that little red dress

07.19.11 | that little red dress

You may have seen me mentioning various spots ‘round the web that I was working on a red linen version of the 50s sundress I made last month. I finally finished it late last week and was able to get some pictures to share with you!

07.19.11 | that little red dress

I’m really pleased with how this turned out. Instead of the full, gathered skirt of the gingham version, I opted to use a straight pencil-style skirt I drafted last year. This was partly due to yardage limitations (the red linen was a piece I picked up on clearance last year, so I only had so much!), and also because I wanted something that had a slightly “50s bombshell” vibe to it. You may notice the length is a lot longer than I normally hem my dresses; I was envisioning the sort of piece that looks like I just grabbed it off a rack of genuine 50s dresses, so I wanted a length that read “vintage”. I also scooped the back neckline a bit (I think I’d lower it more next time—but I didn’t want to run into the problem of not being able to wear a strapless bra) and added a vent at the skirt hem to allow for easy walking. The entire dress is lined in a lightweight cotton so I don’t have to wear a slip (it’s too hot right now!), but it breathes and helps keep the linen from wrinkling too much.

The only criticism I have is that after looking at these photos, I think I’d taper the skirt a bit more towards the hem. Because I went with a longer length I think it could easily slip into “boxy” territory if I’m not careful. I might go back and rework those side seams eventually. But for now, I really love how it turned out—I’ve worn it several times already!

Is it possible to be too in love with a dress style?! I think this bodice has become a go-to for this summer!

07.19.11 | that little red dress

Pattern: self-drafted bodice and skirt (see the tutorial here on how to draft your own bodice).

Fabric/Notions: red linen, cotton lining, white bias binding, zipper (both the binding and zipper were thrifted—yay!).

Alterations: added a fitted skirt pattern. I also modified the issue I had with the first dress bodice around the armholes.

Techniques: lapped zipper insertion, adding a short length of chain to weight the back vent.

Make Again? Um… Do I really need to make another version of this dress?! lol. But if I could, I would… So yes!

07.19.11 | that little red dress

Outfit: shoes: Remix Vintage “Rita” heels | purse: vintage telephone cord handbag | earrings: Getty Museum | belt: thrifted

July 19, 2011 · 58 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: ,

Nancy July 19, 2011 at 11:29

Oh, my goodness, how much do I love this version?!?!? Beautiful, as always. I like the slimmer skirt, and I can see why you might consider tapering it towards the hem. I’m a sucker for red, a sucker for linen, and a sucker for that neckline! I like the deeper scoop in the back with the bateau front. And your Remix shoes are *perfect* with this! Bravo!

Reply

Ashe//Dramatis Personae July 19, 2011 at 11:36

You look spectacular in it! I think the scoop in the back is just enough– just a bit to show you there’s a little bit more flesh there than you’d expect. And ah! Red linen– that sounds so glorious right now, with all the heat and humidity…

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:41

I’m loving wearing linen lately!!! (I imagine weather in New Orleans is similar to the weather in the part of FL I’m in… ;) ) I seriously cannot imagine surviving a Southern summer without cotton or linen in my closet!

♥ Casey

Reply

Lauren July 19, 2011 at 11:38

Oh my gosh, Casey, this dress is PERFECT. It’s absolutely ideal, so cute, and so YOU! Bravo!

Reply

Cennetta July 19, 2011 at 11:39

Gorgeous dresses!

Reply

Janice July 19, 2011 at 11:44

I love the red and white color combination. I personally like the full-skirt version better. The skirt on this one seems more like a slim a-line skirt to me than a fitted pencil one? Will definitely try to draft a bodice based on your tutorials for this dress.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:43

It actually is a straight/pencil skirt (I used the same skirt draft when I made this dress last summer)–and is the same width all the way from the hips down. I think it’s the length that is affecting the drape a bit. Which is partly why I’m considering tapering it a bit at the side seams… ;) Always a work in progress and learning experience, this sewing thing! lol.

♥ Casey

Reply

Laurie July 19, 2011 at 11:57

The dress is lovely. I would very much like to attempt to taper the legs on one of my capri pants patterns. I have a store bought pair that I adore, with tapered legs. I’m not great at altering patterns, so I’m trying to learn from you!
Laurie

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:45

Aw, thank you so much Laurie! :) Tapering skirts (or pants) isn’t that tough; but I do recommend at least tissue fitting (or making a muslin) with pants. As well as taking vital measurements like thigh, knee and ankle as well (a lot of the big sewing manuals go over the exact measurements for pants), so they fit well. :)

♥ Casey

Reply

Portia July 19, 2011 at 11:58

Yay! Gorgeous. Total triumph!
Px

Reply

the fabled needle (jen) July 19, 2011 at 11:58

squee! i love it! the white is a nice contrast. and such a great fit! i bet the linen is perfect for florida weather too.

