THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

August 31, 2007

The Hostess Cupcake Dress

Some of you may recognize this dress, published in Threads as an illustration for my article on snoop shopping. What you probably don’t know is that this dress was a joint Sewing Divas effort. I made the pattern, Diva Emeritus Ann sewed it, and Phyllis did the embellishing. All of this was done by phone and e-mail, a great collaborative dress!


I started with a sketch based on a top purchased at retail. There was to be no embellishing around the neck, just some lace trim and an organza rosette at the center front waist. organza-roses.jpg

However, in the way that sketches have of changing as they begin to take shape in RL (Real Life), the original concept had to shift with the requirements of the situation. What happened? First of all, I had to get the sample made FAST – I could not send off to China to get the sample made. Second, BB (Big Boss) wanted the sample to be in chocolate brown silk chiffon. No chance of dyed to match trim….so I went to the trim stash to see what I could come up with, and purchased a couple of other things to toss in there. I sent all of the disparate elements to Phyllis and she made it into a lyrical cohesive embellishment that added enormously to the final allure of the dress. proposed-embellishment-mockup.jpg Here’s what I sent her, and just see how she put it together in the final dress above! The tea-dying of all the elements took away some of the white icing on the cupcake look that we struggled with (hence the dress’ nickname).

Phyllis’ hand made silk rose at the waistband was the real icing though, with her strands of beads cascading down, far better than the tacky ivory flower pin I sent her, or the organza roses with the trailing ends seen in the photo from the shop in Hong Kong. Phyllis’ embellishment is what made this cupcake dress so yummy!


  1. ooo, I liked it in the magazine, but, knowing its history…wow, what a dress!

    So…who gets to keep it?

    Comment by Lisa Laree — August 31, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  2. How lovely!

    Comment by Mary Beth — August 31, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  3. great collaboration!!!!

    Comment by tini — August 31, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

  4. Great post Georgene – I have fond memories of that project!

    Comment by phyllisc — August 31, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  5. Now I really can’t wait for my Threads to arrive … What a sweet dress this is! So, did the BB like it in the end?

    Comment by lorna — August 31, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

  6. Your article was by far the best in this issue of Threads. I am still drooling over this dress and the inspiration top – as well as the faboo tuxedo tank! What a great collaborative effort, fellow Divas!

    Comment by Gigi — August 31, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

  7. Fabulous work! What a great dress! I congratulate the three Divas whose efforts contributed to this outstanding outcome!

    Comment by Tany — August 31, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

  8. I just got my Threads yesterday and saw you name as the author of the article. Thanks for the story behind the dress. What a great collaborative effort!

    Comment by Summerset — August 31, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

  9. That was such a fun dress to work on. I think it looked even better than the NL original. And it was a blast to collaborate with Phyllis and Georgene!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — August 31, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  10. That’s really pretty! I’d buy that!

    Comment by nikki — August 31, 2007 @ 8:45 pm

  11. In answer to Lisa’s question (well partial answer – I don’t know who got to keep it, but I assume Georgene). I really wanted to steal it, but it was something like a size Double-0, so even at my skinniest, no way!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — August 31, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

  12. It’s in the archives at the studio, and it is *really* tiny, so we will just keep it for reference. Everyone loved this dress, and it looked like we would get a nice sized order….and then, in the way things happen, it was the fish that got away.

    Comment by georgene — August 31, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

  13. My favorite part of the article was the photos with their short captions of how you applied your snooping! Thanks for the longer story on this dress. It’s inspiring.

    Comment by Robyn — September 1, 2007 @ 8:07 am

  14. PS I still love the organza rosettes from Hong Kong. The contrast scarf rolled edge stitching gives such wonderful definition to the bias strips of organza, and I love the trailing ends. I have to use that idea somewhere!

    Comment by georgene — September 1, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  15. Loved the article, too! I’d read the blog first so when the article showed up—I felt in-the-know.

    I enjoy the trip reports and the insider’s view of the garment industry.


    Comment by Jeannie Crockett — September 2, 2007 @ 7:45 am

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