The 30 Day Dress

06 May The 30 Day Dress

……… also known as the Baltimore dress is completed.

IMG_5492I had the pleasure of taking it apart again only to discover the opportunities for alterations were limited…… but maybe my 30 day investment needed little else than minor adjustments.

IMG_5494 After separating the skirt from the bodice and removing the top ruffle, I removed all of the gathering threads and started over. Most of the gathers in the skirt were replaced with darts giving me a smoother fit around the waist.

I cut 14 inches of width off of the ruffle but sadly realized my new vision for the dress looked disproportionate. The decrease in gathers from ruffle to ruffle needed to be gradual rather than drastic leading me to add 6 inches back to the top ruffle. This meant the delicate ruffled fabric now featured an additional seam…… somewhere.

Can you see it?


I hope not!IMG_5488Several readers suggested the dress needed a belt and I found one –  since then I was introduced to  Pat’s Custom Buttons and Belts a California a company specializing in self fabric belts. 

(209) 369-5410
537 York Street
P.O. Box 335
Lodi, CA 95241

( there is no website link) .

 In the end removing 8 inches of width from the top ruffle and reducing the bulk in the skirt made a huge difference in the dress.

First Try:IMG_5221Second Try– shortening the layer


Third Try– reducing bulk in the waist and removing excess from the top layer


 Not only can I live with the 3rd and final version but at last, I can tell it’s going to be fun to wear which should erase the memories of the stress and angst I experienced over the past 30 days!

Many thanks to all for seeing me through this one 🙂

  • Carolyn Boland
    Posted at 21:54h, 06 May Reply

    Your alterations worked!

    Sent from my iPhone


  • BiKe
    Posted at 21:58h, 06 May Reply

    I love the print and it looks gorgeous on you.

  • maryfunt
    Posted at 22:01h, 06 May Reply

    You got it right. The final version looks fabulous. All of us have been there with pricey fabric, hours of labor and not quite satisfied with the results. Being willing to invest a few more hours paid off with a gorgeous dress. Belt adds just the right finish. Thanks again for sharing the photo from last weekend.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:57h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Mary! I guess everyone has been there, but it’s a terrible place to be and hard NOT to feel like a failure 😉 Taking a short break from the dress might have been just the remedy I needed 🙂

  • DebB
    Posted at 22:11h, 06 May Reply

    You did it! Congratulations on your patience and a fabulous end result. Love the belt and the shoes too! That dress looks amazing on you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 16:58h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Deb! I didn’t know if I would ever achieve satisfaction with the dress but it happened…… anything to justify the new Kate Spades 🙂 🙂

  • Gail Yellen
    Posted at 22:11h, 06 May Reply

    It was worth every minute of angst. The final version is beautiful and the belt is just the right touch. Congratulations on your perseverance!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:00h, 07 May Reply

      Gail……. thank you for your comment. I was in no man’s land for a while , and maybe one day I’ll say it was worth the angst 😉 Right now I’m enoying the relief that comes with completing a difficult project!

  • Cindy C.
    Posted at 22:13h, 06 May Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:02h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks, Cindy! I’m soooooooooo happy to have it done 🙂

  • The Renegade Seamstress
    Posted at 22:13h, 06 May Reply

    I’m so glad you kept revising because the final version looks great on you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:03h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Beth! I too am glad but it was touchy for a while 😉

  • Jackie
    Posted at 22:20h, 06 May Reply

    Just beautiful! Enjoy wearing your gorgeous outfit. It looks wonderful on you.

  • pdxknitter
    Posted at 22:22h, 06 May Reply

    Wow! Your changes really made a big difference. And I wouldn’t have thought it, but the belt really adds to the look. Great job!

  • Karen Orsua
    Posted at 22:38h, 06 May Reply

    I love that you stuck with it and got it absolutely right. Thank you for sharing your trials as well as your triumphs. It is very inspirational.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:08h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks for your nice comment, Karen! Anyone who sews knows it’s not always a bed of roses. Though I prefer to share the ups over the downs, I needed to share the whole story on this one 😉

  • Jan
    Posted at 22:41h, 06 May Reply

    It’s really beautiful!!

  • Melody
    Posted at 22:46h, 06 May Reply

    It is beautiful and you look lovely in the dress. Your perseverance has been rewarded.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:09h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you so much, Melody! I’m pleased and relieved – truly glad I stuck it out 🙂

  • Annette
    Posted at 22:47h, 06 May Reply

    Third time is definitely the charm. All the time and energy has certainly paid off. Soon, you will forget how much frustration was involved.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:09h, 07 May Reply

      … childbirth I suppose 😉 Many thanks for your comment, Annette!