Reply

Staci July 19, 2011 at 12:00

Absolutely Gorgeous! Looks like you just walked off the set of a 1950s Bombshell Calendar pictorial. The detail and darts are fabulous and the lapped zip looks perfect. Congratulations!!

Reply

Tracy July 19, 2011 at 12:06

This dress is gorgeous! You are so talented and inspiring. You make it look so easy to draft your own pattern when I know from experience it is not. :) Maybe it’s time for me to give it another go.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:46

Believe me, it’s taken me lots of time and trial and error to figure out pattern drafting over the years! :) That and lots of muslin… lol.

♥ Casey

Reply

Quincy July 19, 2011 at 12:14

Gorgeous! The last picture is my favorite :D

Reply

Sarah July 19, 2011 at 12:21

Oh, it’s lovely! You did such a fabulous job, and that red linen is such a beautiful color. The dress is so glamorous, and looks like a perfect summertime date dress!

Reply

Sheri July 19, 2011 at 12:22

Great dress, Casey, and it looks lovely on you!

Reply

MB@YarnUiPhoneApp July 19, 2011 at 12:24

Casey – beautiful. You mastered the use of bias tape for sure! It’s so versatile, so easy to use that even a beginner could master it. I love all the wild colors of bias tape out there now. Neon purple, orange, yellows and greens, all great contrast for the garment of choice now. Neon contrast is so RTW.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:47

I am absolutely in love with bias tape at the moment! hehe. I never really used it a lot prior to this, and am now having way too much fun! ;)

♥ Casey

Reply

Abby July 19, 2011 at 13:03

You are so talented! This dress is beautiful, and you look lovely in it. I’m inspired to try drafting a similar pattern, once I’ve sewn a few dresses for myself. Thank you for sharing it!

Reply

Debi July 19, 2011 at 13:06

Oh Casey! This is so lovely! I’m already planning to make up the full skirt version with some yummy fabric I have! I just need some space in my sewing line-up…giggle! Red looks absolutely stunning on you!

Reply

Lainie July 19, 2011 at 13:13

Gorgeous dress! It is perfect, a little cute and a little sexy-not too much of either. It looks great on you!

Reply

Amy July 19, 2011 at 13:20

The red linen is fabulous. I think it’s very fitting for the 50s bombshell look you were going for. Once I get a little breather from all of the projects I have lined up, I hope to take advantage of this tutorial of yours. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put it out there for your readers.

Reply

The Zany Housewife July 19, 2011 at 13:21

Adorable! And I just love that little slit in the back.

Reply

Trudy Callan July 19, 2011 at 13:23

Love your dress. It looks fabulous on you.

Reply

Nina July 19, 2011 at 13:29

What a coincidence, I just finished sewing and posting about a red dress I made (with a similar style to yours, except I shortened the skirt), and then this popped up on my twitter stream! Makes me want to make another red dress :)
Very beautiful, love the little bows!

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:50

Must be something about this time of year that just begs to make a red dress! hehe. I love yours; the matching belt is such a sweet detail! :)

♥ Casey

Reply

Ginnie July 19, 2011 at 13:48

LOVE LOVE LOVE!! This turned out so gorgeous, and it’s the PERFECT colors, too. I’m so going to try and do something like this. Frankenpattern, here I come! :)

Reply

Rachel W. July 19, 2011 at 13:52

Gorgeous, Casey! I’ve been waiting eagerly to see the whole dress, and this didn’t disappoint. It’s classic. The dramatic bombshell touch is definitely there.

Man, I need to make myself a red dress. Every lady needs a red dress.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:51

Aw, thank you so much, Rachel–I’m tickled you were looking forward to seeing it! :) Yes, I agree every gal needs a red dress–to me it’s just as essential as the classic “little black dress”. ;)

♥ Casey

Reply

mala_14 July 19, 2011 at 14:11

Absolutely gorgeous! It’s so sophisticated, and the materials make it great for summer. I also think that this pattern would make the perfect little black dress.

