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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The 'Seeing Red' Dress

The Facts
Fabric: 3 yards red polyester suiting ~$15
Pattern: Sense and Sensibility 1940’s Swing Dress Pattern ~$16
Year: 2007?
Notions: Red invisible zipper $2
Time to Complete: 5 painful hours
First worn: For photos
Wear again: Yes
Total Price: $33
The Swing dress. Why did I put this off for so long? I had signed up to do the sew-along for this dress last year, but never seemed to get around to it.  Let’s dust off the pattern and fabric and check it out.  

From the first 3 bullets on the instructions, I was stumped.  Oh yeah. That’s why I’ve never completed this dress.  I sat and stared at those instructions for about half an hour.  I appreciate the patterns from Sense and Sensibility, and their unique design aesthetic, but those hand drawings are impossible to figure out!  I finally resorted to searching the internet, starting with Casey’s blog.  Thankfully she had a step-by-step tutorial for the shoulders of the dress - the very section I was stumped with.  Apparently this is a common hangup point.  
Seriously, this dress made me feel like a beginning seamstress all over again.  I made silly mistakes, like attaching the right side of my shoulder to the wrong side of the blouse... twice.  And then attaching the right side of the skirt to the wrong side.  Argh!!!  I probably could have shaved off an hour or two if I could just get past these lame issues.  The hubby heard a lot of shouts and yelling coming out of the sewing room while this dress was made.  But I will triumph!
Really, once you get past the first hurdle of the shoulder assembly, the dress is easy to put together.  I like the placement of the ties - the side with the zipper is hidden by the way their attached.  The front of the dress has a deep v, but it’s not too scandalous.  If you’re uncomfortable it, they do recommend a button or brooch as a closure option.  I chopped a considerable amount from the hem... about 3 inches.  I prefer that it fall at about my knees.  

When I cut the pattern, I went with one size larger than normal, just because I wasn’t used to the pattern and I don’t like work with 1/2” seam allowances.  That gave me the comfort of my typical 5/8” without stressing about fit. It turned out to be for the best as I was worried that the dress was going to be on the snug side.  I was able to forsee some problem spots and adjust the seam allowance as needed, so I ended up with a comfortable fit.
If I still did swing dancing, I would totally take this dress out for a spin.  It’s so gorgeous and girly, and the skirt has the perfect amount of twirl to it.  I’ll just save it for those extra girly days, when I want to get dolled up.
What I Watched:
Talladega Nights (2006)
Secretary (2000)


  1. looking stunning, why don't you enter in the pattern review RED dress context, I'm sure you could win ! xx

    1. Thanks Rachel! I had no idea about the contest so I'm checking it out now. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Very nice and very flattering on you!

    1. Thank you! It was worth the torture ;)

  3. This turned out great. You look wonderful in it.

  4. I think this is my favorite make of yours. The dress fits you so so well. It's sexy without being over the top. A great Valentine's Day date dress! I was so close to buying this pattern PDF version) but I didn't at the last moment because I didn't want to put the pattern pieces together. I might have to reconsider.

  5. very worthwhil coming back to - glad you prevailed in the end.

  6. This is so frisky and fetching, love it!

  7. this is uber lovely!! You look smashing :)


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