Gettin’ My Preppy On

 Madras, anyone?

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 Finding this multicolored cotton patchwork on the Mood Fabrics website was almost as refreshing as a dip in the pool!

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I looked forward to putting a feminine twist on this classic preppy fabric and paired it with Butterick’s dress pattern 5917.

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 Perhaps I’m a child at heart loving those madras children’s clothes filled with ruffles, but I thought this pattern had just the right feminine touch without the fussiness for the busy fabric. Actually, I’ve seen lots of RTW seersucker dresses sewn in this style.

Since there was only one review on the Pattern Review website I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised when I only needed to do a little tweaking in the upper bodice muslin to get the fit I wanted.

Obviously the visual interest is in the upper bodice with the ruffle. The tab prevents any gaping – I lowered it by ½ inch to avoid a matronly look however it still provided plenty of coverage. I constantly read the most flattering dress style is one with a raised waistline and must say I love the fit of this dress.

IMG_0491This is truly one of the most uncomplicated sewing projects I’ve encountered. I mean if every sewing experience was this easy I might have to find another hobby ;)

I’ll probably eat my words for that comment, but we sewists deserve a break every now and then, and now I know where to turn for a little almost- instant gratification.

IMG_0588Until soon!

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110 Responses to Gettin’ My Preppy On

  1. Well, your dess is so darn cute!!

    • Thanks, Claire! I held my breath while cutting the fabric thinking – This will be cute or hideous. Thankfully it turned out just fine :)

      • Connie Cutcliff says:

        It’s really cute. I thought Madras was so fun the first time around, you make me want to do it again! Thanks for the tip on how to avoid the dreadful matronly look.

  2. Art Attack says:

    How cute, Sarah. I love Madras, it really takes me back. This soft colorway really suits you. I’ve not noticed this pattern until now and what a fun little summer dress you’ve turned it into!

  3. dara says:

    Very beautiful dress! always enjoy reading your blogs. Happy sewing!!

  4. Annemarie White says:

    I am constantly amazed by the garments you make and how quickly you sew them. It looks fabulous on you.

  5. Angela says:

    I love your dress! I have this pattern already — just waiting on the right fabric inspiration for me.

  6. Julie Starr says:

    Love it! It surely suits you to a T and looks terrific against the backdrop of your pool.

  7. missmarys says:

    Adorable on you. I’m actually going to try your Burda knit dress. I have to read up on sewing with knits. I’ve figured out all the adjustments I have to make. I purchased an inexpensive fabric incase this goes all wrong. We shall see.

  8. Mary Deeter says:

    Simply gorgeous and fun for a summer day! Nice work!

  9. Jane says:

    Oh you look fabulous! So cool. I have this pattern too and am inspired by your interpretation. I would never have thought to use madras. Thanks for the idea.

  10. Jane says:

    Looks absolutely lovely! I have this pattern and now you’ve inspired me to get to it. You look so fantastic & cool. I would never have thought to use madras fabric with the ruffle. Love it! Thanks for the motivation.

  11. ewellons says:

    So cute! Funny that you should post this today since I was thinking to myself yesterday that you hadn’t done any ruffles lately! Great combination of fabric and pattern!

  12. Pam says:

    So pretty, and fun! That is a pattern I would have passed over and now I’m thinking of what fabric I could make it in.I also love the bracelet sleeve variation. You really have a good eye for design. BTW, did you make the ruffle a little wider than called for?
    -Pam

  13. lisa g says:

    great pattern/fabric combo! i love the ruffled neckline. i’ve never seen madras look so good!

  14. Kathryn Louisignau says:

    awesome job, love the dress!

  15. Jennifer says:

    I just love this!! I’ve been considering a madras dress myself but, wouldn’t have thought to use a pattern like this. It’s a perfect pairing and it looks fantastic on you!

  16. LOVE it! Saw you in that and wondered if you’d made it ;) Gotta love madras – you just can’t go wrong, especially in our hot summers! Really cute and very flattering! I’ll have to take a closer look at that pattern.

    • Thank you, Cheryl! It took me a moment to think where you might have seen me until I remembered FB :) This is going to be a fun summer dress! Have you set up your sewing room yet?

      • LOL…spies everywhere ;) Seriously, though – your dress is super cute! Had I not known about your talent, I would have guessed you’d picked this up at a neat little boutique :)

        Sewing room almost ready! SO glad to be getting settled. I think it’s going to work out quite well – going to give it a test this week! Moving is always such fun, isn’t it?

