she’s a doll! sundress

06.29.11 | she's a doll! dress

I’m so excited this dress is finished–even though the sunshine never did show up yesterday (thank you, Photoshop, for at least making it look a little bit less gloomy!). I had been thinking about writing a tutorial for how to easily alter a fitted bodice pattern and make it into a late 50s inspired sundress, and finally got around to make it. But as I was sewing my version up–in pink gingham–I realized it had a bit of an early Barbie flair to it! Way back when I was obsessed with vintage Barbies, although the closest I ever came to owning a genuine vintage doll (I was just a young teen, and my Barbie-buying money was my weekly allowance) was a $3 vintage Francie I found in the thrift store that was missing a hand. (She just wore gloves when I displayed her.) But because of the cheery pink gingham and late 50s silhouette, I’ve dubbed this my “Barbie dress”.

06.29.11 | she's a doll! dress

But that aside, I couldn’t resist playing up the doll-influence with this dress, and SH was kind enough to oblige me in doing a little photoshoot. The sundress is one of my favorite sort of designs: a fitted and flattering bodice, full skirt and pockets. The bound neckline and armholes (that tie at the shoulders) adds a bit of flair to the otherwise simple design. It echoes the sort of easy-going summer looks that were popular right at the end of the 50s and into the early 60s. I kind of want to live in this dress right now!

06.29.11 | she's a doll! dress

I’ll be publishing a two-part how to next week (I was going to post it this week, but the week has gotten away from me!), so stay tuned! Yes; I’m going to show you how to create a similar sundress using just a basic dress pattern with a fitted bodice. So gather up your pattern drafting tools and some summery fabric! I’m really, really excited about sharing this with you!

06.29.11 | she's a doll! dress

more photos here if you care to take a peek!

Pattern: 1950s dress with fitted bodice in my stash.

Fabric: cotton blend pink gingham; the bodice is underlined in cotton broadcloth.

Pattern Adjustments: I chose a very simple fitted bodice for the purpose of altering it to fit my design vision. The skirt was completely discarded. I’ll go more into this in my tutorial posts.

Techniques: Underlining the bodice, handpicked zipper, pattern drafting/alteration.

June 30, 2011 · 120 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

Blanka June 30, 2011 at 06:43

This “barbie look” is really adorable:) You look gorgeous… and it doesn’t matter that the weather wasn’t sunny;)
The dress is wonderful. Good job!

Reply

Molly June 30, 2011 at 06:48

And what a doll indeed! you look absolutely stunning in that dress! great job casey, it fits you like a glove, and the little ties on the shoulder is the perfect touch. I certainly look forward to the how-to :)

Reply

Roses R Red June 30, 2011 at 07:05

I would lve to make a dress like this!

Rose

Reply

karen June 30, 2011 at 07:11

Absolutely and utterly beautiful. Can’t wait for the tutorials.

Reply

sajuki June 30, 2011 at 07:19

lovely dress :)

Reply

Esz June 30, 2011 at 07:26

Such a cute dress! Just love it!! I shy away from high necks these days but this is so pretty. I love that extra bust dart you’ve got there too :-D
Gosh I almost wish it was summer here so I could get stuck into making some more dresses for the season.
My next project will be a grey sheath dress which I think I will start tomorrow.

Actually, I have a quick question…with lining a sleeveless dress that has a center back zipper, how would I go about attaching the lining? Do you have any tutes you could point me to?
My pattern calls for facings so the instructions there aren’t handy at all.
Thanks so much! :-D

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:08

Funny you should ask, because the newest issue of Threads Magazine has an article on zipper insertion, and deals with creating a smooth finish with lining! I would highly recommend checking that out (the Aug/Sept issue; I just got mine in the mail so it might not be on the newsstands just yet). This tutorial shows a similar technique, though the Threads article is a little more comprehensive–but it’s got the gist of the technique! :)

♥ Casey

Reply

Peter June 30, 2011 at 07:26

What a beautiful dress, Casey! As usual, your photos are superb (sun or no sun). Great job!

Reply

Stephanie June 30, 2011 at 07:30

I just love it! The neckline is so great! :)

Reply

Marianne June 30, 2011 at 07:46

Beautiful! I am going to read over these posts again when it is summer here, because they are so inspiring :)

Reply

Sheri June 30, 2011 at 07:48

Lovely dress, Casey. It is a refreshing look, I think, and I like the high neckline and the little bows. My youngest daughter (age 6) walked into the room, saw your picture on the screen and said, “Casey!” then hurried over to see your post. I asked her how she liked your dress. Her response, “Gorgeous!” ………….Hmmmmmm, maybe a future seamstress? :)

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:09

Aw… that is too cute! :D Who knows–you might have a budding sewist on your hands! :D (Six was about the age I really started getting interested in sewing… so watch out! lol.)

♥ Casey

Reply

Roxie Roulette June 30, 2011 at 07:49

Simply adore this dress! I wish I could sew so I could create something as beautiful as this!

