one dress, four ways

Wednesday 30 April 2008
Firstly, thank you all so much for the lovely comments regarding the Burda WoF skirt suit I posted in the last entry. I'm thrilled that so many of you left comments.

I went away last weekend (being a holiday weekend) so no sewing got done and I haven't quite finished the dress I'm working on this week, but here's one from the vault.

Since I have so many patterns, I don’t tend to make the same pattern over and over again. I fully understand the concept of TNT (tried and true) patterns, and I am constantly amazed by the quality and quantity of sewers who use TNT patterns, such as the highly creative Carolyn over at diaryofasewingfanatic. But most of the time when I sew I like to try something new and challenging when I sew, and usually I’m not sewing to make some basic pieces to fill a hole in my wardrobe, rather I just want something new. Oh, and I am easily distracted by new and pretty patterns.....

That said, sometimes a pattern comes along that I like enough to warrant it’s remake. This now OOP Butterick 3076, released in 2001, is such a simple and sweet dress that was so easy to make, I made it four times with rather different results.

First, up I made it in a soft cotton in a pale yellow with a floral design. I made this over four years ago, and I still drag it out each summer and wear it at least once or twice. This version is rather plain, and it may encounter a run in with some trims soon to jazz it up. Here is a location shot (not my front yard for a change) – taken at a park not far from my house, worn with the only white shoes I own (and in fact this dress is the only thing I wear them with). The dress isn't as pale as it seems in the photo below, it's just that it was a very sunny day!

Secondly, I made it in a polished cotton in a very Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman brown polka dot print. I even wore it to the horse races with a hat recently! Made from the exact same pattern, but the different fabric gives it a totally different look. Actually this is the same fabric I made the red polka dot jacket from that I posted a while back (only this dress didn't stay a UFO like the jacket did).

Thirdly, I made this into a formal dress to wear to a black tie affair for my husband’s work late last year. I used a black cotton lace over a cream soft polyester charmeuse style fabric, brightened up with a red grosgrain ribbon tied at the waist to match my red shoes (of course!). It turned out to be a very heavy dress, with the two layers of fabric and a voluminous skirt, but it looked so different from all the other dresses worn that night so I was very happy with it.

And the fourth version of this dress was actually a UFO that I started in 2005, meaning to wear to a friend’s wedding which was held the week after mine. But with the chaos of finishing my own wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses, plus a severe change in weather from really hot at my wedding to rather cold a week later I didn’t finish it and wore something else. But when my brother in law married last December on the beach in lovely Noosa I thought this would be ideal so I had reason to finish it. It’s made from a pale pink cotton, with stripes and a cherry blossom print. I used thin black grosgrain ribbon as trim to highlight the waist and cross over back.

I even bought a funky pink and black hat to wear with it since it was going to be outside and I get sun burnt in a few milliseconds, but it turned out to be a rather windy day so I gave it a miss. When we were walking to the beach for the ceremony, we passed a fancy dress shop on the main street and one of the sales assistants gave me a smile and a nod, so I felt pretty special in it!

A note to brides who plan to have beach weddings, your guests (or maybe just me) will hate to wear heels on sand and have their hair ruined by the wind! And just for good measure, here's a picture of the husband and I, because he hates his photo on this blog....

Kristy Idle 2008


  1. What a great TNT dress! Each version looks fabulous on you! I absolutely love the back.

  2. I LOVE this dress!!!!!! It looks fantastic on you!!! I am going to see if I can hunt this pattern down! LOVE IT!

  3. What a great dress! I love patterns atht have so much versatility.
    Cute hubby, BTW!

  4. What a simple but perfect dress. It's SO flattering on you - the back is just beautiful. I'd put it on my wishlist if it wasn't OOP!

    And what holiday was it for you last weekend? Here in the UK we've got a bank holiday this weekend for May Day...

  5. Ooooh, guess what? Your brown w/polka dots verion? Several years ago I made one just like that but mine was navy w/white polka dots! Truly a great pattern.

  6. I love the back of this dress...maybe better than the front! And, c'mon, those strappy red shoes are to die for!

    And I agree with Adrienne that I may have to hunt this one down.

    The brown polka dot is my fav out of them all.

    Lovely job on the all! It's nice to see your TNT.

  7. great dresses! every time I come here I am inspired to make something.

    You are so right about beach weddings. They are fun for NO ONE! Unless the dress is shorts and no shoes.

    Cute husband!

    ps is the blogger word verification kidding? I CAN'T READ IT!

  8. Excellent interpretations, all of them! I can't believe how different each one looks! Bravo!

  9. That's a great TNT pattern! You look wonderful in each incarnation of it. I am really partial to the polka dot dress. There's just something about it.

  10. Now that's how you work a TNT pattern!!!! I love each version and how each one is sooooo different from the other...gosh they make me want a pattern like that!

  11. What a gorgeous dress pattern. The back is fabulous.

    How funny that most of us refer to the movie 'Pretty Woman' when we see a brown and white spot!!! And just today I ordered some wonderful spot cottons for next summer and when I ordered the brown/white version I called it that too.... it's still timeless after all these years!!

  12. What an effortlessly beautiful pattern. The dresses fit you so well. I have to commend you on your ability to match the right material with each pattern. You do it so well. All your finished outfits come out so well.

  13. I gotta tell you, the use of this TNT is inspiring! I'm jealous of your vision.

  14. WoW! Well, now I'm motivated! I need dresses! Guess I had better get busy hmmm? They all turned out wonderful! I think I have a pattern that was older than your's that was reversible, front to back... very similar. Though I would wear it with some sort of shirt cause I an not revealing type!
    I enjoy your blogg.
    Be creative! Jean C.

  15. This dress looks gorgeous!!! It really suits your body... I love it in the light coloured fabric but man it looks amazing in the polka dot fabric, a definite race day dress..

    Jodie :)

  16. I have that pattern and love the look of it but have never made it. Now - thanks to your 4 very lovely versions, I'll need to move it to the top of the stack. Thank you for sharing. g

  17. I LOVE this dress in the brown.

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