  17. black label says:

    lovely….& you did the pattern justice as only you can!

  18. Marguerite says:

    So fun! I eyed this pattern for a “cocktail” type LBD thinking the top gave it interest. The madras is so unexpected and fabulous. You are always an inspiration both with pattern choice and fabric choice. Not to mention the sewing skills too!

  19. Stitchgirl78 says:

    Your dress looks so much better than the image on the front of the pattern envelope! Had I not seen your post, I would not be purchasing this pattern. Keep up the great work……….I look forward to your posts : )

  20. I love madras too, very cute dress and you are making me think about some madras shorts. how’s that for preppy style :)

  21. Angie says:

    Oh, wow, I’ve had some patchwork madras fabric (different colorway) in my stash for years. I wouldn’t have thought of doing a ruffle, but I love this! Thanks for giving me a whole new idea!

  22. chesneykat says:

    Wow. You look great in that dress!!

  23. Karen says:

    Wow, this isn’t the madras I remember from the ’60s! It looks so fresh and “better than preppy” in that pattern. What an inspired pairing!

  24. Sarah says:

    Had to smile – you picked the same patchwork check madras as Peter of Male Pattern Boldness did at the beginning of June – he made shorts and a shirt. Love your dress, love your blog.

    Sarah blogging at Sew Drastic!

    • Thank you , Sarah! I think Peter and I ordered our Madras around the same time. After seeing his nice shorts and shirt I started rethinking my approach from a traditional madras garment to something more feminine for me. :)

  25. laurahoj says:

    I love this! Madras has always been a favorite of mine.

  26. Almeda says:

    Helllooo!!! I can’t say much because I am heading out to buy this pattern. The dress brings the material to another level. You did it again!!! :)

  27. Sharon says:

    Gorgeous summer dress and it doesn’t say it any better than with Madras checks. Love the style of this dress, you do tempt me with different styles.

  28. Gayle West-Grimley says:

    What a beautiful dres & it fits you so perfectly! The ruffles lend interest without being too sweet. I would love to see it in an elegant silk dupioni. Great choice of fabric & pattern!

  29. danvillegirl says:

    I just recently purchased this pattern. I am glad to read that you found this easy to sew. I really like the fabric you chose for this dress!

    • Thank you, Danvillegirl! Other than making my usual adjustments in the length I found it very easy to sew. Next time around I’ll take up the upper bodice size seams just a bit. Good luck with yours!

  30. Jean says:

    Absolutely perfect dress. The design and the colours are so flattering on you. Must have this pattern now.

  31. Linda B. says:

    Another unexpected fabric choice that turned out great! So…classic/preppy/summertime! It looks cool, comfortable and great on you!! Sheesh…another pattern that I “have” to pick up now! How can we mere mortals possibly keep up, haha!!!

  32. Renata says:

    Were you made for ruffles or were ruffles made for you. Whatever, you look gorgeous as ever. And I must say you look younger every time I see you in a new outfit. Could you bottle and sell your secret?

    • What a nice comment to read at 6:30 am, Renata! I do love ruffles – they make almost any piece of jewelry look beautiful! As for looking younger…… I don’t know about that, but dropping a few pounds has made a big difference in the way my clothes fit and I can’t believe it took me so long to get rid of the bowling ball I was carrying around ;) Many thanks for writing!

  33. Velosewer says:

    You always know how to pair fabric to patterns, with flair.

  34. sewruth says:

    Super dress! Looks cool to wear too.

  35. Love your dress Sarah. I have recently purchased this pattern, but haven’t had a chance to sort any fabric for it. I love your choice of fabric – a very summer dress. I like that it is an easy sew – I like that :)

  36. Susan Morton says:

    What a flattering dress on you! I have passed over this pattern but you have totally inspired me to go out and get it now! Did you line the body of the dress? If so, what did you use?

  37. Thank you, Susan! I did not line the body of the dress but I will next time around. I mentioned this on my pattern review. I will also use an invisible zipper. I love the fit of the pattern but the instructions could stand a few revisions. :)

  38. Catty says:

    Hi! Love your dress and style! Thanks for posting! You have really inspired me and my friends to sew for ourselves! Can’t wait to get this pattern!

