Hot! The “Caged Bird Sings” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton lawn from G Street Fabrics; voile from Paron
Pattern: Vogue 8380, View B
Year: contemporary
Notions: invisible zipper
Time to complete: A number of hours over the course of a week
First worn: August 2012
Wear again? Yes

Total Cost: ~$50

Yellow! Of all the colors, I don’t really wear yellow. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a piece of yellow clothing that I own actually. Enter this fabric and this challenge! I bought this pretty cotton lawn last summer at G Street Fabrics during a trip to D.C. because I loved the color and the print, not really thinking how the color would look on me.

I first saw this pattern when Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch shared her version. I thought it was so cute with the little bow at the top!

I was determined to finish this dress just in time for my New England road trip, and finish it I did! This required staying up past midnight the morning I left and packing afterward. Staying up past midnight on a Friday night – ohhh yeah, living dangerously.

I’m not sure how this neckline (or the color for that matter) looks on me, but overall I’m happy with it. I feel very “New England” in it, especially in front of this schooner in Portland, Maine! The dress is gathered above and below the waistline and closes with an invisible zip at the side seam. The tie at the top brings it all together. It’s actually a very easy dress to make and to adjust, can’t complain there.

I ended up lining the dress even though the pattern doesn’t call for it. The birdy cotton lawn is sheer and while I thought about underlining it, I figured lining would be the cleanest look for the inside. I took the time to hide the zipper between the layers, a technique I can’t resist these days. Thankfully, my most recent Sewaholic Cambie dress (the Muddy Waters dress from the Red, White & Blue challenge) gave me good practice with how best to add lining to a dress with an invisible zip.

I feel like the title of this post/dress is kind of obvious, but what else could I call it? I mean, look at that print! Birds and cages with the cage doors open. Every time I saw this fabric in my stash I dreamed of the day I would make it into something and, yes, call it the “Caged Bird Sings” dress (so clever and yet *so* unoriginal). And now the day has come and I think it looks nice, but I might need some more convincing. I think it definitely looks better with a summer tan, but since summer is the only time of the year I plan to wear it, I think I’m good to go there. :)

Ahoy, she says! (Can you say “ahoy” if you’re not even physically on the boat?) Please note how I can’t even really see that far into the distance. It was really foggy that morning, but we took a tour on the schooner anyway to explore Casco Bay, apparently also known as the Bermuda Triangle some days. Luckily we made it back okay and even got to see some of the bay after the fog decided to be kind and clear on out of there.

And here’s a little up close and personal with the print. It’s upside down obviously, but it gives you a better look at the cute design. The fabric feels so soft and I used an even softer pale yellow voile for the lining that I picked up from Paron here in NYC. I’ve come to the realization that the lining should be the most comfortable part of the dress given that it’s up against your skin the entire time you’re wearing the darn thing. Would you agree?


Sewin' in the Rain

Amanda started sewing in the fall of 2009 and is a New York City gal who loves mid-century styles and historic architecture. Though a lover of dresses first and foremost, she tries hard to pay more attention to sewing separates.


Comments are closed.

  1. Hi AManda, I think the dress looks great on you and seeing the fabric up close, you really appreciate the fabric design. I can see this paired with a cute bolero jacket in a blue knit color that matches the cage. I like the title of the dress, the photos look like you want to jump on the boat and escape to your next adventure.

    • That’s a cute idea, Krista! I love the thought of a bolero matched with this dress. And I like the thought of jumping on the boat for my next adventure – sounds fun! :)

  2. Hi Amanda! I think you look great in this color and the title is great. The name is usually the last thing for me to decide on. You’re lucky it pretty much named itself. You’re hard work really shows-I like your pictures too!

  3. I LOVE that fabric, and I think it looks so lovely in this style! Yellow is very pretty on you, I think, and I am definitely digging your backdrop on these photos :) Well done!

  4. Gorgeous dress and gorgeous fabric. Very flattering!

  5. Lovely dress, and I think it looks wonderful on you. :-) Very pretty.

  6. I think this shade of yellow is wonderful on you! And how cute is that print! I’d buy it in any colour! It looks like a great, wearable dress.

    Can I ask what kind of hem you did? I’m trying to figure out what it is doing.

    • Thanks, Dreamstress! It definitely is wearable, which is always nice at the end of a sewing journey. Which leads me to…

      …the hem. I’ll be honest, it’s the result of rushing to get this dress done in time for my vacation. I attempted to take a short cut by tucking the lining into the main fabric’s hem since it was getting late, and even though it looked fine on the dress form when I pinned both together the lining ended up pulling the outer fabric a bit when I wore it for these photos. Yikes! I’m going to unpick it and hem the lining separately, as I would have done if I had just taken my time. :) Oh well, just proves I shouldn’t try to rush things too often!

  7. So cute. love the fabric..Looks great on you.

  8. Gorgeous fabric and the dress is so cute too! With the different colors in the print it will go with so much

  9. Such a cute dress! Just right for summer and the beach. It looks lovely on you.

  10. This is such a sweet dress! I really like that pattern and the fabric you paired it with is perfect.

  11. Fantastic! Amanda great job on such a sweet dress, love your photos too.

  12. Hello and great to see you here again. Such a lovely neckline and so fresh looking. Hope you enjoyed your trip.