Dec 15, 2011

My Danielle: A Velvet Wenchlet of a Dress

After a busy couple weeks filled with writing assignments, I needed to sew something this week. Something for myself. But I didn't want to go downtown, and I didn't want to spend any money. So I searched my stash for some suitable yardage. "Stash" may be a stretch these days, as I don't have much in the way of fabric on hand anymore. I also didn't want to throw good money after bad and buy a new pattern to use with a less-than-stellar fabric choice. So I thought I'd see if I could make the Danielle, a free pattern from, work for me. I wasn't too thrilled with the line drawing (which should have stopped me?):
 But I liked this version by Burda member mathildeparis:

C'est tres jolie, non? So I thought if I lengthened the sleeves like she did, and got the length of the skirt just right, it would be less '90s looking. You'd think.

But the result, dear readers, looks like something Zooey Deschanel would wear to a Ren Fair. In fact, when my husband came home last night and I out-Michael-Kors'd him by pre-emptively saying so, he suggested we get one of those giant turkey legs for the photo shoot. You know the ones: I've only seen them at the Fort Tryon Medieval Festival — they're $7 each and could feed your entire family.

 We weren't about to splurge on poultry when this dress is clearly fated for the cast-off pile. So I grabbed a ukelele as a prop instead (also Ryan's suggestion; I think he's actually getting into the idea of being my photo director). And no, I didn't adjust the colours in the photo post-download. The pink velvet is just that saturated. I choose to make the waistband out of some peacock-print silk I had leftover from my Bombshell Dress. I love this fabric and have saved every last scrap. I pondered the pairing, and thought to myself: What Would Oona Do? (WWOD) — remembering her great post on how to mix prints and colours with more prints and other colours (ones you wouldn't think to put together — even in the same (dark) room). And so I thought: yes, peacock print and (what would you call this?) pink DO go together.

 And here's the back, where you can see my darts on the bodice aren't aligned with my skirt darts because I made some adjustments and totally forgot to move the darts to match up. Whoops. Gray zipper was another WWOD brainwave:

I think I inadvertently made a dress that my 16-year-old self would have loved to wear with Dr. Marten's. Except for the pink. I passionately hated pink back then.

Where would you wear this dress? A Jane Austen Fan Club Singles Mixer? The after-party for a community theatre production of Legally Blond 3: Elle's Madcap Medieval Adventures?


  1. EY! in a case of WWOD, from the extremely loud horse's mouth itself, Oona Would Salvage That Dress. the gray zip, the peacock band, she is too pretty to die so young. just get you some $2 RIT dye. if it's meant for the pile, what's the worst that could happen?

    throw green at it, it'll turn chocolate, then hack it at hip width for a peasant top. what's scary is i'm totally being serious here.

    (i love those turkey legs.)

  2. I've been back and forth on the Danielles I've seen as well; some look way too "I'm a white girl in the 1990s getting in touch with my deep Celtic roots". But the sleeveless ones usually look good. Try hacking the sleeves off?

  3. Good point, Sewing Scientist: swap out the ukelele for a fiddle, and I could be on my way to a ceilidh!

    I think I'd hate this sleeveless too. And as a tunic. But I may save it for a costume or for when my daughter hits her teens and the '90s are revived for a third time.

  4. You know, I like it. I think with a wide black belt to cover up the peacock it would look very in, and warm enough for winter!

  5. This post made me laugh out loud. I think you should rock it with some Doc's. The 90's are making a comeback.

  6. I know it's a bit late but how about adding some more waist shaping? There has got to be a way to make this work ... my plan:
    1. Chop the sleeves of.
    2. Take the replace the peacock fabric belt with a wider black belt.
    3. Use the peacock fabric belt with fabric in a different colour. I'm not saying it doesn't go with pink. It just doesn't go with pink and THIS pattern.

  7. Ha, that zooey dechanel comment was genius.

    How about "A Very She and Him Valentine's Day" album cover dress?

    But really though - with a black bow belt and some tights - instant holiday party dress!



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