Retro Inspired Patchwork Dress

Suraya was the vintage inspired, and for Susu it was retro! Actually, the dress being retro inspired is quite accidental… but I love that it does look retro!

I used Anna Maria Horner’s Evening Empire Dress pattern. I had come across this pattern a couple years ago, but I considered myself a novice sewer (and still do) and didn’t have the confidence of taking it on at that time. As I contemplated what to make for Susu as her Eid outfit, I recalled the Anna Maria Horner pattern. I decided I was ready for the challenge!

I must say this may have been my most challenging sewing project yet. The pattern is basically made up of a bunch of triangle patches that make up the zig zag pattern that you see. The challenging part was lining them up flawlessly. With the non-directional fabric patterns there is less worry about alignment, but not with the first tier fabric below the bodice (just pretend you don’t see anything wrong;)) where it mattered the most. [sigh] I was so distracted with the overall project that I didn’t pay attention when cutting that print. Lesson learned…if I ever do patchwork again!

What I did think would intimidate me the most was the invisible zipper, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I did do a practice run with the invisible zipper in the sewing class I took about 4 years ago, but it was just done on scraps of fabric. Since then, this was the first time I actually work with an invisible zipper (and only the second time that I work with a zipper in general). And to add to it, this dress had a lining! That’s new territory for me: invisible zipper with lining. I did have to re-read quite a few times the part on how to sew the lining to the zipper after sewing it onto the dress. It wasn’t my best work, but definitely not my worst.

In the end, I’m just glad I did decide to take on the challenge. If I ever do decide to work with this pattern again, I’ll be more prepared.

After much distress over that major flaw and finally getting over it (well, somewhat getting over it), I’m proud of my patchwork dress… flaws and all! And it looking retro is a bonus! Old looking is always good in my book! :D

Oh… and doesn’t Susu’s new haircut look great!



  1. August 24, 2012  9:15 am by ColleenB. Reply

    Oh, that is gorgeous and Susu looks so good in it.
    You done a Fantastic job.
    I used to do alot of sewing when my girls where in school. Made all their school clothes and husbands shirts but haven't done much of it lately......well a few years. Found out I could get my husbands shirts at resale shope awhole cheaper then I could get the material for. I just do minor, small projects now.

  2. August 24, 2012  9:42 am by Amy Reply

    This is gorgeous! I have to say I would not have noticed the first tier had you not mentioned it. It doesn't stand out at all, the dress is so beautiful and she looks just lovely! Great job!

  3. August 24, 2012  9:47 am by Aziza Reply

    I love it! Very well done, the colors, patterns, and the pretty model all look amazing together!!!

  4. August 24, 2012  9:50 am by Amy of While Wearing Heels Reply

    Maysem!!! That dress is super cool. And, your model is gorgeous. I am really impressed with how this dress turned out. I love everything about it even your very minor flaw that I would not have noticed had you not pointed it out. Truly lovely!

  5. August 24, 2012  10:58 am by Salwa Reply

    Mashallah! Her dress turned out a million times prettier than the pic u shower me! It also looks super expensive because of the unique and intricate fabric and exquisite cut. u better not give it away ever! MashaAllah

  6. August 24, 2012  11:00 am by stacysewsandschools Reply

    Beautiful!! I love the colors and fabrics you used! And your daughter is too cute!!!!! Love her hair cut!

  7. August 24, 2012  1:28 pm by Hani Reply

    The dress and the haircut are fabulous! And I agree old looking is good. :)

  8. August 24, 2012  8:16 pm by CB Reply


  9. August 25, 2012  12:37 am by Jenan Mohajir Reply

    It's beautiful! if i ever have a daugther, I'm shopping at Maysem's :)

  10. August 25, 2012  9:06 am by Nicole G Reply

    I have to agree with all the comments Maysem. "Maysem" sounds like a perfect name for a shopping spot! Loved the colors as well as the cute model.

  11. August 25, 2012  8:59 pm by Just Jaime Reply

    I love the bright colors and your design! Reminds me of a quilt (in a good way)

  12. August 27, 2012  5:03 am by suzanne Reply

    it turned out beautiful! Great job...and I see no mistakes ;o) Zippers are currently (and have probably always been) my nemesis. Doesn't matter how many I do they just never seem 'perfect' to me. Found you through Friday Fun Features. I'm attempting to make my twin boys' fall/winter wardrobe at the moment - I'd love for you to stop by! ~Suzanne

  13. August 28, 2012  1:10 am by Annie Reply

    That is an amazing dress!

  14. August 28, 2012  10:29 pm by JaneEllen Reply

    You are absolutely to be congratulated on a superb job of making that dress. You attempted more than I sure ever would. My problem is avoiding something too hard due to laziness. Shame on me and bravo to you Maysem. You did such an excellent job. If you made a booboo we sure can't tell. Just think how future dresses will turn out with this pattern. Good job.

  15. August 31, 2012  8:11 am by Lindsay Reply

    It's such a cute dress! I tend to like little imperfections in handmade items. :) And really, had you not pointed it out I don't know if I'd have noticed b/c the dress itself is so darn cute! You did a good job. I've used AMH patterns before, so I can imagine how challenging this was. Kudos!

  16. September 11, 2012  10:36 am by blissfulsewing Reply

    This is awesome!!!!!!!! I would love to try something like this,thanks for sharing.

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