The Grecian Goddess Dress

Grecian Goddess Dress

I will admit I considered various alternative titles for this dress. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) Dress. The Shirring Saves (Almost) Everything Dress. I commented in my inspiration post that I could just use a rectangle. I probably should’ve. Instead, I painstakingly drafted a short kimono sleeve, then added fullness for gathering both top and bottom. Even that would’ve been all right, though, if I’d just had this top flow straight into the skirt. But no, I had to fool with an underbust seam. Which of course (because I didn’t muslin anything) was about two inches too low in the front, and not particularly even all around.

In desperation a flash of brilliance, I decided to shir. I stitched up the front and back openings a couple of inches, pulled out my elastic-thread-wound bobbin, and started shirring a long spiral around the dress, beginning at my approximate underbust and continuing down across the bloody “waist” seam.

Front view

This created a vast improvement—instead of a mumu I now had something much closer to the elegant, drapey concoction I had envisioned. By a miracle, the neckline didn’t gape OR fall off my shoulders, and the bra straps are completely covered both at shoulders and at the back.

Back view

But all the shirring in the world couldn’t save that lumpy, uneven waist seam from being lumpy and uneven. No worries, though, I had always envisioned this dress with a sash across the offending area. I had planned to do a self-sash, but found myself desperately short of fabric. My Japonais Mum to the rescue! I cut off a pair of narrow widths ( it was too narrow to do just one), joined them in the centre, and made a simple tube sash.

Because having a seam at one edge and not the other annoys me, I hit on the idea of rolling the seam to the centre of the back-side of the sash. Quite satisfied with how that turned out. Yay me.

Sash closeup

Obviously I need to shorten the dress a fair bit… it’s dragging even in the heels I’m wearing for these photos (and the odds of me actually wearing heels like that out and about in the summer are pretty minimal).

I might try the general idea again, without an underbust seam and with a bit less gathering at the shoulder.

In Me-Made June news,


This is an older ensemble, meaning everything in it was made last summer and fall. It’s not terribly glamorous and I have a few issues with the fit of the blouse that I didn’t notice when I first made it (too bad since I made like four different versions). Still, it’s warm and comfy on a rainy, chilly day. These remain my single favourite pair of me-made jeans, despite a number of material failures (the pockets have disintegrated and much of the topstitching is failing).

JJ blouse
Knit top formerly known as Lydia
Jalie 2908 Jeans



Filed under Sewing

29 responses to “The Grecian Goddess Dress

  1. Sewista Fashionista

    Your dress looks lovely. I like the small obi/sash.

  2. I think your dress is beautiful. Glad the shirring helped.

  3. Shirring was a stroke of genius! I don’t even know how one goes about doing that (seems incredibly finicky to me). I think, if you take the skirt up to 2 inches above the ankle, it will be fantastic. Totally patio goddess.

    • Shirring is pretty easy, although hand-winding the elastic thread on the bobbins is a bit annoying. I think the trick is just figuring out how tight you need to wind the bobbin, which seems to vary from machine to machine. It’s remarkably forgiving of minor variations in stitch length and distance between the rows.

  4. Gorgeous dress!! I’ve been working (painfully) through two muslins of S2503 to get a similar look, so I’m suppressing jealousy that you managed it.

  5. femmeelise

    absolutely beautiful !


  6. I think it is beautiful.

  7. Very pretty dress, it looks perfect for summer!
    I should start winding my elastic thread bobbins, I like my summer dresses with a shirred back…

  8. Your dress is stunning. The sleeves look beautiful and elegant. The sash is such a nice addition. Grecian goddess – you bet!

  9. Funny. That looks and sounds a lot like my Cleopatra dress….

  10. Gorgeous! And a perfect use of that fabric for the sash! šŸ™‚

  11. Ali

    Grecian Goddess dress indeed! Wonderful drape, a distinctive but clean maxi dress for summer. From one small busted gal to another — the dress is very flattering on top! šŸ˜‰

  12. girl, that dress look FABulous. I say whack off the bottom a little bit and grab you some cute sandals– you’re good to go.

  13. Lovely dress! Thanks for all the info on the Ellen jeans pattern! Those are really cute jeans you have on in the last photo!

  14. I think the dress looks lovely. Very elegant. Great job making it all work out!

  15. Tenshi

    The dress is pretty! Greek goddess dress is a perfectly fitting name for it, that’s what it looks like and I love it. Very, very pretty.

  16. I must say, you DO look a bit like a Grecian goddess in that dress. Well done!


  17. ahhhhh! Love the dress!!!! Such a fabulous style!

  18. Haha, I love how you replaced ‘desparation’ with ‘a flash of brilliance’ :D. How does that happen anyway, do you know why the deleted word still shows?

    Anyway, I love this style, the gathered shoulders and the V-back!

  19. Beautiful dress!!! You look amazing in it!


    i’m eyeing a few convalescing dresses that may require this technique…

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