Crochet Granny Square Dress for ME


crochet granny square dressI purchased this fabbo fabric in Australia – I am normally an upcycler of fabric and can’t recall buying any fabric in a shop, other than a charity shop, for at least 20 years.  I couldn’t resist this printed cotton fabric though – it was meant to be.  I was in Australia to teach crochet and was on a trip to the craft store to help my hostess choose yarn.  I only got 1.5 metres and had no idea what I would make.  It was too good for pyjamas and there was too much fabric for just a skirt – a dress?  If they can do it on the Great British Sewing Bee, then I can do it.  Do you like my self portrait? – you can just see the camera remote in my right hand!

Now, I’ve never made a dress, I made a skirt at school, and a couple of skirts when I worked in a posh tea room in Pasadena, California over 20 years ago and needed to look smart and English rose-like on a budget.  I am not a big fan of sewing machines, I prefer hand crafts, but even I am not about to hand sew a dress!  I find it difficult to buy dresses because they never fit – so I thought this would be a way to get a dress no one else would have and that would fit me – short body, big boobs!

My friend lent me this pattern which was her mother’s – it wasn’t my size but I thought I could use the shapes to give me an idea.  I bought some amazing papery material from our local scrap store for 25p/metre.  It is used to make disposable surgical gowns so I thought I could use it to make a prototype “paper” dress.

ntage simpicity dress pattern

I cut out the pieces using the Simplicity pattern I had, pinned it together and tried it on.  Too big.  I did some cutting and snipping and made a smaller version.  I used this version to make a paper pattern from wrapping paper (all I had).


I then used some more surgical gown paper to make a new version and sewed it up (including zip) tried it on and it fit.

surgical gown paper dressI made adjustments to my gown prototype and corresponding snip, nips and tucks to my wrapping paper pattern and then cut out the fabric.  I make all this sound easy – it wasn’t – well not for me anyway.  I could have just bought a pattern my size but where’s the challenge/satisfaction in that?  I would have still have had to customize the pattern a to fit me.

bust darts french darts


back of crochet dress

The front is one piece with two darts on each side – a bust dart and a French dart (into the side seam).  The back is two pieces with a zip in the centre back seam and a small dart on each shoulder.  I know I sound like I know what I’m doing but I just learned the technical lingo from a couple of vintage (charity shop) books on dressmaking I just knew would come in useful.  Now I have the pattern it should be easy to make more, well, zips are never easy (I hate them, but buttonholes are even worse). I hand sewed the hem – the most enjoyable part of the whole process.

hand sewn hem stitch

The whole process took me three days (and evenings) but I am so pleased with the result – I may have to make a couple more with different fabric.  I did use a reclaimed zip and upcycled pink linen fabric from an blouse for the facings.  The thread was also from charity shop.  I have a strip of fabric left over – very short skirt? Although, come to think of it, my ironing board does need a snazzy new new cover.  Watch this space.practice paper dress


3 responses »

    • sorry i dont know what it is called. I purchased it in Australia (Adelaide) in a big craft store called spotlight, someone else in Australia was able to find some after seeing mine though, happy hunting!

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