Reply

Gina June 30, 2011 at 07:50

Casey just beautiful! What are the ties made from? Just wondering, it’s not seam binding is it? I like the zipper too.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:10

Thanks, Gina! The ties are just plain ol’ bias binding (yes, the pre-made, packaged sort). ;) I thought about making my own, but ended up being lazy (actually, just wanted this dress finished–I’d been working on it for a couple weeks!) and grabbed a package of 1/4″ double fold bias. Easy peasy!

♥ Casey

Reply

Isis June 30, 2011 at 07:52

That dress is simply adorable and fits you beautifully!

Reply

Johanna June 30, 2011 at 07:56

Really pretty dress! And it looks wonderful with those shoes.

Reply

Alli June 30, 2011 at 07:57

SO gorgeous Casey! You look adorable, and I love the dress. Beautiful :)

Reply

Katie June 30, 2011 at 07:58

The dress is lovely! I, too, used to be obsessed with vintage Barbies, and even went about “restoring” all my mom’s old Barbies. She had a pretty cool Skipper, but nothing close to those old #1′s.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:11

How neat! :D One of the things I used to do (as a teenager) was buy older (70s/80s) Barbie and “redo” their makeup and sometimes re-root their hair. Was pretty neat, actually–though time intensive!

♥ Casey

Reply

Andrea June 30, 2011 at 08:05

Oh dear, I want one! This dress is absolutely adorable and the full skirt (and pockets!) make it look like it would be the most comfy thing to wear on earth. It is also super flattering on you.

Reply

Aislinn June 30, 2011 at 08:31

I love it! i am looking to make something similar, after seeing a dress with straps like this on Mad Men (no matter how many times i watch it, it is an endless source of inspiratiion!)

Reply

Corinne June 30, 2011 at 08:34

What a nice little dress. Easy to dress up or wear as casual for summer. I particularly like the high neckline, the bodice dart placement and the bows. Can’t wait to see your tutorial.

Reply

Jenny June 30, 2011 at 08:44

How you’re not a professional model, I’ll never know. I so love this dress, and it suits you so well! : )

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:12

Aw, thank you–you made me blush! ;)

♥ Casey

Reply

Tasha June 30, 2011 at 08:45

Oh Casey, that is adorable! It looks so fun and easy to wear. I love the little detail of the shoulder ties, they add just the right little amount of feminine detail without being too cutesy (that I am adverse to cutesy!). I’m looking forward to the tutorial!

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:13

That was just the sort of balance I was going for! :D I’ve been noticing lately that the majority of dresses I reach for time and time again are the ones that are girly without being fussy. I have my days where I like fussy, but sometimes tailored femininity in dress is far more practical (and allows me to indulge in my love of fancy shoes and handbags! lol.).

♥ Casey

Reply

Aleksandra June 30, 2011 at 08:46

Very pretty

Reply

YarnUiPhoneAppv1.5 June 30, 2011 at 08:47

I love the gingham…although I think this would be stunning in a linen burn-out fabric underlined with a contrast batiste. Very cute. You can easily dress this up for evening. Throw on a cardigan or bolero jacket to head off any chills.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:14

Ooooh! I’m loving that idea! I actually have a length of a tropical print linen I’m thinking of using for another version of this dress… ;)

♥ Casey

Reply

Melissa June 30, 2011 at 09:04

The dress is beautiful and looks lovely on you, Casey! The neckline with the little shoulder bows is adorable and very Audrey Hepburn-ish. :)

Reply

Caitlin Rose June 30, 2011 at 09:05

It fits you like a glove! Gorgeous!

Reply

Marmielu June 30, 2011 at 09:08

Oooohhhhh!!! That is just wonderful! I am so seeing the Barbie – just the ponytail is missing. You have done a great job on this. I even called your father in to show him. His response – “That’s quite a dress!” I’m pretty sure that’s a big compliment. :-)
Mom

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:15

Have to tell you: I almost did my hair in the classic Barbie ‘do! Except mine was being particularly poufy and unruly that day. haha! I did wear a ponytail with the dress yesterday and got lots of “you look like Barbie” comments. ;) lol.

♥ Casey

Reply

liza jane June 30, 2011 at 09:10

You look gorgeous! I love the wide neck. Are there three darts on the bodice? I don’t think I’ve seen a bodice like that before. Love the silhouette.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:17

Sharp eyes! ;) The dart situation is for two reasons: 1. I had been toying with the idea of using more than the usual 2 or 4 darted bodice since I had seen similar in a couple of older (late 50s/early 60s) pictures. 2. I made a rather dumb mistake in the initial stages of construction (or a mishap was had to be precise!) and didn’t have enough fabric to cut a new front. So… improvisation was called for! Have to admit, I like how super-fitted it is through the bust though… ;)

♥ Casey

Reply

Victoria/Justice Pirate June 30, 2011 at 09:30

It does have a bit of a Barbie flair to it with how your hair is styled and all too!!! gorgeous dress!!! Wonderful job. Thankfully you don’t have a disproportionate unrealistic body like Barbie does. haha. Gingham <3

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:18

Oh I know! lol. I think I read an article somewhere about what Barbie’s proportions would be if she were life sized and it was kind of scary. :p

♥ Casey

Reply

Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk June 30, 2011 at 09:31

Oh my goodness, Casey, this dress is adorable! It’s by far my favorite so far. I can’t wait to read more about how it came together!

