Dixie DIY Ballet Dress in chintzy floral

The girly pumps are on and the hair's in a top knot, all in honour of my newest make - a floral Dixie DIY Ballet Dress. Granted, the hair would have been better suited to a sock bun, but I can't for the life of my work those suckers...even thought I have looked up my fair share of tutorials!

Some of you may remember that this dress broke my sewing machine, but I'm not holding any grudges as I love the chintzy print and colour. It's so me! As usual, I got it from Stuart's stall on Leicester market and it's a super-soft, cotton jersey...for a mere £4 per metre. Bargain!


Dixie DIY's pattern was also a bargain (just $3 people!) and it's an excellent basic block that lends itself to many potential variations. I cut a size Medium and even though it was the right size, I had a couple of issues that once you know about you can easily rectify. 1)The bodice had some extra ease around the side boob area, which I got rid of with a couple of strategically placed darts - I've now just pinched the ease out of the pattern piece, so it shouldn't be a problem again. 2)The front bodice is a little short if you have a larger bust - I didn't go up a size because it would be too big elsewhere, but next time I will add an inch or two to the length.

I was thrilled with the fit of the back bodice though - it's not often that you get a snug neckline with no gaping at all!

The pattern calls for elastic to be sewn on the waistline and for once, I actually obeyed. I'm so glad I did as it stabilises the waistline and stops it from getting roomier throughout the day. In fact, I'm contemplating re-visiting a couple other jersey dresses I've made and stabilising the waistline in the same way.


Like I did for my birthday dress this year, I replaced the sleeves with the beautiful tulip ones from my vintage Simplicity 1813 pattern. What can I say? I'm just not done with this type of sleeve yet! I think it stops a jersey dress (or top) from looking too sporty and it might be my new go-to sleeve pattern...hehe!



I know this dress is a rather simple and casual one, but it suits my day-to-day life perfectly as I work in a very casual office. However, the floral print and tulip sleeves make me feel really feminine. Feminine enough to want to to curtsey after a posh tea date or to flutter across a sweet-smelling meadow. My balcony had to suffice today...


92 comments:

  1. You are as beautiful as this dress, really well done... looks amazing!

    Bundana @
    http://www.bundana.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Bundana, you're too kind!

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  2. lovely dress and beautifully sewn, well done :) I also love the fabric choice!

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    1. Thank you, I really do love the fabric too!

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  3. LOVE the sleeves! Are they easier to set in than regular sleeves? Do you think they would work with a woven fabric?

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    1. Thanks Carlee. I guess they are quite easy to set in because you have to gather them...so you can adjust the gathers to fit the armhole. And yes, they would totally work with a a lightweight woven fabric...in fact, the pattern piece I use is from a pattern intended for woven fabric ;o)

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  4. You look absolutely gorgeous in your new dress! I love the addition of the tulip sleeve, and the fabric is just so darn pretty! Great everyday dress!

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  5. Love this dress, you are right ... print dress makes it very feminine and flirty ... Good job!

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  6. Those sleeves are really pretty! Nice dress.

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  7. Marie, you did it again! Perfection!
    Those sleeves are the perfect touch for this dress, and the print works great! I'm actually tempted to buy the Victory patterns Nicola dress to have that pattern piece!
    I also had the same issue with Dixie's ballet dress pattern, although the bodice was so much shorter on me (almost like an empire dress). I think the extra ease in the side boob area is to make the sleeves more comfortable to wear. I made a sleeveless version and it was a disaster, so much gaping!

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    1. Thanks Anna, glad you like it! When I tried the bodice on for size (before sewing on the sleeves), I was so disappointed as it looked nothing like all of Dixie's gorgeous versions. I think girls with fuller busts (like you and me) definitely need to add some length to the front bodice. I don't know why the side boob excess happens, but it's easy enough to fix I guess.

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  8. lovely dress, and I think the sleeves make it!

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  9. Beautiful! The sleeves match the vibe of the dress perfectly.

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  10. Lovely dress. I would never have guessed it was jersey. I'd forgotten about this pattern - you've given me some ideas now!

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    1. Excellent, hope you give it a go as it's super fast and easy!

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  11. Love the dress and the sleeves details!

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  12. Gorgeous! What a lovely dress! It really suits you! I can't get enough of those sleeves!

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    1. Thanks Sonja...I think there's an obsession brewing within me ;o)

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  13. SO pretty! I've been eyeing the tulip sleeves in Gertie's book and this is definitely motivation to try them out!

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  14. Oooh this works so well!! Lovely fabric and pattern equals great dress!

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  15. Beautiful Lady! I've had that pattern for ages and I've got some mustard jersey i'd forgotten all about it! Gotta hope it looks as lovely as yours. Can totally see you in a meadow btw :) xx

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    1. Thanks Stevie, I'm sure you'll do a wonderful job with yours!!!

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  16. Very cute! I love the sleeves :)

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  17. I love love the fabric! And those sleeves... Gorgeous!

