Saturday, March 03, 2012

In Progress: The Muppets Seersucker Dress

A few weeks ago the very sweet Lisa from Online Fabric Shop emailed and asked if I might be interested in doing a blog project with them.  Of course any time someone wants to send me pretty fabric (with a hefty dose of blogflattery) I'm in!

I was asked to choose a piece from the new Robert Kaufman seersucker fabric line (which you can view here).  I chose this one, the Espresso stripe:

Probably not what you expected from me, huh?  I'm branching out.  Ha.  I love seersucker, especially in warm weather.  And as much as I love bright, summery colors, I thought the deep brown and white of the Espresso colorway was a little more sophisticated than the bright turquoise or lime that originally caught my eye.

Although I reserve the right to use bright turquoise or lime or hot pink seersucker in the near future.

The fabric arrived about 10 days ago and since then I've been poring over my vintage patterns and Modcloth and Etsy and Flickr and Pinterest... well, you get the picture.

My criteria was...
  • I want to make a dress
  • Vintage pattern or vintage styled
  • Fitted bodice, fuller skirt (i.e. not pencil, but gathered, a-line or circle are all fine)
  • Plays well with Stripes
  • Interesting detail.  Vague, no?  Usually a vintage pattern has some amazing detail that "makes" a basic dress pattern special.  Pleats, tucks, trim, rick-rack, flounce, embroidery, tabs, button detailing, interesting gathered treatment...  
Ok.  So...  These four dresses were favorited and gazed at enough to save the images:


Erin, Dress a Day


Stop Staring

 And that last one.  Wowza.  It has all the features I'm looking for...striped seersucker inspiration already in place for visualizing the finished product (heh), fabulous "interesting detail" in the form of gorgeous bodice, piping, buttons.  Bonus features: V-neckline, good for busty folk, AND midriff band, good for those of us who need the illusion of a smaller midsection.

The slim skirt, while adorable and ooh-la-la was not for this particular project, so I envisioned it with an a-line or circle skirt.  And immediately remembered this:

Oh dear vintagey Muppets wardrobe, how could I forget you??  This dress has been in my mind's "to-do" list since last spring when I first spotted pictures of it online!  And it's simply perfect.  I spent a great deal of time last summer trying to find a pattern to knock it off too.

I never did find a pattern that has ALL the features of this gorgeous dress, but New Look 6886 has a similar feel in View A, gathered front bodice, cap sleeve (the original has a tulip sleeve), and circle skirt:

 Not crazy about the angle of the cap sleeve though, I can see bra-strap issues.

`Then I found this vintage New York 662 on ebay (terrible photo, but apparently it's NOWHERE online):

 The bodice is correct, and I even get the addition of my flattering midriff band.  I like the square neckline, but a "sweetheart" modification would be easy to alter too, like the original Muppets dress.  The sleeve would be easy to adjust to tulip.  And the skirt could be swapped out for a circle skirt (from the NL pattern!)  I think we have a winner!

Downside is grading the vintage pattern to fit, but that's just boring "work", not an impossible task.

So that's where we are today...grading up this vintage New York pattern bodice, and slamming together a quick muslin.  I'm not very excited about the grading part, but I'm excited about everything else!

Stay tuned. :)


  1. I am watching with interest! The fabric and the inspiration photos look great and that vintage pattern is a stunner!

  2. Ooh, so exciting! I love when a great fabric and wonderful inspiration garment come together! Can you hear me cheering you on from Michigan? Ang-ie! Ang-ie! Ang-ie!

  3. Wow! That is going to be amazing.

    um. so does this mean you're not only going to sew something for yourself but you also have to put up, y'know, PICTURES OF YOURSELF WEARING IT? I mean, they were smart enough to specify that, right? Becasue otherwise... well... I just despair.

    and it's going to be so cute!!!

  4. Can't wait to see it! I love the inspiration dress!

  5. Anonymous9:39 AM

    I love your plan and fabric! The Muppets dress is terrific (what a fab wardrobe!) and I definitely think you should use turquoise stripe seersucker, too!

  6. While I love the pattern you have picked out and in fact looked in vain for it the first time you blogged about it, I couldn't help but think I have seen a pattern very similar to the inspiration Stop Staring dress. I looked through my boxes and boxes and, um, boxes of patterns but it wasn't in them. I realized it was one I had recently seen so I looked at all the big companies and came across New Look 6069. It has a lot of what the inspiration dress has--crossover v-neck bodice, gathering to shoulder yokes, midriff band, and cap sleeves. Add a full skirt and piping and it would be fantastic. Just a suggestion if you are still looking. : ) I can't wait to see what you make.

  7. You have great ideas! I can't wait to see how it turns out!! Keep us posted.


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