Hot! The “Suzy” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: 2.5 yards yellow cotton from Mood, white pique from
Pattern: Butterick 5913
Year: 1970
Notions: invisible zip, bias tape (used for the neck facing)
First worn: to Coney Island 8/5
Wear again: yes
Time to complete: at least 8 hours
Total cost: about $35

Source: via Lee on Pinterest


About a month ago (when my parents were here to babysit!), I fell in love with this dress worn by Suzy throughout most of Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest film.  Too young, too short, I thought.  Impossible.  Then in the Reality Check challenge I had cause to reflect that I might need a little more fantasy in my wardrobe.  And I just happened to have this pattern, which was part of the mighty box of goodness I received from the Commercial Pattern Archive when they were selling off duplicates cheap ($35) and random (by the box).


I meant to make the long sleeves with white cuffs and keep the pockets all yellow, more like Suzy’s dress, but late into the night of sewing I went with the easier-to-execute short sleeves and contrast pocket flaps.  I totally underestimated the time it would take me to grade up the pattern and get it fitting properly.  This is the first time I’ve graded a single-size pattern that doesn’t correspond to any of my measurements, and I made a few missteps along the way.  One change I made was to rotate the bust darts a bit downward so they don’t poke out right over my nipples (sorry! so indelicate!).  The darts look a little low now; I think instead of rotating them I should have just shortened them.  I really have no idea what the proper bust dart angle/level should be.


I like the result enough that I plan to use the pattern again.  I’d still like to try those long sleeves.  The 60s aren’t my favorite vintage fashion era, but I find this kind of mod shape extremely flattering to my figure, which is (starting from the top) flat, straight, and pearish.


The short sleeves turned out to be a blessing for the pictures at Coney Island.  Holy crap was it humid!  I couldn’t bear to put on the knee socks I actually set foot in an American Apparel to buy.  You can’t see them in these stills, but throughout the film Suzy wears white knee socks and saddle shoes.

Both fabrics have some nice textural depth.  I’m pretty sure I used the wrong side of the yellow fabric; it has a warmer color and a more interesting pattern.  Unfortunately it creases easily, as you can see in the feature photo.  Oh well, Suzy’s dress looks wrinkled too.

I’m not the only sewist who hasn’t been able to resist Suzy’s dress. I found the above image of Suzy in the dress in yellow (I think from a brief scene at the end of the film) on Camelia Crinoline’s blog. See her finished dress here and her inspiration post here.



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


Comments are closed.

  1. This is super cute.. Love the white contrast.. Great job.

  2. This looks fab on you. For some weird reason, I like that there is a bit of creasing, it gives it a little character.

  3. Oh my, you look wonderful! So perfect for your figure! The white flaps on the pockets were super smart as they take the place of the cuffs. Well done!

  4. You are super cute Lee! This dress is awesome!

  5. You look gorgeous in this dress, your fabric choise is lovely, too.
    And I totally understand you. I also fell in love with Suzy’s wardrobe while watching the movie. Though the coat with the attached cape is my dream-nr 1. Dream, because my figure is the exact opposite of yours (from the top): pearish (read very curvy), straight, flat. So I have to alter 60es styles very heavily to get away with them…

  6. OH MY GOSH- I LOVE that so much! The minute I saw it, I knew it was about Suzy!

  7. This is the perfect yellow dress!

  8. Lee, I think this is my absolute favorite of all the stuff you’ve sewn this year! Love the dress, love the inspiration, love the movie. I don’t look great in yellow, so I’d love to try this in another color for fall.

  9. I love it! It’s was so nice to open up Sew Weekly and see you! This style is VERY flattering on you. I love that you bought knee socks-maybe you can sport them for another post in the fall.

  10. I too fell in love with this dress. (I liked her coat with the capelet as well) The entire movie was touching to me, and the costume design was icing on the cake. How absolutely scrumptious this version is. Thanks so much for making my day with this lovely creation. Really gorgeous work.

  11. Love it!! in fact I am gonna do it for my daughter! I’ll start tonight!

  12. Stunning! You look so sweet in yellow. Cute photos too.

  13. Hi Lee, glad you shared the close up photo, the fabric has really cool texture and I love the collar. It’s a great style on you.

  14. I spied you in the dashboard and said to myself Lee’s done Suzy, what a treat, I’m a HUGE Wes fan; my daughter and I are really looking forward to seeing Moonrise Kingdom and she’ll be wearing her version of Suzies dress on the night :) You’ve made my day Lee; Your dress is super cute and will be the envy of many. GREAT JOB!

  15. I love this. it is sooo adorable and I love bright colours with white accents! great pattern and execution!

  16. Gorgeous! I love the yellow and white contrast. That style looks wonderful on you. :-)

  17. Such great attention to detail too! Love the bright colour.

  18. What a wonderful inspiration…I love that movie. (My husband and I actually went to watch it under the same circumstances – my mother was visiting and we finally had a babysitter for our son.) The dress really looks super cute on you. You have the perfect figure for it.

  19. I think it’s a great silouette on you too. And I agree: I’m sure it isn’t the last Susy dress we’ll see on the internet. I don’t know if you’re watching the new season of Project Runway, but last week Kenley was wearing a yellow mini with white knee socks and a peter pan collar (and the designers were subtly mocking her for it…)

  20. oops, hit return too quickly. I meant to say they were subtly mocking her for it when in reality, they were oblivious to the trend.

  21. I LOVE IT! The bright color and fabulous bits of white just make the whole dress pop. I would love to see the long sleeve version because I think this is a great pattern! And bravo on picking something from Moonrise Kingdom *swoon*

  22. ACK!! This is SO AWESOME!! I love how you styled the photos and I LOVE your saddle shoes! Really amazing job on this one!

  23. Adorable! I love that the yellow has texture, so the effect changes depending on how close or far you are away. The whole 60’s silhouette works so well on you.

  24. I have yet to see the movie but now I’m moving it to the top of my list. Your dress is adorable and I love your shoes : )

  25. This is too cute! What a great interpretation of the original. Love the shoes as well.

  26. Thanks, all, for your kind words. You are the best. I love Suzy’s cape coat too, but I think it’s beyond my current abilities. I didn’t know I was missing a new season of Project Runway! And the shoes are Vans; I think they’re supposed to be for swing dancing.