  • Lauren
    Posted at 22:56h, 06 May Reply

    Love the fabric. So many “woman hours” to get it the way you like it. Admire your tenacity.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:11h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Lauren 🙂 Too many woman hours , but who’s counting.

  • I made it!!
    Posted at 23:01h, 06 May Reply

    It looks perfect on you!

  • Vanessa
    Posted at 23:02h, 06 May Reply

    The end result is simply beautiful!

  • Urbanite
    Posted at 23:11h, 06 May Reply

    You have sweat bullets over thing one, but it was certainly worth it. You will be shagging to beach music in the most gorgeous, swishy confection ever! I am amazed how much width you removed, yet still have plenty of fabric to hit the right floaty notes. It looks fab on you. Cheers! Mary.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:13h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Mary! It’s going to take a heap of good times to forget about the process on this one!

  • Deborah R Penner
    Posted at 23:33h, 06 May Reply

    Love the custom belt.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:14h, 07 May Reply

      Ahh…… I need to change my post. This is a purchased belt. I discovered the custom belt company after I bought the belt I boughtt. 😉

  • nancy hunt
    Posted at 23:44h, 06 May Reply

    I am amazed at how you can transform a garment to an absolutely perfect fit. I just joined your blog and you have already taught me so much! Thank you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:37h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you, Nancy for your comment and for following along! Learning to fit myself is what I most enjoy about sewing. This project posed new challenges but thankfully it all worked out 🙂

  • ME
    Posted at 23:57h, 06 May Reply

    Wow you did an amazing job !! You are such an inspiration !

  • Carolina'sCallin'
    Posted at 00:03h, 07 May Reply

    The third time was definitely the charm! Terrific dress on you – enjoy wearing this lovely creation 🙂

  • Frances Patricia Danylishin
    Posted at 00:40h, 07 May Reply

    Your dress is perfection. I admire you for not giving up. The fabric is so gorgeous, it whispers femininity and is alluring at the same time. The shoes are to die for. (next to fabric, shoes run a close second for obsessions) Are you considering having a custom belt made? I think that would scream couture. I read an article about this woman in Cal. who makes the belts and they really look amazing. I wish I could recall where I read it as I would forward that info to you, but if it does come to me I will do just that. Would you consider wearing a longer pair of earrings, a bit chunky and sparkly, soft coloured stones like the dress? Put your hair in a loose updo and you would take the look from afternoon garden party to an Evening in Paris. Isn’t making clothes and dressing up fun! I live in Canada (coats and boots 2/3rds of the year) but I live through you southern gals as I love heirloom sewing and pretty children’s clothes and would love to be able to wear more pretty light dresses myself. I’m always thinking layers! Anyways, good for you on your success with the dress. I received my Vogue magazine today, and enjoyed the article that featured your journey.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 19:59h, 07 May Reply

      Hi Frances! Thank you for your thoughtful comment! Drop earring and an updo sound positively glamourous! Thanks for the great suggestions 🙂

  • Joan
    Posted at 01:21h, 07 May Reply

    Your final version is truly lovely. The amount of fullness of the top layer is just right and really flattering, working wonderfully with the lower layers. Lots of revisions, but clearly the dress is just right for you now. Wonderfully done (kudos for persevering and for your own judgement!). The fabric and layout of the pattern is exceptionally pretty (and I’m NOT a ruffles/frou-frou girl!).

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:07h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks for such a thoughtful comment, Joan 🙂 One of the fun parts about making this dress was placing the fabric. I doubt I would have persevered had I not had so much invested in the dress, but thank goodness I did.

  • Dilliander
    Posted at 01:33h, 07 May Reply

    Yes, the 3rd version is just right and you have the most gorgeous fun delightful special dress to wear to the wedding and hopefully many more occasions too.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:08h, 07 May Reply

      Hi Dilliander! Thank you so much! i’ll probably wear this dress to an engagement party.. and that means I still must make the mother of the bride dress……. Oh dear 🙂

  • sewmanju
    Posted at 02:00h, 07 May Reply

    Well done for persisting and making this work. It looks fabulous on you.

  • dottiedoodle
    Posted at 02:13h, 07 May Reply

    It looks lovely! Very well done for not giving up.