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  18. It's adorable and I love the sleeves - they match the dress perfectly!

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  19. Oooo I love the petal sleeves! The print is beautiful, too :)

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  20. I love this pattern, I've made it a bunch of times, and I love your version! The sleeves are so sweet, and the fit it lovely! I always have to add two inches to the bodice on this dress.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. Oooh, I'm off to go and see your versions Leah!

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  21. Super cute! I have this pattern and keep planning on giving it a go. Im glad to see a lovely version from you, i havent seen this pattern out in blogland much, and was curious to see what other people did with it

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    1. Yeah, I've not seen many either, but all of Dixie's versions are adorable. Also, a few lovely people commented above that they've made it, so I'm sure it's worth checking out their blogs for inspiration ;p

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  22. Oh its gorgeous! Fits perfectly and the print is fabulous!

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  23. You look lovely! Those sleeves are just gorgeous.mi would be putting them on everything too if I were you. Do you find it hard sewing jersey on a normal machine? I never sew jersey or other knits cause I don't have an over locker and it just seems too hard.

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    1. Thanks Kat...I really do want to sew them on everything!!! Hehe! Sewing jersey on a normal machine isn't hard at all - you just need the right ballpoint needle (you can get them for stretch and knit fabrics) and you'll need to sew it all using a zig-zag stitch. That's literally all you need, I've always left my tension the same too (on 4) and it's worked just fine. Hope you give it a go soon!

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  24. Gorgeous! I think I need that pattern now...

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  25. Oh how lovely and romantic! Love the sleeves, you look great! :)

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  26. I'm loving the tulip sleeves and your cute little bun!

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  27. Very, very pretty :) And the bun is a perfect match for this! Couldn't agree more on the perfect fit between you and the fabric, either. Lovely :)

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    1. Thanks! You obviously know how much I love florals ;o)

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  28. You look SO adorable, this dress is pefect on you!

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  29. I love those colours on you. Beautiful.

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    1. Thanks so much Catherine. I do love how unusual the print on this jersey is!

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  30. Love the shape of this dress, must check out Dixie Diy! I'm working on my first jersey dress, but finding topstitching neatly difficult- any tips? xxx

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    1. Yes, do check her lovely (and super cheap) patterns out! Regarding topstitching just take your time and work slowly. If you gently pull on your fabric as it feeds through, it helps to even everything out as well. Hope this helps!

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  31. Aww, what a cute dress! I love the print, and those sleeves are perfect.

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  32. lovely dress, it really suits you and those sleeves are perfect!

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  33. So cute! Adorable fabric, and why should you not replace the sleeves with the tulip-ones, when it looks so great on you?! =)
    I also stabilize my waistlines on jerseydresses with elastic (I just sew it into the overlock-seam using the tape-feeder), it really helps the dress retain a nice shape. Oh, now you've got me so pepped on my planned jerseysewing! I was feeling a bit "meh" about it, but no more. Yay for cute, comfy and easy-to-make jersey dresses!

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    1. Thanks! I'll be using elastic on ALL my jersey dresses now, that's for sure! Have fun with your jersey sewing ;o)

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  34. These sleeves are SOOOO amazing Marie! Is there any chance you would write a tutorial for how to make them??

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    1. Thank you! Well, I use a pattern piece from a 1940s pattern of mine, but I can look into making it available as I don't think it can be in copyright any more. If I'm allowed to do that, then I'll do a tutorial to go along with it too!

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  35. Beautiful, as always! Love the tulip sleeves, they are the perfect addition.

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  36. The sleeves are such an adorable touch!

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  37. Gosh you are good! I love the sleeves. The fabric is so pretty. Looks great on you!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks Sarah...that's a bit compliment coming from you!

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  38. Just gorgeous! And those sleeves really make it. So fluttery and pretty with that fabric, a wonderful combination!

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    1. Thanks Tasha, the sleeves are very delicate for sure!

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  39. It's very cute! I love the print and the colour is perfect on you, a great choice! Well done!

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  40. This is fab, I love the fabric. Very pretty and summer-y.

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    1. Thanks Janey...just waiting for that summer now ;o)

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  41. Ugh, I don't know why I didn't read this earlier than now. Love your version! Especially the awesome sleeves. Thanks so much for trying my pattern! And yeah, the pattern is drafted for my measly b-cup so larger ladies can make the bodice longer which is easier than to try and do a franken-FBA.

    You're awesome, Marie!

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    1. Wow, that Dixie! You're awesome too and thanks for making such affordable patterns available for us. And trust me, I wish I had a B-cup...so much neater ;o) But as you say, it's easy enough to lengthen the bodice for next time!

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  42. This is so cute! The floral print is so sweet and feminine. Love the
    sleeves. You look lovely!

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  43. Marie that is so damn lovely! Awesome work xxx

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  44. Your dress is so pretty! I love the sleeves!!

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