Every year for my birthday I make myself something special. This year it was all about polka dot maxi-magic!!
Confession: I almost didn’t make this dress. I had the pattern sitting out with this fabric and I was going back and forth FOREVER about it. I didn’t really have enough fabric, my research on the pattern gave me a lot of mixed reviews, and I debated about just scratching the whole idea and making something more “practical” like an ogden dress hack. But in the end, BIRTHDAY MAGIC won and the dress was made the morning of my birthday to be worn out that very night and I’m SO GLAD it happened that way.
The pattern is Vogue 8901 and I think I discovered it on pinterest via the amazing striped version you’ll see in the pattern listing. I loved the slit, the unique wrap side detail, the split back… everything about it caught my eye and had me thinking it could be something special. I also loved it in a graphic print like the stripe which is why when I was thinking about what this polka dot could become this pattern came to mind.
This amazing polka dot fabric is from Style Maker Fabrics last season that I purchased with a gift certificate I WON in an instagram challenge!! Sadly I believe this is no longer in stock but it certainly served me well. It is a rayon so the weight is super light and drapey. I love large scale polka dots and the black and white is just so classic… I think polka dots might be my new stripes! For the lining I used what was left from my oh lu lu romper mostly out of necessity because I definitely did NOT have anywhere near the fabric requirements the pattern called for in the polka dot. I think the little contrast is fun and turned out nice though!
I made ZERO fit adjustments to this dress! I was surprised because looking at several reviews/makes of this pattern many said they had a tough time with the bodice and I thought I would too. I think its because the others I’ve seen were trying to make the bodice quite fitted, because the wrapped side seam can feel a bit exposed. But if you look closely at the striped dress in the pattern listing, the bodice is not intended to be super snug. Its all supposed to sit in place just so, which is how mine turned out and I love it! The wrap sides are so perfect for our hot weather, I hate anything tight in my underarms and this dress keeps everything nice and breezy! It can feel like you might have some side boob exposure, but trust me the only way anyone is going to get a peek is if I lift one out ;-p.
I want to talk for a minute about the serious short cuts taken in the construction of this dress. First of all, the fabric calls for about 4 yards of fabric, of which I had 1.5! So I’m already dreaming big attempting this dress in this fabric. But I’ve realized I kind of have a thing for challenging myself to make patterns out of ridiculously small bits of fabric and I think this was a success. Second I was on a time crunch, as I started making the dress around 11am and we were leaving for dinner around 6pm. Granted, I did have the thing cut out already. To compensate for my serious lack of fabric, I used a contrast lining for the bodice. I first cut out the bodice pieces in the polka dot. Then I squared off what was left, making a straight edge across the width of the fabric to even out where I had cut the bodice. This pattern originally has a pleated skirt with I think three panels, that of course had to be scrapped. I took my remaining fabric and sewed the selvages together, inserting a zip for the center back seam. I threw a baby hem on the bottom (also why it is a touch short – this is all the fabric I had!) and gathered the whole thing together to attach to the bodice. I still wanted the slit in the front so I just tried it on, marked the placement, and sliced up the front of the dress with my scissors! I baby hemmed each side of the slit and created a dart at the top for a clean(ish) transition – see pics above for details on all this nonsense.
All this is to say that your insides don’t have to be perfect. I feel like a million bucks when I wear this dress, and I made it in a day! … and that’s all that matters. Let’s all stop being so hard on ourselves about perfection. It’s nice when the insides are pretty and perfect, but they don’t always have to be!
See this dress in action here:
Pattern: Vogue 8901
Size Sewn: 6 or 8?
Fabric: Polka Dot Rayon from Style Maker Fabrics last season
Notions: Invisible zip
Adjustments: Changed skirt from pleated to gathered, cut front slit
Finishes: Serged seams, fully lined bodice
Time: 5 hours?
Sew it again? I dont think I need two of these dresses, but I love the one I got!
Do you make yourself something special for your birthday??? You can see last year’s birthday dress here!