The “What’s black and white and red all over?” dress

The Facts

Fabric: 3.5 yds cotton lobster print fabric $13.97 (£8.79), cotton sheet and satin sheet, both from stash.
Pattern: Simplicity 4070 bodice view A, skirt view F.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: Zip $0.99 (£0.62), thread.
Time to complete: 16 hours.
First worn: 18th November 2012.

Wear again? Yes, probably for Thanksgiving.

Total Cost: $14.96 (£9.41)

The challenge: “Black and white”.

What’s black and white and red all over?

A sun-burnt penguin? Nah, not this time.

A newspaper? Nope, that’s ‘read all over’.

A very confused lobster? Getting closer.

Tempest when she’s ‘cheating’ for the black and white challenge? You got it (dude).

Giving you a glimpse of the real colour of the dress…

Look, there’s nothing about the challenge that definitely said the fabric had to be black and white……and you knooooow how much I adore the colour black, so I made something I wanted to, photographed it and then used the focal b&w tool (those are the ones with the circle draining out the colour) and b&w and it’s repaint tool (the less harsh changes) in Pic Monkey. That satisfies the criteria doesn’t it? No? Still not happy? OK, what about the fabric is white (half the required element) and red….oh, and with a green satin sash….but the lobsters are outlined in black. That counts doesn’t it?

Well tough. I honestly couldn’t do black even with white.

This is the first time I’ve used Simplicity’s 4070. To be honest I’m not sure I like the bodice – the front curve of the arm syce is too deep, shows a bit too much skin. I prefer mine a little more vertical.

The princess seams were a bit strange too. I think I honestly prefer the bodice shape on the Simplicity 2444, with the double waist darts rather than the princess seams….I shall reserve the latter for shirts in the future. The skirt though is lovely (view F of the 4070), not a complete circle but still hinting at a retro shape whilst still being modernly practical.

I’m wearing this for the photos without a net petticoat, which is probably how I’ll wear this dress day-to-day but I’ll add the netting for special occasions, like Thanksgiving this week. Hey, did you know the Pilgrims ate lobster and considered it a low-class boring food? The things you learn volunteering in 4th grade classes eh.

My sash seemed to have a mind of it’s own. I’d fixed it perfectly before I got in the car to drive….and you can tell I was without my stylist for this shoot…the poor little thing was at home throwing up, and is this morning devastated that she can’t go to school and has broken her full attendance record.

OK, I’m getting cheeky now showing you the real colour of the lobsters…

I shall now go and sit on the naughty step. Which is a long way away from my sewing machine, so next week’s 1960’s themed thing (I’m out of inspiration at the moment, despite the 60s having so much fashion variety) will be hard to sew. Plus I’m stuck at home with madam being ill, so I might just have to make a mini-dress out of curtain in my stash. We’ll see.

Now I’m just taking the mickey with the b&w tools on Pic Monkey ;)

Oh what the heck, do you want to see it properly? OK, just don’t turn me in to the prefects or headmaster for breaking the rules, here you go:

Very naughty. And yes to you art fans, the telephone is a reference to Dali, well I am wearing a lobster dress.




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’ve got black and white in there…with a fabulous amount of red!!! Well done, I say, well done : ) I don’t know why but this dress makes me ridiculously happy for you, it’s just so “YOU”. And I’m actually dying to see some cute little 60’s dress made out of a curtain next week…

  2. Perfect. :) I knew you could do this challenge!

  3. Ha ha! Great job Tempest. Lovely lobsters. I love Pic Monkey – how good is it!? Perfect if you are not a Photoshop gal.

  4. Love how the red lobsters appear here and there in the different pics and then the final reveal! Who could reprimand such a creative soul?

  5. Ideal – The best kind of black and white. Loved the appearance of the red lobsters. I have this pattern in my stash. Your efforts always encourage me to try patterns that I have dismissed as being too young or not for my figure and for that, I thank you.

  6. Perfecto Tempest you funny lady you. Great job on a fun frock.

  7. And I was worried I’d be the cheater in this challenge…You’re definitely the cheating queen. ;) Great dress, Tempest. The green sash looks beautiful with the red and white (and black, of course..let’s not forget about the black outlines…). I also like the decorative stich you used on the hem, neckline and armscyes.

  8. When you said that you didn’t want to do the B&W challenge, I thought for sure you’d do your own thing and then add a B&W accessory – leave it to you and your creativity to get around the rules in the coolest way!

    I have to know where you got that fabric (it was a sheet? Was it from a department store that we might have up here in the Great White North too?)

    • I got the fabric from a discount warehouse I go to every few months Vicki. They tend ends of rolls and scraps of quilting and apparel fabrics. So, unfortunately, most of the stuff I get there is a few seasons old….however, in case you can find some online it’s Lloyds & Barton for Timeless Treasures. Good luck!

  9. Well, it’s not exactly black and white, but it’s a fabulous dress! What fantastic fabric, and it looks beautiful on you! I especially love the phone ;-)