Have you ever watched the 1950’s movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? It’s a beautiful, lighthearted film full of music, color, gorgeous dresses and some pretty impressive dancing sequences. When I first watched it many years ago, I fell madly in love with all the amazing dresses worn by the different actresses. I’ve wanted to recreate something similar for a long while: fitted bodice, miles of skirt.

And here is my finished dress! I made it out of an adorable, daisy sprinkled Gingham Cotton Fabric. It is lightweight for a cotton fabric and was super easy to sew with. I did have to be careful about putting a hot iron directly on the right side of the fabric since it seemed to melt the daisies but that was easily avoided.

I used a quite modified variation of the Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress from her Love at First Stitch book. I lengthened the bodice by about 3 inches at the lengthen/shorten line. Then I cut off 4 inches from the bottom of the bodice, added seam allowance, omitted the pleat from the new midriff piece and cut that piece on the bias. I love cutting checkered fabric on the bias since it has such an obvious contrast to the rest of the garment.

For the skirt I cut one piece of fabric 6 inches wide by the length of the fabric for the top tier. Then three pieces 11 inches wide by the length of the fabric for the middle tier. And finally, five pieces 16 inches wide by the length of the fabric for the bottom tier. That bottom tier is over 20 feet long! This skirt is the twirliest, fullest, most perfect for spinning, skirt that I have ever made! Gathering everything was a pain (I used the zig-zag over a piece of yarn method) but totally worth it in the end!

The dress has a center back lapped zipper, facings and I just serged the bottom edge. There was no way I was going to hem all 20+ feet of that skirt! And since the fabric is light colored, I think the serged edge works quite well. It also doesn’t weigh anything down like a thicker hem would have.

My only complaint is that after wearing it a couple of times, some wrinkles/sag lines have developed right above the front midriff piece on the bodice. I’m not sure why they are there or what has caused them. They weren’t there when I first finished the dress. I wonder if maybe the skirt is too heavy and it's pulling down on it. I don’t really know! If you have any thoughts I’d love to know so I can avoid the problem next time.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this dress is nearly impossible to wear without twirling or swishing the skirt about. I love how it looks! I’m looking forward to wearing it to a local live music/dancing event sometime this summer so I can dance in it. Won’t that be way too much fun!? I was supposed to go this past Saturday but work got in the way. Boo! However, it is a recurring event so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go, one of these weeks!!

And now I’m off to go finish sewing up the world’s cutest romper/playsuit. If this first, wearable muslin version turns out, you’ll get to see my next variation next month. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

-Emily