  39. prttynpnk says:

    I love that you didn’t go for an obvious fabric choice- this is summery and fun and really flattering to you!

  40. Mary Lynn says:

    You look so cute in ruffles! The quote about high waistlines only works if one has a waist :-)
    My waist is somewhere around Stevie Urkle territory! You also didn’t have to worry about matching the plaids! i so look forward to each new wonderful, lovely/cute new outfit!

  41. Denny says:

    You always look so summery/spring looking and lovely. I have just moved countries and trying to adjust from tropical to freezing cold weather. I’m sure your winter warm wardrobe is just as glamorous but those types of clothes don’t feature on your site. I urgently need inspiration to still look feminine (think frills/ruffles like you) and warm at the same time. I am assuming you live in a mid climate and don’t need to wrap up so much so any advice would be appreciated because you have a lovely style ethic.

    • This is such a lovely comment, Denny – thank you so much for your kind words!
      I live in South Carolina. While we do have four seasons, the winters are mild. Since my return to sewing two years ago, I’ve discovered color, ruffles and black and white are seasonable all year long! I’m sure you’ll find a style you’re comfortable with in your new cold surroundings. Good luck and stay warm! :) :)

  42. Joy says:

    Another darling dress I want to copy. I worked four hours today working on the fit for my striped Vogue dress like yours. Mine is black and white stripes. I have to make so many changes that the pattern barely looks like the same one! Did you use the same fabric for the base of the striped dress? Love the madras! It is so summery. Did you use a facing for the armholes?
    Hugs, Joy

  43. Nancy Schaub says:

    WOW – one photo and I was thinking of the summer of 1964, then year I graduated high school. I had an a-line skirt in Madras as well as a blazer – not the same madras and never worn together. How I loved those garments. Your dress is great and you really look wonderful in everything you make.

  44. Cindy says:

    HAH! The moment I saw this pattern come out, I knew you’d make a beeline for it and create something spectacular. As always, your dress is adorable, and your exceptional skill in matching pattern to fabric continues to wow. This pattern also has the bones for an alternate version, in a solid color, with straight neckline leading down to that crosspiece with a narrower ruffle topping it alone. I double dog dare you to try it!

    • LOL! You know me well! Let’s get this straight – a horizontal ruffle on the tab and no ruffles elsewhere?

      • Cindy says:

        Yes, exactly. Ann Klein actually did a similar look in a stunning black cocktail dress with a short sleeve, with the ruffle folded every inch and pressed flat before being sewn in. It was outrageously elegant. The sort expanse available here would leave a lot of room for experimenting with width of ruffle and manner of insertion to see what looks best on you. ;=D

  45. BrendaR says:

    I love this pattern and I remember seeing that fabric (also in pinkish tones) at my local fabric shop! I’m going to bookmark your blog and follow it as I begin my new sewing journey!

  46. Keys Maddox says:

    Sure am enjoying these blog posts. Thanks. Keysie

    Sent from my iPad

  47. AllisonC says:

    Great to see this pattern made up in a more casual fabric, I could only picture it in a tweedy wool before, your more summery version looks great.

  48. poppykettle says:

    So, So gorgeous, and yet seemingly so simple! These colours are divine on you :) An extremely pretty dress!

  49. Emily O'Brien says:

    Saw this dress on Facebook and now I’m checking out all your old posts–you do great work! Fantastic dress.

  50. Pingback: Butterick 5917 – The Un-Preppy Version | Goodbye Valentino

  51. Kyle says:

    Wow, was it really that easy? I like both of your versions. I happened to buy this pattern this week! your versions are better than the version on the pattern envelope!

    • It was really that easy, however I made a muslin first. The black version was not as easy due to the invisible zipper and full lining, but the pattern is very well thought out when sewn as intended. Good luck!

  52. heidi says:

    Wow that looks nice. great job.

  53. Susan says:

    I’ve read your blog before (love your choices of fabrics and patterns) and just stumbled on this post. I’m thinking of sewing it up for an Easter dress. You said you lined the black version and not the madras one, would you recommend lining the madras version? I usually line my dresses but if the fabric is right sometimes you don’t need to. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Thank you, Susan. The pattern calls for lining the top only. I did this with the madras version but decided to line the entire black dress I made. It was difficult making the transition to a fully lined dress due to the bodice construction. Since that time I made Vogue 8532 and have decided to follow those instructions should I make and line the Butterick pattern again. :)

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