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Hi, I’m trying to make this dress but have no idea what you would call it when looking for a pattern?
Have spent 2 days on Google trying to find a way to make it and am going mad!!


Keeping in mind I’m a beginner and for some reason LOVE starting out on the hard ones :)
Any ideas where I could find such a pattern? I seem to only find old fashioned 80’s dresses!!

Cheers :)


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  • Logo4957b_large

    Aug 23, 2014, 03.12 AMby jenss-1

    I would call that a handkerchief hem skirt. I think they were briefly popular in the 80s, but I haven’t seen one in a recent pattern that I recall–sorry! Maybe consider adapting a skirt from an old pattern and attach it to a different bodice?

    1 Reply
    • Missing

      Aug 24, 2014, 07.43 AMby Happycamper6

      Thanks for that, good old google images came up with some patterns, so I will search them out :)
      I’ve ordered some beautiful corset tops and intend to attach the skirt – somehow!

  • Purplefan_large

    Aug 23, 2014, 04.43 PMby purplefan

    I agree with jenss-1; you are probably going to combine the strapless bodice of a dress pattern with the high low skirt (as described in the link you posted)/handkerchief hem of another pattern.

    Hope you explore stores in your area to see what similar styles are selling so you can see the type of fabrics used and finishes/hems added. Consider too that chiffon fabric is delicate and needs care. You will likely need a special foot to sew narrow hems, not the regular presser foot for straight sewing. Would your machine sew this fabric easily or do the feed dogs pull down delicate fabrics into the bobbin area?

    I’d suggest seeing if you can get a dress through consignment or donation stores so you have a “model” that you can handle and try to duplicate finishes on your own test scraps, as homework before committing to buying the actual fabrics for your dress project. You might prefer to get the dress from the source rather than buy fabric for your project and then abandoning it.

    Choosing a look and fabric are relatively easy once you can find what you want. The actual pattern adjusting, pinning, cutting and sewing add their own challenges. For a novice sewer, see if there is a simple chiffon project you can make . You are intending to handle a small moving pile of chiffon for the dress project—that could be very frustrating.

    1 Reply
    • Missing

      Aug 24, 2014, 07.52 AMby Happycamper6

      Unfortunately I have 6 small children, so shopping is definitely a no go! Oh to have an hour looking at pattern books in sewing shops!

      I just knocked up a quick plain evening dress in a stretch fabric and my machine was sucking the fabric in, mainly just at starting seams and finishing.

      I’ve decided to get the dress made in a cheap china store so I can look at that, pick it apart etc and see how it’s done.

      There’s a real lack of cocktail dresses here that you can buy for under 150 bucks. The ones on offer are quite boring! So with the corsets I’m buying in, thought I’d have a crack at making these!

      I think I will need a lot of practise with chiffon, I barely have the patience pinning and cutting, most of the time I just hold it together by my hand and sew by eye flat out, so far it’s worked!

      Thanks for your reply :)

  • Purplefan_large

    Aug 27, 2014, 03.13 AMby purplefan

    Chiffon might have to wait until your children are older and possibly willing to help you sew i.e. hold fabric lengths while you feed it into your machine, bring the next piece to attach to you,etc.

    Pinning is essential for woven dress fabrics or you’ll discover how top layer and bottom layer might travel at different speeds and then you’d have to unpick the seam!

    Might you have a reliable classifieds website to search for clothing sales in nearby neighbourhoods with eye to buying someone’s dresses and updating them to suit your style? Or friends willing to do a clothing swap with you?

    • This is a question
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