  • Danielle
    Posted at 02:34h, 07 May Reply

    A very pretty result indeed Sarah. Looks just lovely and soft which matches the fabric beautifully.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:09h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you , Danielle. It all came together nicely but it was a close call 😉

  • Beata
    Posted at 03:17h, 07 May Reply

    Yes! The dress looks much better! The proportions are correct now and you look great in it! I love the fabric.

  • themateriallady
    Posted at 04:55h, 07 May Reply

    It looks lovely – the alterations were well worth the time. And yes, the belt really does add that certain ‘something’. Enjoy wearing your beautiful dress 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:10h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m so appreciate of the belt suggestion 😉

  • Vicki
    Posted at 05:39h, 07 May Reply


  • Bunny
    Posted at 06:20h, 07 May Reply

    Lovely! Your persistence is admirable. We need to sew all fabrics like they are expensive!

  • Merry Ronan
    Posted at 06:24h, 07 May Reply

    Wow gorgeous!

  • Sandra (Sewist-Stitch)
    Posted at 06:34h, 07 May Reply

    That was all well worth it Sarah. After all those changes the dress looks beautifully perfect. It is great to compare from first try through each iteration to the finished product.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:13h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks, Sandra! The dress did evolve along the way, didn’t it?

  • Jean
    Posted at 06:38h, 07 May Reply

    You have created another beautiful dress. So glad you persevered with this one as the end result is just gorgeous and the addition of the belt is perfect. You continue to inspire us.

  • Jacqui
    Posted at 06:52h, 07 May Reply

    Persistence has paid off to produce a very flattering special dress. Thank you for sharing the journey through your blog. It is very inspiring to see the process you worked through.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:15h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks, Jacqui! I’m glad the journey had a happy ending 🙂

  • Becky Bagwell
    Posted at 07:08h, 07 May Reply

    Great job Sarah!

  • Laura Casey
    Posted at 07:26h, 07 May Reply

    Boy are you tenacious! But it was well worth it….it turned out to be a stunner, and flirty….which I think fits your personality….you may not ever make it again….but it is NOW perfect and flattering on you….KUDOS to you! Needless to say…lavender shoes and belt are also well thought out.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:16h, 07 May Reply

      LOL! I”ll never make it again is correct, but yes I’m glad I did it 🙂 Anything for a new pair of Kate Spades 🙂

  • Tina Spear
    Posted at 08:02h, 07 May Reply

    Great job figuring out the solution! It looks beautiful! Glad you were able to save the project. So will you be making the Marfy for your MOB dress in the longer version, or have you had “enough” of the pattern? LOL

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:17h, 07 May Reply

      Oh yes, I’ve had enough! I don’t know what the MOB will be but I better get started 🙂 Many thanks, Tina!

  • Dara Harper
    Posted at 08:11h, 07 May Reply

    Your posts are sooo encouraging !!! they speak NEVER GIVE UP!!! I needed this today. Thank you so much. Happy sewing! Dara

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:18h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks for your nice comment, Dara! I try to never give up and this time it paid to stay the course. 🙂

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 08:19h, 07 May Reply

    I have so much admiration for your seeing this through until it was just right. As the comment above me says so well, it’s a wonderful lesson that resonates with me way beyond sewing. Hopefully the memory of the difficult parts will fade and leave you remembering only your week in Baltimore and the anticipation of happy occasions you’ll wear it.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:23h, 07 May Reply

      Hi Julie! I’m afraid I would have been plagued with immense guilt, had l not stayed the course on this one. Fortunately, the happy ending proved it to be the right decision. Many thanks for your comment 🙂

  • cathynd95
    Posted at 08:34h, 07 May Reply

    Good job with the alternations! I like the final result.

  • Debbie Iles
    Posted at 08:37h, 07 May Reply

    Well done! It looks beautiful on you! That fabric is so pretty.

  • Dawn Redmond
    Posted at 08:40h, 07 May Reply

    I had my doubts when I saw the first version but now I love,love,love it! Glad you stuck with it because this is perfection. Congratulations on a job well done.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:24h, 07 May Reply

      You and me both, Dawn! Many thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Eileen
    Posted at 09:28h, 07 May Reply

    Many thanks to you, Sarah, for taking us on this journey. You have shown such tenacity…you must be a Capricorn! You wear your new creation with great style….now go make some wonderful memories while wearing it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:25h, 07 May Reply

      ….. a Scorpio 😉 but I think any sign would have stuck this one out 🙂 Many thanks, Eileen for the comment!

