Friday, March 4, 2016

Princess Seam Pinwheel Dress


 Another dress completed! This is part of my Arizona mother/daughter project to make a bunch of dresses from patterns in my new book, all using fabrics from my new spring line. Synergy!

I've always liked the idea of using two different fabrics in a dress to get a separates look, but I don't think I've ever done it. For this design, I used the Princess Seam bodice from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book in black stretch sateen (and it's lined in the same fabric for a clean look). Then the skirt is the three-quarter circle skirt in this really cool embroidered Swiss Dot cotton.

This fabric is kind of bananas, in a fabulous way. It's a cotton dotted Swiss background with strips of chiffon appliqued into swirly pinwheel shapes on top. Here's a picture of how the skirt drapes.

I lined the skirt in bright white poly taffeta for opacity and body. This fabric also comes in black and aqua!

I accessorized with a chiffon hair scarf and a wide cinch belt to accentuate the waistline.

 I lightened this picture up a bunch so you can see the princess lines a bit!

The back has full coverage and a lapped zipper.

This is my favorite pose, the death grip on the wall so I don't topple over. No wonder people don't wear heels in Arizona--they have rocks everywhere!

A more casually styled look, with glasses and flats.

A big thanks to Terryl Sherman for the photos. We're taking a bunch more this afternoon--we have three more completed dresses to photograph! And then it's back to New York tomorrow, where it's still too cold to wear these.


  1. What gorgeous fabric - I shall go hunting for something similar in the UK. Goes beautifully with the black bodice

  2. That is fantastic! I really like it. Also, I have quite the fondness for princess seams!

  3. Pretty! The black bodice/white skirt combination reminds me of the dress that Grace Kelly wore in Rear Window.

    I love that you're sewing through your book, by the way; it's neat to see some different ideas on how to mix and match the pattern options. It's also interesting to see how fabric choice can completely change the look of a dress. Can't wait to see more...

  4. What an adorable outfit! And I know all about heels on uneven surfaces. I used to go to school in Florida and there was a crushed shell path I had to take to the church on Sunday mornings. It didn't help that I was usually running late and trying to walk fast!

  5. Perfect dress, Gertie! Princess-seamed bodice and three-quarter circle skirt, a classic and modern femenine look, adorable! I've tried the half and the full circle skirts, but next one is gonna be three quarters, it seems like the perfect amount of fullness. Princess lines are also a favourite of mine, I prefer them to any bust dart, they are easy to adjust and can wrap the body like a glove. An inspiration! Regarding the style, I am not sure about that belt... not very 50s, haha...

  6. I need to make this dress for Easter!!!! Thanks for sharing fabulous pictures and such a cute dress!!

  7. An Arizona girl sympathizes! And thanks for the amazing spring line of fabrics. I have bought the blue rose cotton poplin to make into a 1940s playsuit for our hot and lovely summers.

  8. So cute! I love black/white fabric combinations and this dress is gorgeous.

  9. Just got the book yesterday and eager to start some projects! How much of each fabric did you buy to create this look?

  10. Gertie- I have a question-- I have followed your instructions in your first book for making a circle skirt. All good. Now I have also got the dress pattern you made for Butterick, 6094, which has a circle skirt. I note that your book instructions have you making a circle cutout for the waist- or at least 1/4 of a circle in the pattern. The pattern has more of an oval that I guess is more body shaped. Does this have any effect on how the skirt hangs/ gathers in gentle folds? I am happy to test it out, but wondered if you have insights already...

  11. I just finished a skirt in the black fabric. Love it. Found a black and white tiny polka-dot knit to make a t-shirt to go with it. Then I made a "pin" with two layers of the cabbage roses so I can wear it (or not) as the whim strikes me.

  12. Hello Gertie, I am having difficulty inserting a lapped zipper properly in a lined strapless sweetheart dress with a circle skirt. I am making several as bridesmaids dresses for my daughter's wedding in August. I have read all your instructions in your new book for the lapped zipper insertion, but I still have an angled lining covering the top lapped side. I would love to see a video with you inserting a lapped zipper in a lined dress because there is nothing like a visual presentation of these niggly aspects of sewing.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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