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My Very Red Open Back Dress

Added Sep 25, 2013

by martinalici

Portland, Oregon...






From Pattern: “Total femininity. Ankle-length dress with fitted bodice, layered skirt and short gathered sleeves. It’s respectably high cut at the front but the back plunges alluringly down to the waist.”

I cut for a side 19 at the shoulder and graded to a 20 at the waist. I made 3 muslins of this dress and in the end the alterations that I made were as follows: 1. made the gathered skirt into a full and slightly gathered circle skirt as all the gathering from the dirndl style made my hips look huge. 2. added side seam pockets. 3. lined the bodice as well as the skirt. 4. tried to do a narrow shoulder adjustment the proper way but I took too much out and the dress lost the charm of the “boatneck” that I think helps make the dress perportionate to the full skirt. So I went back to the origional patern and moved the fold line placement in by 3/8inch at the top and then connected it with a straight line all the way down to the bottom. I hope that made sense. Apparently, it is the “lazy” way to do a narrow shoulder adjustment but it worked better, in my opinion, than the proper way. 5. raised the back bodice by 1 1/2 inches because when I contructed the dress as drafted it felt like the dress couldn’t really “grab” on to me. I made the bodice look very boxy. That in combination with the fact that I am a B cup and would not be able to wear a bra was not a good look. 6. lowered the the back bodice by 1/2 inch. In some of the pictures posted online I noticed that some of the dresses seemed to pull up at the waist line in the back and I was trying to combat that. I think it helped compaired to my muslin but I probably could have added a bit more there. Oh, and yes I did try multiple variation on the strap length and placement with no avail. 7. added more boning to the bodice back just under each strap. 8. added sew in foam cups for the bust area 9. added a waist stay and and upper back stay which made the dress feel more supportive. Wow! That was a lot of changes for a dress I thought would be pretty simple but I am happy with it over all and very excited to wear it.

Material Notes

Double layered red cotton lawn for the outer and a high quality cotton muslin for the lining




Garment Type
Classic, Romantic, Vintage

9 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Oct 2, 2013, 10.33 PMby lelie

    stunning dress! I really love it! It is super smart to insert a bra in this dress.

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    Oct 1, 2013, 11.30 PMby yenny lee

    Lovely :)

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    Sep 30, 2013, 06.01 PMby Mauude

    This is so pretty! :) I really like the back and the colour.

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    Sep 30, 2013, 04.18 PMby Mary Athey

    This is gorgeous and i love how you solved the backless problem with the bra cups. You did a smashing job on.this and its lovely on you x

    1 Reply
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    Sep 30, 2013, 10.14 AMby liliv-1

    Great dress, I wish I could find a proper ocassion to wear something like this!

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    Sep 30, 2013, 02.39 AMby SofiaBlake

    Good work!

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    Sep 29, 2013, 09.02 PMby NicolineG

    That is a dress to go dancing in – lovely!

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    Sep 29, 2013, 08.12 PMby Karen Jackson

    A lot of work, but it’s paid off. It is gorgeous!

    1 Reply
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    Sep 29, 2013, 08.06 PMby cris orange

    that´s so cute, and very well worked too! I find the foam cups practical, because you don´t need a bra anymore. But how did you fix them?

    1 Reply
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      Sep 29, 2013, 08.22 PMby martinalici

      Yes. I hand stitched them in. I slid them between the lining and outer fabric before a stitched the lining down. I could not find a tutorial online so I winged it and it worked for me. Not sure if there is a better way?

    • This is a question
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