  • Liss
    Posted at 09:39h, 07 May Reply

    Was so interesting to see the journey of this piece. The final version looks lovely on you (loving the lipstick too!)

  • gingermakes
    Posted at 09:50h, 07 May Reply

    Oh, this looks so great! Love the belt, too- it’s so cute! The fit is really, really nice, and the proportion of the layers is really perfect!

  • Barbara Atkins
    Posted at 09:53h, 07 May Reply

    Lovely, Sarah. Once you spend a week with Susan nothing but as near to perfect is possible is it?
    I find it difficult running up “quick” things for my granddaughter. I love the prettiness of the dress and the femininity of the dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:28h, 07 May Reply

      Thank you so much for the comment, Barbara! Susan is an amazing teacher for sure 🙂

  • oonaballoona
    Posted at 09:58h, 07 May Reply

    winner winner chicken dinner. i am standing on my feet applauding your triumph!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 22:31h, 07 May Reply

      Many thanks, Oona! I can’t look at it anymore, but hopefully I start cackling too once I’m ready to wear it 😉

  • Fifty Dresses
    Posted at 10:04h, 07 May Reply

    Doesn’t Pat make the most beautiful belts – and buttons, too? Your dress is lovely – perfect for a garden party or some other swishy affair!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:53h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I need to reword my post – I discovered Pat’s business after buying the belt I’m wearing :), but I look forward to having one made that matches the dress!

  • Marta
    Posted at 12:03h, 07 May Reply

    It looks fantastic now! And, the shoes are gorgeous!!! Great job.

  • Frances
    Posted at 12:04h, 07 May Reply

    I have watched this with great interest, and although I liked the first incarnation, I must admit that this last version is lovely. Well worth the work! Easy for me to say, I didn’t do the work. And in the future you will know much more in terms of your own tastes when you next look at a pattern with a ruffled or layered skirt. Well done!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:54h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you, Frances! The dress has certainly been a lesson in ruffles 😉

  • Anna Katherine
    Posted at 12:34h, 07 May Reply

    Oooh it’s beautiful! I love the changes. Those pleats give it great line. You’ve really turned this dress into something even more special.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:55h, 08 May Reply

      Many thanks for your comment, Anna Katherine! The changes were worth the additional time for sure 🙂

  • sarah ioannides
    Posted at 12:45h, 07 May Reply

    Very lovely! Congratulations for a winning dress!

  • Almeda
    Posted at 12:50h, 07 May Reply

    “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”! and you found it. Great lesson in persistence for all us readers. You are ready to party. 🙂

  • A Sunny Day in LA
    Posted at 13:57h, 07 May Reply

    They say that perseverence is the secret of all triumphs, so glad that you continued on, as you ended up with a beautiful dress!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:00h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you Beth! Just recently I heard that Cezanne didn’t consider himself to be a great artist – his philosophy was a person with 10% talent and 90% hard work had a 90% chance to be successful, while a person with 90% talent and 10% hard work had a 10% chance to be successful. Come to think of it, this might have been what motivated me to get back to work on the dress 🙂

  • Tia Dia
    Posted at 15:20h, 07 May Reply

    Super job! I cannot see the alterations seam at all, and it is a very flattering dress. The design really just justice to that gorgeous fabric. And thanks for the self-belt info!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:02h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you, Tia Dia! I was mortified that I had ruined the dress, but thankfully the seam line truly disappeared into the ruffle 🙂

    Posted at 16:08h, 07 May Reply

    Everything about the finished dress is so gorgeous, Sarah. I’m really glad you stuck it out until the fit and proportions were perfect; it looks like it was definitely worth it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:04h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you, Lauren! I’m glad I stuck it out too – the guilt of leaving it unfinished would have plagued me forever. I’m just so thrilled it all came together 😉

  • lisa g
    Posted at 19:38h, 07 May Reply

    definitely a Goldilocks moment here… the third is JUST RIGHT! so beautiful, and the proportions look exactly right. huge props for sticking with it, hopefully time will erase the frustrating memories!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:05h, 08 May Reply

      LOL! Many thanks, Lisa – I think I’ll enjoy the dress, but don’t know if I’ll ever forget the process 😉

  • Rita Holladay
    Posted at 20:18h, 07 May Reply

    Sweetheart, you hit this one out of the park. By the way, you did just what I suggested in response to your last blog. The darts were the only answer. I have a silk organza dress hanging in the closed which called for the same alteration. I’m proud of you for staying with it. I knew from your first posts in Baltimore that you were uncomfortable with this dress. From another Southern Girl who admires your tenacity. I like it with the belt AND without the belt; at night I’m thinking without.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:08h, 08 May Reply