Reply

bunny July 19, 2011 at 14:12

The dress is lovely, and the last picture with you smiling is beautiful!

B.

Reply

Sunni July 19, 2011 at 14:58

Oh its so fabulous! I love the white piping – what a red hot summer dress! Totally darling and fits you like a glove. I do love the length of the skirt too – a little longer than I’m used to seeing and really it works so well! Lovely and brilliantly executed!

Reply

Isis July 19, 2011 at 15:20

You look absolutely stunning!

Reply

Marmielu July 19, 2011 at 15:36

Wow! This turned out really well! I love the fitting and the detailing. Good work, lady!
Mom

Reply

Mrs Amber Apple July 19, 2011 at 15:39

Your new dress is so cute!

Reply

Ulrika / The Freelancer's Fashion Blog July 19, 2011 at 15:43

Ooooh, love it! Works so well with a slimmer skirt but I guess it looks as awesome with a full skirt. The top is just so great!

Reply

Olivia July 19, 2011 at 16:18

Beautiful as always! I love those shoes you are wearing, they go perfectly with this dress and the pink gingham. I just finnished my version of that dress, and I also had to do a pencil skirt becuase of fabric shortage.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:52

Oooh! I can’t wait to see your dress!!! :)

♥ Casey

Reply

LBC July 19, 2011 at 16:49

What an awesome dress!

Personally, I love that length of dress, but I’m 5’7″ so I can get away with it. It’s definitely a more vintage look, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Reply

Casey July 19, 2011 at 16:52

Aw, thank you! :) I tend to shy away from this length dress because I have proportionately short legs, but I’m glad I went with it anyway! :) Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

♥ Casey

Reply

Hannah July 19, 2011 at 17:22

This is so gorgeous, love the length, I think this is such a great length to wear really elegant x

Reply

Johanna July 19, 2011 at 17:43

That looks amazing on you! Probably my favourite of your outfits I’ve seen so far! And I’m starting to really want those shoes.

Reply

Claire (aka Seemane) July 19, 2011 at 17:51

Fab colour! I think I love this one even more than the pale pink version – the contrasting white ties really show of the simple lines beautifully :)

Reply

Esz July 19, 2011 at 18:47

So much awesome! I love the longer length too. And I’ve been eyeing off those shoes on Remix for ages (as well as the Babydoll Pumps). Your photos make me wish it was summer here already – and I’m not even a summer person.
I’ve noticed that a lot of vintage patterns have a fairly straight skirt – I guess that is a true pencil, but I like mine a bit more “bombshell” than that.

Reply

Caitlin Rose July 19, 2011 at 21:51

wow! you definitely look like a bombshell. Mission Accomplished ; )

Reply

Paige July 19, 2011 at 22:16

Gorgeous! It’s like you stepped out of a time machine–in a good way!

Reply

Lauren July 19, 2011 at 22:27

wow Casey, this turned out amazingly. So gorgeous! you are my sewing inspiration!

Reply

Cory July 19, 2011 at 23:37

Oh Casey! This is absolutely adorable! I hope I will be pardoned if the exact same sentiment was already expressed!

Reply

Wendy July 20, 2011 at 02:32

Beautiful as always xx

Reply

Rakel July 20, 2011 at 02:54

The dress and the shoes were just adorable! :)

Reply

Popbabe7 July 20, 2011 at 05:06

This dress is gorgeous! I really like the red colour and the shape.

I’m intrigued by your bag… “vintage telephone cord handbag”?? That sounds interesting!

Reply

Victoria / Justice Pirate July 20, 2011 at 14:55

I love that face you’re making in the last photo!! really adorable. I like this version of the dress but I believe I like the other one more. I think it’s my gingham love though.

Reply

Tids July 21, 2011 at 18:16

If you like it and it looks good (which it does) then I think you should make one in every colour :)

Reply

Justine July 22, 2011 at 15:30

Well done and red suits you! I have a tendency to want to shorten vintage styles but this makes me think twice about it.

Reply

miss Lindy Lee July 23, 2011 at 07:59

absolutely gorgeous!

Reply

caroline July 26, 2011 at 21:57

Oh, I like both versions of this dress – and I’m imagining doing a version with a circle or half-circle skirt … A question for you – how much ease do you have in your bodice pattern? Thanks.

Reply

caroline July 26, 2011 at 22:11

and how much ease at the waist? It gives me a ballpark figure to start with.

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: