I wanted to share all the details about this cane dress I recently sewed so it’s all under “one roof” so to speak. And I also was able to take some photos while wearing it on Nantucket last week with the super talented Georgie, so I really wanted to share.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that I have been in the process of sewing a dress inspired by a very expensive one I saw online. While I would have loved to buy the original, at nearly $4,000 it was, um, slightly out of budget to put it lightly. A few followers suggested I could make it myself and after looking up some fabric choices and patterns online, I convinced myself that I totally could. I will say, I really taught myself how to sew during the pandemic, but I hadn’t done much sewing since 2020 and I hadn’t tackled a project as detailed as this one.
Earlier this year, I made a pact with myself to lean into creating more and it’s been one of the best things for myself mentally. I’ve been inspired to take more creative personal photos, I rented a studio in town so I have a little more space outside of my home for creativity, and this sewing project re-inspired me in a big way. Not to make this post too emotional, but sewing this dress built up some confidence in me that I hadn’t even realized I was lacking. I realized that I wasn’t picking up my sewing machine because I didn’t have the time, I was not picking up my sewing machine because I was afraid of failing. Maybe not coincidentally, when I wrote this post about how hobbies helped me overcome my perfectionism, I started to piece together with some extra clarity that my perfectionism was holding me back from sewing.
This dress is far from perfect…. but I’m so proud of it. I learned how to do new skills like sew an invisible zipper and how to insert pockets and how to make a professional-looking lining. I wasn’t deterred by the mistakes I made along the way… from day one I was making mistakes and actively deciding to power through instead of quitting. I chose the wrong size and didn’t realize until after I had cut out the pattern and the fabric and got through the first chunk of sewing. I threw out my invisible zipper foot and had to made a regular zipper foot work. I didn’t order enough fabric from the start because I originally was going to use another pattern and then changed my mind, but totally forgot to check to see how much the new pattern would require. I somehow nicked my finger and had drops of blood on the fabric (but didn’t realize it was blood and didn’t realize I was bleeding and didn’t know where these mysterious spots were coming from). I was rushed in a fabric store holding a squirming toddler and picked a white fabric that was too heavy for the lining and was impatient and just used it anyway.
And even still? The dress is perfect to me. I am so proud of it and really do love how it came out. It has sparked something in me again and felt so good to create something tangible with my hands.
I’m going to share the exact details of what I used… followed by my personal notes for my tweaks and what I’d do differently.
PATTERN + FABRIC USED:
– Bustier Fairy Dress Pattern (gathered skirt option)
– Cane fabric (cotton poplin)
– This pattern was not super straightforward. If you have experience sewing, you should be able to piece together what you’re doing, but just keep in mind some steps are completely skipped so you have to know when/how to fill in the gaps.
– I made simple bow straps and really love how they turned out (used this Youtube video for inspiration).
– This video on how to properly sew in a lining was incredibly useful.
WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY:
– I wish I had chosen a more lightweight lining. The weight of the one I used makes for a gorgeous dress, but it’s a little fancier than what I can pull off on an everyday basis!
– I followed the dress pattern exactly… and wish I had made a longer skirt!
– If I were making the dress again, I would actually use this pattern instead. It’s much more popular and it’s been updated so you can mix different cup sizes with different sizes of the dress. Then just do a gathered skirt instead.
PS If you don’t want to spend $4,000 on a dress or spend a week sewing your own, I don’t blame you 🤣 I questioned my sanity multiple times. Hill House coincidentally has a similar dress coming out in the same tan cane print I used tomorrow and there’s a really cute green gingham with a similar vibe for only $27 for a more everyday dress.