      Thank you, dear Rita! The darts must have removed 4 inches from my waistline and indeed, it was the solution! I plan to have a belt made of the chiffon with a decorative buckle which should be fine for the evening, but I agree that the leather belt gives it more of a daytime look 🙂

  • Art Attack
    Posted at 22:32h, 07 May Reply

    Sarah, the third try is definitely the charm. Now this is a gorgeous creation and it seems, and sounds, like it is one that you are proud of and feel as beautiful in as you look. The fabric is the quality we all dream of owning and sewing with and you’ve done it. Maryland, South Carolina…it doesn’t matter…it is just plain beautiful. And luscious. Kudos to you for sticking with it until the end. 😀

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:10h, 08 May Reply

      Here’s to perseverance! You’ve been there yourself through your recent couture garments 😉 It’s true, I do love the dress now and look forward to wearing it soon. Many thanks for your comment, Dorcas!

  • Sharon
    Posted at 01:19h, 08 May Reply

    You got it to work, fantastic as it looks amazing on you now and you will have so much fun wearing it now the weather is warming up for you.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:11h, 08 May Reply

      Many thanks, Sharon! It is finally warm in the sunny South and I look forward to wearing the dress 🙂

  • Lori
    Posted at 10:29h, 08 May Reply

    I am so impressed with your hard work. The third time does look great, nice job.

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 13:38h, 08 May Reply

    It looks terrific! I’m so glad you persevered! Totally worth the effort. The belt works just as so many thought.

  • Linda (phila burbs)
    Posted at 14:18h, 08 May Reply

    Wow. That is gorgeous! And, I love the belt with it too. It’s wonderful how u were able to alter it. I am in awe.

  • Ally - Design Rewind Fashions on Etsy
    Posted at 16:54h, 08 May Reply

    Your dress looks absolutely lovely on you. Maybe it is like childbirth….the pain is always forgotten when you see the beautiful creation in front of you (well, forgotten in a few months 🙂 ) I think the belt is a smart accessory!

  • Rose Britton
    Posted at 17:30h, 08 May Reply

    You’ll knock the socks of all of Spartanburg County! I appreciate your notes and pictures of the dress-in-progress. Helps me understand the thought process — maybe I can do better on my next project.

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 09:00h, 10 May Reply

    What a stunning final product, Sarah! Congratulations on enduring the long process of construction and alterations; I think all your readers agree that it was well worth the effort. Enjoy your dress and wear it with pride! 🙂

  • Kiki
    Posted at 11:05h, 10 May Reply

    I liked the original version and the final one too. Thanks for the information about the belt. I like that addition.

  • Lisa C in Dallas
    Posted at 09:28h, 12 May Reply

    The dress is truly lovely. I hope you wear it with relief, joy and pride because you look stunning in the dress. The belt is a nice touch that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Enjoy!

  • sbzurenda
    Posted at 15:43h, 12 May Reply

    What a beautiful summer dress, Sarah! And I do love the belt you added.

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    Posted at 17:40h, 13 May Reply

    Bit of a cliffhanger there, but you nailed it! Great job.

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  • myrosesindecember
    Posted at 15:06h, 18 May Reply

    This is beautiful and it looks fabulous on you. The fabric is exquisite, just the kind of print I love. Is it a current fabric? (I can always plan for next summer, if I don’t get things done this year since I am having a knee replacement soon).

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:47h, 19 May Reply

      Thank you! Susan Khalje brought the fabric back from Paris so I have no idea if it is current or not. I sort of doubt it as I can’t imagine current Valentino fabric on the market ever 😉

  • black label
    Posted at 11:44h, 21 May Reply

    This is what i love about reading sewing blogs….the satisfaction of a challenging sew. You have made a lovely dress. I hope you get plenty of wear from it. x

  • poppykettle
    Posted at 06:03h, 23 May Reply

    Oh I’m SO glad that stunning fabric got to have a happily-ever-after as a dress!! I know exactly how devastating putting so much effort into something only to have it foil you at every turn. You look absolutely beautiful, and I still can’t get over how much I love the colours and the pattern of that silk. You look amazing!

  • Rosesred
    Posted at 08:47h, 30 May Reply

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous dress! Sticking with it really paid off. Thanks for documenting your process, now I have big plans for a similar summerdress.

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