Gettin’ My Preppy On

01 Aug Gettin’ My Preppy On

 Madras, anyone?


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


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

IMG_0493 (1)

 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!

No Comments
  • SA Curve Ruler
    Posted at 09:37h, 01 August Reply

    Well, your dess is so darn cute!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:45h, 01 August Reply

      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
        Posted at 14:52h, 26 August Reply

        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.

  • Art Attack
    Posted at 09:42h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:47h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Dorcas! It was fun trying a little something different with the fabric 🙂

  • dara
    Posted at 09:45h, 01 August Reply

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

  • Annemarie White
    Posted at 09:50h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:48h, 01 August Reply

      Many thanks, Annemarie! When I start a sewing project I become possessed and don’t stop until I’m finished. Maybe I should lighten up 😉

  • Angela
    Posted at 09:52h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:49h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Angela! You’re going to love this pattern 🙂

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 09:54h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:49h, 01 August Reply

      Thanks, Julie! I look forward to seeing your rendition!

  • missmarys
    Posted at 09:56h, 01 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:51h, 01 August Reply

      Oh wow! Good luck with the Burda – it sounds like you’ve done your homework so I’m sure it will go fine. Many thanks for the comment!

  • Mary Deeter
    Posted at 09:57h, 01 August Reply

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

  • Jane
    Posted at 10:08h, 01 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:04h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Jane! As I said to Amanda I was unsure of my fabric choice and thought it would either be cute or hideous. I’m delighted it worked out 🙂

  • Jane
    Posted at 10:22h, 01 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:05h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Jane for the inspiration! I believe this pattern will adapt to many fabrics- good luck with yours!

  • ewellons
    Posted at 10:45h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:06h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Cissie! I haven’t sewn many ruffles lately but I sure have been wearing a lot of them. My closet is saturated with ruffles……. but I keep making more 😉

  • Pam
    Posted at 10:47h, 01 August Reply

    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?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:09h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Pam! I did not make the ruffle any wider – it was the perfect width! I hope you’ll give the pattern a try 🙂

  • lisa g
    Posted at 11:04h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:12h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Lisa! I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but thankfully I like it too 🙂

  • Kathryn Louisignau
    Posted at 11:26h, 01 August Reply

    awesome job, love the dress!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 11:28h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:14h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, so much Jennifer! Madras is such a fun summer fabric – hope you give one a try and good luck!

  • carolinascallin
    Posted at 11:28h, 01 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:15h, 01 August Reply

      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?

      • carolinascallin
        Posted at 15:15h, 04 August Reply

        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?

  • black label
    Posted at 11:33h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:16h, 01 August Reply

      Ah…… that’s so sweet. Many thanks for the nice comment 🙂

  • Marguerite
    Posted at 11:38h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:17h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you so much Marguerite! I think this pattern was intended as a cocktail attire pattern and that’s what I plan to do next. 🙂

  • Stitchgirl78
    Posted at 11:53h, 01 August Reply

    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 : )

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:18h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Stitchgirl! Good luck with your rendition and many thanks for the nice comment.

  • Pauline (pdiddly)
    Posted at 12:22h, 01 August Reply

    pretty dress

  • Beth (SunnyGal Studio)
    Posted at 12:24h, 01 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:19h, 01 August Reply

      You’ll be gettin’ your own preppy on with a pair of shorts 😉 Many thanks for the comment!

  • Angie
    Posted at 12:42h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:20h, 01 August Reply

      Oh great! I think ruflles and madras go together quite well! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • chesneykat
    Posted at 13:03h, 01 August Reply

    Wow. You look great in that dress!!

  • Karen
    Posted at 14:39h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:32h, 01 August Reply

      Thanks, Karen! It’s about time to move Madras up a level if you ask me 😉

  • Sarah
    Posted at 15:48h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:53h, 01 August Reply

      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. 🙂

  • laurahoj
    Posted at 16:12h, 01 August Reply

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

  • Almeda
    Posted at 16:57h, 01 August Reply

    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!!! 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:54h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you so much, Almeda! You’re going to love this pattern!

  • Sharon
    Posted at 19:44h, 01 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 20:55h, 01 August Reply

      Many thanks, Sharon! I think the beauty of sewing is the ability to try out different looks. My sewn wardrobe is so different from my old RTW 🙂

  • Gayle West-Grimley
    Posted at 21:24h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 21:42h, 01 August Reply

      Thank you, Gayle! I look forward to making it again as a cocktail dress 🙂

  • danvillegirl
    Posted at 21:56h, 01 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:55h, 02 August Reply

      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!

  • Jean
    Posted at 22:03h, 01 August Reply

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

    • jstarr4250
      Posted at 22:13h, 01 August Reply

      Sent from my iPad

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:58h, 02 August Reply

      Thank you, Jean! Hope you’ll give the pattern a try – very fun 🙂

  • Linda B.
    Posted at 00:47h, 02 August Reply

    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!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:59h, 02 August Reply

      Many thanks, Linda! I too feel like I can’t possibly get all of the sewing done in my mind. If I only had another 6 hours in the day 😉

  • Renata
    Posted at 01:01h, 02 August Reply

    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?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:03h, 02 August Reply

      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!

  • Velosewer
    Posted at 03:41h, 02 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:04h, 02 August Reply

      Thank you, Maria…… and you’re one of the most gifted sewists on the internet 😉

  • sewruth
    Posted at 03:50h, 02 August Reply

    Super dress! Looks cool to wear too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:05h, 02 August Reply

      Thank you, Ruth! Indeed this dress is very cool – much needed around here these days.

  • Sandra (Sewist-Stitch)
    Posted at 05:44h, 02 August Reply

    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 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:06h, 02 August Reply

      Thank you, Sandra! I believe this pattern will look great in many fabrics. Good luck!!

  • Susan Morton
    Posted at 07:52h, 02 August Reply

    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?

  • goodbyevalentino
    Posted at 08:24h, 02 August Reply

    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. 🙂

  • Catty
    Posted at 11:16h, 02 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:46h, 03 August Reply

      Many thanks for your nice comment, Catty! I find it inspiring to be inspiring 🙂 ….. and you’re going to love this pattern!

  • prttynpnk
    Posted at 13:38h, 02 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:49h, 03 August Reply

      Thank you! When I noticed seersucker as a recommended fabric, I thought why not madras! My fingers stayed crossed until the dress was finished 😉

  • Mary Lynn
    Posted at 22:06h, 02 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:53h, 03 August Reply

      Thank you so much, Mary Lynn! Three years ago I bought a high waisted dress and have been a fan ever since. ……. and thank goodness I didn’t have to match plaids 😉

  • Denny
    Posted at 03:47h, 03 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:03h, 03 August Reply

      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! 🙂 🙂

  • Joy
    Posted at 18:22h, 03 August Reply

    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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:31h, 05 August Reply

      Thank you, Joy! I did use the same fabric for the body of the dress. Are you asking me about facings for the madras dress? If so, the upper bodice is lined. 🙂

  • Nancy Schaub
    Posted at 21:43h, 03 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:38h, 05 August Reply

      Hi Nancy! Funny how fabric can be so nostalgic, huh? Many thanks for your nice comment!

  • Cindy
    Posted at 22:42h, 03 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:42h, 05 August Reply

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

      • Cindy
        Posted at 11:19h, 05 August Reply

        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

  • BrendaR
    Posted at 04:21h, 04 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:44h, 05 August Reply

      Thank you, Brenda and best of luck with your new sewing journey!

  • Keys Maddox
    Posted at 16:23h, 04 August Reply

    Sure am enjoying these blog posts. Thanks. Keysie

    Sent from my iPad

  • AllisonC
    Posted at 23:40h, 06 August Reply

    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.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:45h, 08 August Reply

      Thank you, Allison! I look forward to trying a more dressed up version too!

  • poppykettle
    Posted at 22:30h, 12 August Reply

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

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:50h, 13 August Reply

      Thank you, Poppykettle! It’s turned out to be a great go-to summer dress 🙂

  • Emily O'Brien
    Posted at 18:40h, 16 August Reply

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

  • Butterick 5917 – The Un-Preppy Version | Goodbye Valentino
    Posted at 18:39h, 28 August Reply

    […] 5917 so much I had my second version planned before finishing the madras patchwork version (blogged here), and I’m tempted to make it […]

  • Kyle
    Posted at 23:48h, 29 August Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:46h, 30 August Reply

      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!

  • heidi
    Posted at 20:16h, 04 October Reply

    Wow that looks nice. great job.

  • Susan
    Posted at 13:19h, 18 January Reply

    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!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 10:55h, 20 January Reply

      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. 🙂

  • Upcoming Projects | Denver Sewing Collective
    Posted at 19:00h, 18 March Reply

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  • Butterick 5917– a Wearable Muslin | Denver Sewing Collective
    Posted at 23:02h, 01 April Reply

    […] I would never have picked this pattern based on the photo in Butterick’s Look Book.  Then I saw Sarah’s interpretation on her fabulous blog – Goodbye Valentino.  Wow!  Amazing.  I loved everything about it.  The […]

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