Enchantment Under the Sea Dress

The final day of the Stitch Savvy blog tour!  I’m so pleased to have my dear friend Marisa of Creative Thursday writing about the book today--she and I met through Lizzy House at Quilt Market years ago, and I think she is just smart, and funny, and open and kind.  I always enjoy spending time hanging out with her on the rare occasions when we’re in the same city, so reading what she has to say about my book is extra sweet!

And as the last sample to share that didn’t make it into the pages of the book, I’ve got TWO versions of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dress!

retro strapless dress stitch savvy

I make no secret of the fact that I love Back to the Future.  And in the scene where Marty takes his mother to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, she’s wearing this divine 50s full-skirted, fitted-bodice dress with a little accent flap in a contrasting fabric on the upper edge of the bodice:


In my memory, the upper edge didn’t have that little snip-and-dip to it, and so the design of the dress from the book reflects that.  My goal wasn’t to re-create the costume exactly but rather to create a dress that’s modern and wearable and that channels the feel and the shape of the 50s–but that’s also completely SEW-able for someone of nearly any skill level.  I feel as though I’ve done that, and this is now one of my very favorite styles from the book.

enchantment under the sea dress stitch savvy

This version is the one I made for myself this past Easter (and a coordinating one with straps, from the book, for my oldest child), and believe it or not, it’s made out of quilting cotton.  I know!  Nothing super fancy or hard to find at all, just a lovely print in a familiar cotton.  The bodice is lined with the same print, and there is interfacing throughout.  No fancy boning or complicated seaming, just a clean, easy sundress that feels great to wear.  The shaping is from darts at the front and back waist, and at the side bust.  There’s an invisible zipper at center back, and a nice, simple hem.

back to the future dress bodice stitch savvy

For this version, I wanted to exploit the stripes in this print, so rather than cutting the bodice on the fold at center front, I cut it in two pieces, on the bias, and created a chevron with the stripes where they meet at center front, instead.  I loooooove the effect, and it has been a super popular display piece at the shop!

There is one alternate version featured in the book–the original dress has straps, of course, and one strapless version is shown on the boo’s pages.  When the photos were taken, though, the stylist neglected to fold down the flap at the upper bodice edge!  Eeek!  I don’t think it’s the end of the world, and I certainly love every single photo in the book, but the dress is designed so that you can leave the flap UP for more coverage or when you make it with straps, as a sundress, and worn DOWN for a sassier strapless dress look.  This one is in an amazing silk taffeta from Italy, and I bought it simply because I wanted to have this dress in something so pretty, to wear to some summer party to which I have yet to be invited but I just know I will because this dress should NOT go to waste:

silk taffeta retro strapless dress stitch savvy

I love the straight seam at the waistline, and the fullness of the skirt that isn’t too poofy and overwhelm me with frilliness.  I love the fitted simplicity of the bodice, and how simple this entire style is to sew.  It’s really fun to make, and makes me feel so pretty to wear!

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 4.51.57 PM

Be sure to take some time to explore Marisa’s blog while you’re there reading her Stitch Savvy post today!  She has some amazing paintings that I love, and her own book about her creative journey and how you can tap into your own–a book that is so warm and well written that I can’t imagine you can make it another day without owning it.  Marisa’s fabric, too?  Yes, thank you!

Tomorrow here on the blog: I’m giving away two of the samples featured in Stitch Savvy!  That’s right: two of the projects shown in the book could belong to YOU.  See you then!

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  • Kelly Rodgers
    January 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Both your dresses are beautiful Deborah

  • Simple Simon and Co
    January 23, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Wow, what a great Spring dress…love the fabrics you chose.

  • Shalini
    January 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    So pretty, Would it look good in a silk ?

  • Rachel at Stitched in Color
    January 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Gosh, this version with the chevron at the front is to DIE for! And the flap is totally awesome. Makes me want to reconsider sewing this, actually…

    • Deborah
      January 28, 2013 at 11:24 am

      I know! Sometimes the fabric and the pattern just come together… I’ll do a tutorial on the blog once the weather warms up for how to adjust the pattern to use a striped fabric and make that chevron effect!

  • Silk Charmeuse and a French Pattern | Whipstitch
    April 10, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    […] on the projects for Stitch Savvy.  I think I had this idea that I would make a version of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dress from this fabric, which is clearly too drapey and slinky for the structure of that dress, which I […]