Hot! The “Princess Beatrice” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: 2 1/2 yards green pima poplin from B&J, $27
Pattern: Simplicity 2406 (Cynthia Rowley), view B
Year: 2010
Notions: one tiny button and bit of embroidery floss for the loop, from stash
Time to complete: about 6 hours
First worn: 6/3
Wear again: yes
Total cost: about $30

I really wanted to make a coat and hat inspired by Queen Elizabeth and had all goods ready to go.  Then I spent the better part of a week tending my desperately needy, sick daughter, Fenna.  At her bedside, I looked at the instructions to the 70s coat pattern, stamped “simple to make” with “three main pieces” on the envelope.  Talk about false advertising!  Depleted of energy, I instantly gave up on the coat. Besides, while I would have worn a spring coat a lot a couple months ago, the suddenly soupy weather makes me think coat days are over for now.  Time for plan B.

Kate was obviously out.  The girl can dress, but she’s way too impeccable for me as a style inspiration.  All I knew about Princess Beatrice was her infamous royal wedding outfit, the beige coat dress and crazy hat, which I wasn’t fond of and wouldn’t want to emulate.  She took a lot of crap for that outfit, though, and in an extremely classy move she used the negative attention to sell the hat for charity.  But  what about her style?  After some googling I found she possesses two qualities I greatly admire and wish I had more of: nerve and a sense of humor.

I especially like these two casual looks, not necessarily what come to mind when you think of princess clothes, but more in keeping with my lifestyle.

I happened to have a suitable pattern from a recent swap with some Brooklyn sewists that combines elements from the peach flowy dress and the green beach cover up. It looked fairly easy, my main concern. I normally don’t wear anything this drapey or short or requiring a belt, but that’s the beauty of the challenges.  I had to squeeze in an early morning trip to the garment district and spend some money on fabric.  Honestly, after a few days of being housebound with a sick child I was happy for a reason to leave.  By the time poor Fenna’s antibiotic kicked in I had one weekend day to sew.  Thanks to my husband for making the marathon possible.  Sewing this dress really did feel like a marathon– my neck and shoulders are still sore!  Wish we could have taken photos at Coney Island, pretty much the opposite of the Riviera, but that outing would have been too much for Fenna, who should still be resting.  Had to settle for the technically off-limits courtyard of our building.

I like this dress.  The sleeves are weird, but as someone who feels most comfortable with a sleeve, I like that I get to have a sleeveless look in my comfort zone.  Sleeveless sleeves.  I sewed up half the back slit and didn’t even consider the suggested zipper.  I do want to add bra carriers.  Where the sleeves attach to the dress at the front neckline turned out kind of jagged.  I did my best to clean it up, but if I use this pattern again I will definitely take measures to ensure a a nice curve.

Thanks for looking.  Unlike Beatrice, I know I don’t have to worry about you delighting in judging me harshly!



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


Comments are closed.

  1. Beautiful job! Love the color, love the silhouette. Fabulous!

  2. This dress is so pretty..Looks good on you.. Happy sewing.

  3. Fantastic! I really like the color and the button detail in the back. Great job making the challenge work for you. I hope your daughter is feeling better.

  4. Hey Lee, I love this dress on you. The color green is such a beautiful jade. It will be great for the hot weather coming our way. I think the sleeve are a pretty cool detail. Hope Fenna is bouncing back quickly. Can’t believe you got this all done in Adam. Bravo.

  5. Great inspiration, and fantastic colour on you. I wonder if that pattern would work better in a slightly softer, more draping fabric?

  6. I love the dress. I could use a bit more nerve and sense of humor in my style. I’m glad you pointed that out.

  7. It’s really cute, Lee, and good for you using the inspiration that moves you. :) I like your sleeveless sleeves, and the color is great.

  8. I really love this dress on you! And I’m totally hearing you about the sleeveless dress with sleeves! Perfect.

  9. Is it nuts to say I like your dress better than Beatrice’s? That’s such a pretty color, too!

  10. Hi Lee! I really like your dress and the color is do pretty! You have such great patterns. Wish I had that butterfly hat!

  11. You look great in that dress. Great color and a very interesting pattern. The sleeves are pretty cool.

  12. I think your dress is lovely : ) And I have to admit I’ve never really looked at what the younger royals wear but that butterfly hat is seriously cool, thanks for somse future inspiration! I hope your daughter is feeling better, it used to just break my heart when my daughter was sick. And I think you could seriously give any critic a run for their money, you look great!

  13. Love this pattern Lee, and you are owning that colour. All of the little details are impressive.