THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

July 4, 2006

Knock off dress

The moment I saw this photo

in the book “Modern Fashion in Detail” which I ordered from the Victoria and Albert museum shop in London.

I knew I wanted to try to make such a fabulous dress.
And so I tried, back in the summer of 2002 I made my version inspired by The Bird’s Wing dress by Anthony Price.
The tiny technical drawing in the book showed the full dress
I drafted the pattern from scratch using the measurements from Irene a friend who was the model for this evening gown.

This picture

shows the pleats folded down after the pattern is spread and slashed.
The brown paper shows the drafted design of the pleated part , the white paper is glued between the brown paper to form the pleats for the upper layer front dress.


shows the pleated pattern how it is cut from fabric (white paper insets for te pleats)

Evening gown in two tone red doupion silk, lined with bemberg.
The gown pattern exists of 5 pattern parts. gown back part is sewed without a waist seam but the front gown part exists on 2 parts , the bodice and skirt part , the upper pleating part has also a waist seam and is sewed ( sandwiched ) at the right side seam of the dress
The pleats are not sewn but pressed and fabric covered buttons are sewed thru the under layer dress. The bodice part front and back of the gown is underlined with silk organza, and one piece of rigilene boning is attached at the left side seam allowance of the inner dress .

The pleating part is made of a double layer ( stitch, clip and turn) the facing layer is interfaced with a knit fusible interfacing to add some “body” to the pleats.
The gown has a long 22 inch invisible zipper at center back and a long 26 inch slit to give the necessary walking ease.

Side view

Detail view



  1. Els, that dress is so stunning! Thank you for sharing the pattern making process with us – it’s fascinating.

    Comment by Gigi — July 4, 2006 @ 3:03 pm

  2. Striking!

    Comment by savvy saver — July 4, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  3. That is amazing… to put something down on paper and watch it spring to life. What an unbelievable job!

    Comment by Erica B. — July 4, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  4. Wow Els – that’s a really tour de force! I really enjoyed reading about how you parsed out the whole thing from that tiny schematic drawing.

    Comment by Phyllis — July 4, 2006 @ 5:34 pm

  5. What a stunning gown and I am just amazed when talented sewists can work this out from a drawing! Thanks for taking us with you as you developed it.

    Comment by Pbrommel — July 5, 2006 @ 6:33 am

  6. Els, your ability to reproduce a garment from a photo and line drawing is inspiring! It’s beautiful.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 5, 2006 @ 11:37 am

  7. Wonderful, Els! Thanks for sharing your pattern and the beautiful outcome.

    Comment by Mary Beth — July 5, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

  8. Els I knew that was your dress the second I saw it! You are incredibly talented.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 6, 2006 @ 8:07 am

  9. Els, I keep coming back again and again to look at this dress. Well, drool over would be a better term. Wow! It is fabulous beyond words. I’m almost tempted to try it myself. Thanks so much for sharing the photos and the details of how you went from line drawing to completed garment. What an inspiration.

    (PamelaW on Sewing World)

    Comment by Anonymous — July 7, 2006 @ 6:12 am

  10. Wow! I’ve been staring at this dress for the last 5 minutes. It’s so glamorous!

    Comment by Tuffy — July 8, 2006 @ 8:13 pm

  11. Thanks for the flattering comments.

    Comment by Els — July 9, 2006 @ 11:13 am

  12. Els, I am finally home and able to comment. This dress is inspirational. I want one! I am definitely ordering this book.

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — July 9, 2006 @ 11:38 am

  13. Wow, fantastic! Really looks gorgeous.

    Comment by Linda — July 10, 2006 @ 4:35 am

  14. Absolutely stunning, Els.

    Comment by Leslie — July 10, 2006 @ 5:37 am

  15. My goodness! Quite an accomplishment. It’s ravishing.

    Comment by Katharine from PR — July 14, 2006 @ 8:08 am

  16. Jeetje Els, wat een prachtige jurk! Fantastisch dat je dit zo kunt maken. Ik zat vlakbij mijn examen coupeuse toen we naar Japan verhuisden, nu 2,5 jaar geleden…. zoo jammer. Ik geniet bijzonder van jullie websites en blogs!
    Groetjes, Ella uit Japan

    Comment by Ella — November 26, 2007 @ 7:31 pm

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