Hot! The “Mrs. Claus Cocktail” Dress

While I am not what you would call holiday obsessed, any opportunity to get dressed up is okay with me.  And red velvet seems particularly holiday appropriate.  So this is my re-do of the Red Challenge from February.

I finished the dress just in time for the office Christmas party.  Yeah for self-imposed deadlines!

This is, of course, one of Gertie’s Butterick designs.  I recently purchased her Book for Better Sewing as a present to myself.  So with a whole lot of new Gertie patterns on my mind, I thought it was the right time to cut into one.

I love a cocktail dress, but those short sleeves plus velvet fabric was going to have limited wearability, even for me.  This is not the kind of dress I want to throw a cardigan over.

So I added some sleeves!

The other noticeable alteration I made was adding a kick pleat to the back of the dress.  I have seen too many slit-backed pencil skirt gone bad, so I added an extra chunk of fabric to both back skirt pieces, sewed the edges together, and top stitched diagonally.  Voila!  No flashing the world at an inopportune moment.

This is my second attempt to make a dress with this fabulous fabric.  I am so relieved that this one turned out okay!


• The Facts

⁃ Fabric:  rayon blend crushed velvet; bemberg lining; silk organza

⁃ Pattern:  Butterick 5814

⁃ Year: 2012

⁃ Notions:  plastic boning; 22” zipper; hook & eye; grosgrain ribbon; Hug Snug seam binding

⁃ Time to complete:  Two weeks.

⁃ First worn:  December 10, 2012

⁃ Wear again?  Yes!

⁃ Total price:   ~ $40.00


Laura Mae

Laura Mae adores sewing and knitting, mostly vintage or vintage-inspired patterns. She hopes to inspire others to create lovely and lasting garments that speak of a past era and yet remain timeless and elegant.


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  1. Gorgeous dress! And your sleeves match the style perfectly!

  2. So fantastically beautiful! A perfect holiday dress too. I admire your attention to detail and style. Your photos are awesome.

  3. This is so rich and beautiful!

  4. …and it looks fantastic, just stunning. I bet you were the life of the party.

  5. I just bought this pattern! Your version is so pretty, I may have to move this up on the list : ) What a good remake of a dress that didn’t quite work out. I”ve been catching up on your adventures in your blog, you’ve got several patterns that I am now looking for. Such fun!!