THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

June 14, 2006

Same Dress, Different Looks

Filed under: Fabric,Pattern Reviews — Gorgeous Things @ 11:44 am

by Diva Ann, GorgeousThings 

My friend Deepika gave me a pattern this past spring: New Look 6557. I decided recently to have a go at it after sewing for others for a while. The pattern is a very straightforward sun-dress, with a surplice bodice attached to a bias cut midriff band. I really like the cut, and I like to wear sun-dresses in the summer to parties and to sing in church. I hadn’t made myself a dress for summer for a couple of years, and I thought this would fit the bill nicely.

The First Version:
I went to Metro Textiles in NYC back in February, and my dear Kashi sold me some fabulous printed eyelet fabric, which I used to make the first version of the dress. Does the fabric ring a bell? Let me give you a small hint:
Check out the dress on the model on the left in the picture here. It’s my fabric! I’m going to assert bragging rights by saying that I got it before Simplicity did. They came in later the same day. Debra Kreiling at Simplicity – a lovely lady – says that Metro Textiles is their absolute favorite fabric vendor. Her words, not mine. So again I say, if you are in New York, definitely put Metro on your shopping stop list!

The Second Version:
The second version of this dress is a crisp cotton shirting stripe. I love the contrast between the two fabrics, and how they change the look of the dress completely. I also just love the clean look of the navy and white stripes. It speaks summer to me. I enjoy the technical challenges of working with stripes, and I like the design options that stripes present. In the case of this dress, I decided to cut the midriff band from two separate pieces of fabric so I could get a chevron effect. I also made sure that the stripes at the side seams on the skirt met in a chevron pattern. While this may sound like a lot of work, it really only took a few extra minutes. The results are worth it and take the resulting dress out of the “happy hands at home” realm. Actually, I have seen a lot of ready to wear that has mismatched stripes. So maybe it’s also the “not so happy hands on the shop-room floor”. Whatever, the extra time is well spent.

Fitting and Alterations:
From a fitting standpoint, this is looser than you would think. Normally I go up a size in the waist, tapering back at the hips. But because of the bias, this pattern has a lot of give at the waistline, and I didn’t need to do that. I also used a self fabric lining for the bodice, as opposed to “lining-lining”. I think it looks more professional that way, and I matched the stripes up perfectly sop there’s no show-through of the navy behind the white. Since this is a gathered bustline, adding for a larger size was a snap. I simply slashed the bodice piece from the bust point to the bottom and spread it the appropriate amount. That gave me the room I need.

This is a great dress that will stay wearable for summers to come. When I go on vacation to St. Croix, both of these will be in my suitcase.

Happy Sewing!



  1. Your dresses are so much more appealing than the pattern envelope pictures. I love the striped version. Great way of using the stripes midway section and side seams on a chevron.

    Comment by Els — June 14, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  2. I LOVE the striped version – so very cool.

    Comment by Kate in England — June 14, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

  3. The stripe version is faboolious.

    Comment by Georgene — June 14, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  4. I love both versions of your dress. I can’t believe that first one is eyelet! So cute!

    Comment by jemgirlca — June 14, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

  5. That floral has such a great vintage look! I too am really in the mood for dresses lately. Must be the heat. There is nothing quite as cool on a sweltering day.

    Comment by Gigi — June 14, 2006 @ 4:52 pm

  6. Both dresses are great looking but the striped one is a “gorgeous thing”.

    Comment by Linda — June 14, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

  7. The chevron effect at the waistband is so retro…I’ve seen that on more than a few 1940s dresses.

    Comment by the_sewist — June 14, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

  8. the dresses are awesome Ann!
    I guess I won’t show my creations anymore after seeing your great stuff here!

    Comment by Tini — June 15, 2006 @ 12:22 pm

  9. I love ths striped version too – with some bright red sandels! Phyllis

    Comment by Anonymous — June 15, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

  10. I love them both, but I LOVE the different angles of the stripes. That one could be a high fashion designer’s piece, complete with price. And I would wear it (if it weren’t outrageously pricetagged) in a minute!

    Comment by Designer Ella — June 15, 2006 @ 9:14 pm

  11. Oh! And the floral dress is so much nicer than those handmade bags indie designers make with those fabrics. 😉

    Comment by Designer Ella — June 15, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

  12. STRIPE!!!So much more… than flowers but for me flowers can be hard to take. Great work.

    Comment by lkl — June 30, 2006 @ 3:58 am

  13. Love those stripes. Very chic. What pattern is this? I really like it.

    Comment by Nancy — July 5, 2006 @ 10:26 am

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