Funnygrrl’s Dress (the Making Of)


Pattern & Fabric

Whew! That Promaballoona really took it out of me. I need a weekend after my weekend.

Ok, so, finally, here is the actual post about the making of  Simplicity 5549, view B, otherwise known as the Funnygrrl Dress.

This dress was perfect for several reasons—cute, shaped empire waist, relatively straight hem, and, most importantly for this project, it would fit on the 1.5 m of fabric I had at my disposal. WIN.

I made the size 12, with all my usual alterations—petite (both at the shoulder and 3 cm  removed above the waist in the skirt), square shoulder, and swayback. Lots and lots of swayback. I probably could’ve gotten away without the square shoulder—I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t bother with that one for strappy, narrow-shouldered patterns. Other than that, the alterations worked great!

I cut out the bodice in my “lining fabric” (aka white bedsheet from the thrift store) and basted it up quickly to check the fit, making a few minor tweaks. The most significant was to lower the neckline. I dropped it 2 cm, and widened a little bit as well—3 or 4 cm would’ve been fine. It was very, ah, demure. I should probably have paid a little more attention to the length of the “shorter” skirt on the model, as well. It reaches easily to the bottom of her knee, which is a good two or three inches longer than I like. I don’t usually pay attention to skirt lengths since I always figure I’ll just hem it at the end, but of course that’s not how it works with a border embroidery motif. D’oh.


Obviously, the dress needed black piping on the bodice to go with the black embroidery on the skirt. Pipe, pipe pipety pipe.  I am pleased to report that not only has the last of the black piping Claire sent me last winter been used up, but it was used up with only inches to spare (as you can see in the photo). I tried to be very careful not to stretch the piping while sewing, this time, lest I end up with puckery fabric. This worked well, but since I ended up with a fair bit of gapiness at the underarm, I’m thinking some pulling might’ve been in order, at least there.


I confess, I did not even look at the instructions for this dress. I promise when I have a little more time for sewing, I will start reading instructions again. In this case, I figured a construction order just like the Sewaholic Cambie would work just fine (only backwards)—and it did. Did I mention I really like the back of this dress? The straps widen and angle in towards the middle and it’s REALLY CUTE. Not to mention bra-strap covering, for those of you for whom that is a major issue. Also, unlike the Spiderman Dress, I think I nailed the swayback adjustment this time. WOOT! Having the extra darts for shaping certainly helps, too.

Look at that back fit!

Halfway through construction I realized I had no idea if I had any kind of suitable zipper or not. Some diving through the stash produced another vintage, metal-toothed invisible zipper in an off white colour. Not perfect, but close enough for an invisible zipper, especially if the alternative was delaying construction until I can visit a fabric store. I am trying really hard to avoid fabric stores right now. I’ve started packing up my stash for our pending move, and it’s, ah, traumatic.

Full length

I did zero matching of the embroidered motifs. I considered it for about half a second, but frankly, I was lucky to get the dress out of the amount of fabric I had period. There was only about 3″ of wiggle room along the width of the hem, not enough to match anything


I gotta say, it’s easy to quibble about little things like the gaping under the arm and the length of the skirt, but really—I am so stoked over how this turned out. The back is AWESOME. The fit over the hips is close but good. It’s cute, not too over the top, and easy to wear. I love the back, not something I usually get to say. So yeah! I’m going to call it a win. 🙂

Nothing procrastinates like procrastination…

Thanks, Funnygrrl! 



Filed under Sewing

31 responses to “Funnygrrl’s Dress (the Making Of)

  1. BIG win! The back fit is spot on! So flattering on you!

  2. It’s a great dress. Having wide straps angle into the middle is such a functional design. Straps like that won’t fall off and as mentioned, very bra friendly.

  3. Cuckoo Chanel

    It IS the perfect dress. Great fit too, and looks oh so fun!! Definitely a win!!!

  4. *Sigh* I love this dress, the fabric and fit are spot on. 🙂 And I really like your picture line at the bottom….one of these days (maybe after the kiddo starts school), I’m going to learn how to use Gimp and do cool stuff with my pictures too.

    • Hehe! Jorth (sewing/knitting blogger) does a lot of seamless photos—I’m always envious. Yes, this was accomplished in Gimp, and I will just say that the random plaster-daub background is PERFECT for merging seamlessly. However, the dappled sunlight while I was photographing was not…

  5. lloubb

    Nice win, especially with the fit!!

  6. It’s awesome, tremendous and adorable. Love the piping to pick out the lace and you’re so right that the back fits so neat.
    You’ve got that feather fascinator again….really does look like it’ s part of the whole look 😉

    • Yeah, I should probably crop the pictures to include all of it, shouldn’t I? Obviously my house was designed by short people, who puts the exterior light right at head height?

  7. Okay, not only is the dress AWESOME (especially now that we can see the details – look at the piping!), but I’m baffled by how you managed to fit 6 of you across that wall in the bottom photo. Because THERE ARE NO JOIN MARKS BETWEEN EACH YOU SO WHAT?! You’re secretly doing cloning not paleo, admit it.

  8. wow, awesome dress!! and i had a huge laugh at heather’s last comment about cloning!!

    • Yeah, me too! —see my response! 😉

      Makes me think of whichever Resident Evil movie it is where there’s like 2000 of her…. Cloned seamstresses vs. the Zombie Hordes. Hmm. Now there’s a mental rabbit trail. I’m pretty sure I’m going to perish in the first wave come the zombie apocalypse, so probalby cloning someone else to be our saviour would be a better idea…

      Ok, that whole reply just went weird places. Now I’m going to dream of zombies. Possibly sewing zombies. That would be like Frankenstein’s monster, right? OK, I’m going to stop now…

  9. Love love and LOVE this dress.

  10. Oklahoma Mom

    I know you said you didn’t read the instructions but It looks perfect I would have never known it. Until you just said something about it I love the dress great job.

  11. Bri

    Bravo for the win! The piping at the top really pulls your beautiful dress together, with the lovely embroidered fabric on the bottom.
    I need to get sewing. but the heat has just not been a good motivator for me!

  12. Where’s my “luuurrrvveee!!!” button? I’ve been seeing some amazing sheath dresses that are making me want to abandon my retro glam gown and go for Colette’s Lily Pinup style. *sighs* But I’ve been dreaming about this dress for years, literally.

    • If it helps, this is technically an A-line… although the A is so narrow it really reads like a sheath, doesn’t it? I swear it looks more A-line on the envelope.

      I am really enjoying reading the progress on your Glam dress. 🙂

  13. I loved this dress when you both first posted it and I love it all the more now. I hope you wear it as much as possible while the summery sun still shines, even to work under your lab coat (white on white – but there’s the hem peeking out you see) …. Sweet sway back alteration. :o)

  14. carol456

    Oh, this is cute! I love it. The piping is perfection.

  15. Wow, that is GORGEOUS! You’re so gorgeous too!! I love love love the black and white, the piping and the border print… so perfectly chic and elegant… and WIN on the straps for sure!! 🙂

  16. I love that border…graphic black swirly flowers on white background is one of my favorite looks! And I am continually amazed by how nice empire waists look on you.

    If you actually have cloned yourself, please send one to California so that I can meet you!

  17. Pingback: Me-Made-May: Week One | Tanit-Isis Sews

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