feel more festive. Ok, that’s better. This fabric and franken pattern were slated for the Vegas challenge, because you know, I seriously want to elope with this fabric. It is the bestest most beautiful fabric I’ve ever owned and/or worked with. I saw it last spring from across the room and made my way over. I picked it up, admired it, and even caressed it a little bit. It has the most luxurious hand. Then I checked the price and immediately went into sticker shock, this lovely fabric was $14.99 a yard, far to expensive for my undergrad budget. Alas, we were not destined to be together. That was until March of this year, I spotted this fabric again only this time it was on the 50% off table. It couldn’t be, this beauty survived all year and was now on the discount table? I made my way to the cutting counter completely convinced that I would be disappointed again. I was sure I would be informed that the discount placement was a mistake, but the fabric gods wanted us to be together. There were 4 yards of this lovely left on the bolt, only now those 4 yards were $7.99 a yard. YES!!! It wasn’t on my list or in my budget, but it was a sign, we were meant to be together. I’m telling you this is my fabric soulmate. Alright, enough of my seriously inappropriate fabric love.

This dress wasn’t inspired by any royal outfits, but was definitely inspired by royalty. That is if you consider the royal gardens royalty. This fabric feels so regal, and in my head looks like Kensington Gardens, if Kensington Gardens were covered in the most beautiful purple and blue flowers. I can’t seem to find a picture of it looking like it does in my head, but that’s ok. I’m content with my own image of the gardens, even if it is completely imaginary.
If you notice, all of my pictures have squiggled out dates in them, I forgot to undo the date stamp in the camera. Something to remember for next time. Oh and the back hem wrinkles, geesh!

This dress went together like a dream. I’ve used the bodice from Butterick 5485. I knew it would fit and fit well. Then I saw Butterick 5181 and fell in love with the back bodice. Seriously, it’s great! I knew I wanted a full skirt, but I wanted it pleated. A gathered waist isn’t my best look. I also knew I wanted to wear a petticoat, enter McCalls 5801. Sadly, it’s now out of print.
I made a muslin, just to make sure everything would fit and line up. Everything did, WooHoo! I was a little nervous cutting this fabric, having held on to it like a crazy hoarder since March, but it all went well.  I hand hemmed the bottom. I didn’t want a super noticeable stitch line, so I used a blind hem stitch. It worked well and went a lot faster than I thought.

 I’m very pleased with this dress. I should have included some pics of the inside, the lining is so pretty. I love a tidy finish on the inside. It’s like a beautiful secret I get to know.

Oh and you see that marble bench I’m sitting on? In my imaginary Kensington gardens there would be benches like this to sit and rest on. I should really visit someday and see if my imaginary garden is as beautiful as the real thing. Perhaps, but for now it’s all in my head.



Clarissa Henderson started the Sew Weekly to create more wearable pieces for her wardrobe. She also joined to meet others in the sewing community.


Comments are closed.

  1. Hi Clarissa, what a beautiful dress and I completely understand your love affair with the fabric.

  2. Very pretty! It is indeed gorgeous fabric! I actually like the dress better without the petticoat. The royal family were never much for the stiff petticoats ;-)

  3. That is a very beautiful dress and you look very beautiful in it. I think it looks great with and without the petticoat. I do like volume though since I’ve got small hips. Nice job!

  4. I love the fabric and the pattern that you created using the different pieces. You really styled it well. It looks so festive with the petticoat underneath. I think the queen is calling you for tea!

  5. I’m so glad you got this, you and this fabric were meant to be together….and at a more reasonable price. You carry on imaging yourself in Kensington Gardens girl, well, until you can get to the real place.

  6. Very pretty! That really is lovely fabric.

  7. Simply beautiful petticoat and all. I should totally make a petticoat.