Reply

Vanessa June 30, 2011 at 09:33

You look lovely! Barbie is always a good inspiration ;)

Reply

Annabelle June 30, 2011 at 09:44

I cannot even tell you how excited I am about this! Such a gorgeous dress, and you will have a tutorial on how to make it. I feel the need to go fabric shopping right now :)

Reply

Lauren June 30, 2011 at 09:46

so pretty! i can see why you’d want to live in it! can’t wait to check out your tutorial; dresses like these are such a godsend in this awful southern heat :)

Reply

a two-bit Jeremiah June 30, 2011 at 09:47

The Barbie pose, oh my goodness. I am freaking out WITH JOY. I remember being a tiny creature poring over Barbie collector books, staring at all the perfect, perfect ensembles. You have brought much happiness to my day.

Also, that dress is super lovely.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:19

Thank you, sis!!! :D This comment totally my my day, if I might be so selfish as to say so. ;) I just wish I hadn’t gotten rid of those collector books! :p Augh! So much for pre-wedding/pre-move purging.

♥ Casey

Reply

Cherise June 30, 2011 at 09:53

What a lovely dress! And I absolutely adore those shoes! Where did you get them?

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:20

Thank you, Cherise! :) They’re the Remix Rita heels. I got them for Christmas last year and adore them–super comfy!

♥ Casey

Reply

Elizabeth Rotering June 30, 2011 at 09:59

I absolutely love it.
What shoes are those??!!! So cute, too!
e.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:21

Thanks you so much, Elizabeth! The shoes are the Remix Rita heels; I got them for Christmas last year and love wearing them!

♥ Casey

Reply

Quincy June 30, 2011 at 10:03

Casey it’s gorgeous and you ARE a doll! I wish you could come live with me for a few days and help me sew up pretty dress hehe ;o)

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:21

I so wish we lived closer–we’d totally have sewing dates! :D

♥ Casey

Reply

Lizz June 30, 2011 at 10:05

I have some vintage 1950′s gingham fabric with little butterflies that would be perfect for this dress! I really love the neckline. The dress looks wonderful on you, Casey.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:22

Oh my goodness: gingham with butterflies?! So, so cute! Do promise me that if you make this (or any dress ;) ) with that fabric you’ll let me know–I’d love to see it! :D

♥ Casey

Reply

Justine/sew country chick June 30, 2011 at 10:09

You remind me of the Francie doll! Gosh I love the neckline. My eight year old collects vintage barbies from flea markets and thrift shops. She has a pink Barbie 60′ Corvette you would look great in. Now you just need to steal Ken from Barbie!

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:23

How fun!!! :D I’m envious that she’s had luck like that finding older Barbies. I haven’t been specifically looking the past few years, but I know it’s gotten hard to unearth some of the older ones. Maybe I should start digging through the bins at thrift stores more often… hehe!

♥ Casey

Reply

The Little Wife June 30, 2011 at 10:25

I am so excited to see part two. I would love to fill my closets with dresses just like this one!

Reply

zilredloh June 30, 2011 at 10:32

It’s adorable. You really do look like a pretty, vintage barbie in this dress. You may have pushed me over the edge to try and use some gingham myself.

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:24

I think this is the first gingham garment I’ve ever made! I have a couple tops in gingham, but never really fell head over heels for the weave until now. Which of course means that I’m going on a mini binge and have schemes to make a little 50s top with a small length of blue gingham I have… *ahem*

♥ Casey

Reply

Molly June 30, 2011 at 10:38

LOVE this style of dress!

Reply

Abby June 30, 2011 at 10:42

This dress is so cute on you! I’m looking forward to reading your tutorial.

Reply

Sally June 30, 2011 at 10:43

Those little bows are killing me. Adorable!

Reply

Rebekah June 30, 2011 at 10:58

Absolutely darling! I just stumbled upon your blog this week and I’ve had SO much fun scrolling through your archives. Love it!

Reply

Casey July 2, 2011 at 06:25

Thank you ever so much, Rebekah, for your sweet words!!! :D So glad you’ve been enjoying the blog…

♥ Casey

Reply

Lesley June 30, 2011 at 11:17

this is just gorgeous! And I love your hairstyle so much! You always looks so polished and classy, I’m so jealous!

Reply

Kathy Vaughn June 30, 2011 at 11:25

A classy and elegant look. Looking forward to the tutorials.

Reply

Rebecca R June 30, 2011 at 11:30

That dress is super cute! You are so fantasically talented!

Reply

Lauren June 30, 2011 at 11:45

I love this! You are too, too cute!

Reply

Rene June 30, 2011 at 11:46

Casey, I love this dress so much! The binding does add such a nice touch, and I especially love the little tie bows. So lovely!

Reply

amy June 30, 2011 at 11:47

I love this dress!!!I want to make a red one!

Reply

Care to comment? Thank you ever so much for taking time to share your comment! Although I try to answer questions, I am not always able to respond to each comment individually. But please know that I appreciate from the bottom of my heart every comment I receive!

Previous post:

Next post: