Red Dancing Dress

It's wedding season again and I haven't been short on inspiration. I scooped up Vogue 1545 during the last sale and was excited to have an opportunity to sew it up for my friend's wedding this past weekend.

Fabric: 2.5 yds ponte double knit
Cost: $35

While this pattern is designed for wovens, I thought a scuba knit would give it some nice body. Maybe a print? I excitedly jumped on the internets, thinking up a million ways (ok, five) to dress up this pattern. But wait a minute, you might be saying, this dress isn't made in a scuba knit or a print. What happened? Well, let me just say that the FIRST version was. I ordered this wild floral kaleidoscope print from Mood, spent way more $$ than I should have, and eagerly waited for it to arrive. When it came, boy was it bright! Despite my reservations, I sewed it up anyway. And it was... still too bright. I hated it. I couldn't even bring myself to wear it on our Hawaiian vacation. If anyone wears neons better than I do and has 38" hips and a 32" bust, it's all yours! 

It's been a while since I'd made a disaster as colossal as sewing a garment I could/would never wear. What to do next? I eventually decided I still wanted to make this dress, but a solid might be better. I ordered a beautiful red scuba very cheaply off Amazon. Waited for it to arrive. And, you guessed it - it was VERY bright. It looked like a shade of traffic cone orange. What was with my sudden attraction to neon fabrics on the internet? Do I need to adjust my monitor? I tried to dye it darker to no avail and realized I needed to try a THIRD time for the right fabric. This time, it was straight to my local fabric store for this scarlet ponte double knit. Bingo. 

With the advantage of having already sewn up the dress once, I made a few modifications. I had graded it out from the bust to the hips and needed to take the pattern back in some at the waist. As it was made from a stable knit, I also sized the top down a little, bringing in the darts along the waistline and taking in the sides. In hindsight, it may still be a smidge loose but on a dress like this you don't want it so tight that it pulls open at the front. I also added bust cups to fill in the top a bit more, as on many smaller figures the dress appears a bit... hollow. 

After photographing the dress, I ended up tacking the overlays to the body under the bust to help things lay flat. I remember that I also shortened the overlays by a bit as the tended to gape. Despite the slim model that Vogue uses, I think this dress is cut for figures that are more endowed than myself. 

In addition to those modifications, I also raised the armholes by a good two inches to help hold things in place. This is the second designer Vogue pattern I've made recently that has very low armholes and it makes the whole fit feel off to me. I brought these back up to a comfortable depth for me. I also sewed the front opening shut for several inches to try to hold things in place. I'm glad I did, as it can gape a little with wear as it is. For those considering making this dress, I would recommend stabilizing the front opening to pull things in and make it conform to the body. In the case of this knit dress, clear elastic would work well. 

To help reduce bulk with all these layers, I lined the top of the dress in a matching stretch mesh. Some reviewers of this pattern said they had trouble figuring out the lining instructions, but I just made things up as I went along. The top is fully lined and understitched to hold things in place. I left the overlay unlined to further reduce bulk. The skirt is also unlined and unhemmed. 

After all my fabric woes, I am happy with this dress. I love this color on me and I feel like it is a versatile piece I could wear to a few events. The knit fabric also makes it very comfortable. 

The back is a real stunner with an opening and metal zipper. I closed the skirt in the back with a gold button after forgetting to attach the zipper through the waistband. 

After all my fitting and fabric tribultions, this dress finally ended up working out and makes me feel like the red dancing emoji. And that's how we spent the wedding, dancing the night away in a warm summer vineyard. 


  1. Fabulous dress! You look great.

  2. what a great color and worth all the various fabric bloopers. looks great on you and perfect for dancing. I love to see the Vogue designer patterns in real life. a tricky pattern that you conquered.

  3. You could try throwing your very bright fabric/dress in a washer with some Rit Color Remover. I've found it to be both effective and random in a way that's pretty dang fun. Your final dress draft looks beautiful and fancy!

  4. Fabulous dress. You look wonderful. So glad you persevered with different fabrics choices till you found the prefect one.


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