A Serendipitous End

Floral vintage style dressThis twelve month sewing spree of mine has finally come to an end.  I am in no way done with sewing, just done with my Dress-a-Month challenge I gave myself last July.  My last dress for this sewing project was something that sort of perfectly fell into my lap.  Everything from the pattern to the fabric and even the construction just sort of presented itself in a nice little way and made for a wonderful ending to a great year of making dresses.

Sew Serendipity Monique dress

Several months back, my aunt found a newspaper article – one of those question and answer types – with a recommendation for a simple, vintage style sewing pattern, and she thought of me.  She even cut the article out and gave it to me just in case I might be interested.  I was.  I right away looked for the site, but didn’t end up ordering anything until last week.

I have wanted to make a dress from an independent pattern designer for as long as I have been admiring sewing blogs, about a year, but hadn’t yet decided on which one to try.  Thanks to the article from my aunt, I thought I’d make my first leap into the independent pattern world with the Monique Dress from Serendipity Studio. I ordered the pattern from the site on a Monday, and had it in my mailbox three days later.  Oh, how I love sites that are reasonably priced with fast shipping!

retro gathered skirt dress

I had plenty of fabric on hand for the dress and while I always go back and forth as to which pattern to make next, there was no hesitation on my part this time, it had to be this one.  I made one quick run through the material section at Walmart a few days ago, and there right as I walked down the aisle, was the perfect contrasting material for my last dress of this challenge.  It went so well with what I originally had planned, and I kind of liked it a little bit more, so it then became the predominate fabric and the stuff I had originally intended, made for a wonderful contrast.  Everything for this dress was just falling into place with not much thought at all.

I have nothing but good things to say about this project.  The pattern was just as I wanted, a simple vintage style dress with plenty of ways to make it your own.  The construction was easy and everything came together pretty quickly.  I did have a little trouble with the facing length and the relation to the bodice – armhole and neck – but I don’t know if that was an oversight with the pattern or just human error on my part.  I am paying attention to this next time to know for sure.  Now the zipper, it was the best I’ve done yet, and I got it on the first try!

retro style dressMy body type fit the intended average for this particular pattern very well and there were no adjustments needed, which is always a good thing!  Let’s see, surely there has to be something I could have to say other than everything is awesome…

Oh, yeah, and I wouldn’t really say this to be anything negative, but the instructions for putting the dress together are very different than what I would normally do.  They  have you construct the dress top to bottom before connecting the sides or the shoulder seams, and even the zipper installation happens before the front to back is attached.  This not being my normal way of doing things, made me ignore the order and do it how I always do, having the zipper be the last thing and the shoulder and side seams being next after the darts.  While I was making the dress I thought nothing of my mixing up the intended order, but now that I am writing about it, I might want to try it the way described next time.  It could be that putting the zipper in first and then fitting the side seams might just be the answer to all my fitting woes as far as zippers go.  Because yes, after a year of making dresses, I know that I most definitely don’t know more than the pattern people do, unless the pattern people mess up, like that one time.  I found these instructions, however to be very informative and all of the illustrations were very helpful, and my zipper was perfectly installed – I just had to say that again.  🙂

What I would do differently:  The next dress I make from this pattern will have double folded facings.  I serged all of the edges but I think I could get a cleaner look.  These facings are narrow enough to tuck up under themselves, thus leaving a nicer look for me – especially at the armholes.  One other thing that doesn’t bother me at all, but might be adjusted just because, would be to make the bodice a little bit longer.  I love the high-waisted, empire style dress look, but I’d like to try this with the skirt hitting right at the waist line as well.

That is all I have to say about this dress.  I can’t wait to make more, and it is easy enough that I should have another one in no time – I’m thinking a red pineapple dress would be perfect.  As far as this dress a month challenge goes, it is now complete.  I truly enjoyed the time spent sewing and learning about dressmaking, plus expanding on my sewing skills.  I still have plenty more to learn, and I am in no way putting up my pattern box or my sewing machines.  You can all definitely expect to read more from me about any of my future sewing projects.  Hopefully a year of these types of posts hasn’t worn any of you out.  If so, just remember I don’t only blog about sewing…

vintage style dress

Dress – The Monique Dress || Shoes – Old Navy || Headband – DIY

Thanks to all who offered their kind words, suggestions, and ideas over the last year.  I found them very helpful and encouraging so please keep them coming!

Find all the other dresses that I made for the year here.

Linking up with: The Modest Mom blog, Do Tell Tuesday, & Tuesday’s With a Twist

16 Replies to “A Serendipitous End”

  1. Erika I’m not surprised at all that you over excelled with your dress a month challenge they are all lovely dresses and as always fit you perfectly. You are my inspiration to get back to sewing clothes. Which I haven’t done since I moved here. I’m happy to see your success with it here and one day I’ll start back at it again.


    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! It is an inspiration in itself to know that I have inspired you. That dress challenge was one of the best things I could have done for my sewing self. It really pushed me to get to doing something that I have enjoyed.


  2. I love yellow and gray together. This fabric combo is awesome! I’ve been participating in “Sew our Stash” where I am challenged to sew one wearable each month. ‘Not sure I am ready to tackle a dress a month (GULP) but am finding my skills and confidence growing with each completed project! Your dress a month challenge is definitely inspiring! Congratulations on a challenge well done! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures


  3. What a gorgeous dress! And, a dress a month? What a challenge! You are an amazing seamstress. I bet you have some great dresses now! Thanks for sharing. I love the yellow and black and the contrasting material really emphasizes your tiny waist!


    1. Thank you so much! Yes, one dress a month, and I even ended up with two a couple of the months. 🙂 It was a lot of fun and I’m not ready to be done with making dresses, so I’m still gonna try and get through some of those unused patterns as the rest of this year continues.


  4. I think that’s a perfect finale to your challenge! I love the fabric you chose and the dress obviously turned out to fit very well!


    1. I am kind of glad I didn’t find this pattern sooner in the challenge because everyone would have probably gotten tired of seeing different versions of the same dress, and I really wouldn’t have gotten very far as far as tying different patterns out. 😉


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