Created by: Cara A
Project

Retro Polka Dot Dress - B5603

What are you most proud of? It's my first balanced dart! Instead of spiral steel boning or rigeline, horsehair was used since it was the right stiffness for the drape of the fabric. It adds lovely structure without being too rigid; experimenting with non traditional materials is an interesting learning experience; this idea is from Linda Maynard's Vogue's peplum class. This dress originally had spiral steel boning, but I'm a partial planner and partially a fluid organic dress producer, coming up with different ideas and changing them as the dress is being built. What advice would you give someone starting this project? The process of dressmaking becomes easier and quicker as you gain more experience and have collected projects under your belt. Also, the best needles really do make a difference. I used "Japanese needles" for all my previous projects, but after listening to a Savile Row tailor and purchasing his recommended English needles, my hand sewing sped up exponentially - English needles have become my go-to needle now.

You Can Make This

Cara A made Retro Polka Dot Dress - B5603 with:

Couture Dressmaking Techniques

Online Class

Couture Dressmaking Techniques

with Alison Smith

  • Butterick Pattern B5603 - This was made using a red and white polka dot charmeuse from Joann's
  • underlined with silk organza
  • with horsehair boning. The side zip was replaced with a back zipper to keep the integrity and the balance of the cut. Rayon Challis is the lining to keep the drape of the charmeuse flowy and drapy.

Project Description

What are you most proud of? It's my first balanced dart! Instead of spiral steel boning or rigeline, horsehair was used since it was the right stiffness for the drape of the fabric. It adds lovely structure without being too rigid; experimenting with non traditional materials is an interesting learning experience; this idea is from Linda Maynard's Vogue's peplum class. This dress originally had spiral steel boning, but I'm a partial planner and partially a fluid organic dress producer, coming up with different ideas and changing them as the dress is being built. What advice would you give someone starting this project? The process of dressmaking becomes easier and quicker as you gain more experience and have collected projects under your belt. Also, the best needles really do make a difference. I used "Japanese needles" for all my previous projects, but after listening to a Savile Row tailor and purchasing his recommended English needles, my hand sewing sped up exponentially - English needles have become my go-to needle now.

Q&A with Cara A

Scheri Manson asked:
Cara it is looking good.
Cara A answered:
Scheri, thank you.
Larri M asked:
Wow! Your dress is fabulous! How many hours do you have in it?
Cara A answered:
Thank you, as for the timing, perhaps a week and a half or two weeks? I do one to two steps a day on the dress, persistence make my dresses rather than speed, for rushing isn't a strong suit. If I can accomplish 1 dress per month, that would be sewing bliss.
Bluebonnets asked:
This is a fabulous dress! Where do you purchase English needles? I'm in the states.
Cara A answered:
Thank you, I purchased English needles through a Savile Row tailor and his source, along with other supplies needed to tailor a suit. I think some higher-end quilting stores may have them too.
cally43 asked:
This is a beautiful dress and you have done an amazing job. Good luck with all your sewing projects. i can imagine it would feel really lovely to wear,
Cara A answered:
Thank you so much, Cally, I wish you well with your sewing/crafting endeavors too, it's an endless universe of creativity and (discipline).
Ella Hoyos asked:
This dress is beautiful. You've inspired me!
Cara A answered:
Dear Ella, that makes me so glad. I had caution using unfamiliar fabrics and techniques, but this course helped me jump over that hurdle. Thank you, Ella.