Sewing Project: Audrey Hepburn-style Summer Dress

White floral Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn

White floral Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately I’ve been dipping my toe back into sewing with some small projects, like the tote bag and quilted sleep mask, but now I think I’m ready to try a bigger project – a dress!

About 6 or 7 years ago, I bought this Butterick 4443 pattern (see below) because it reminded me of the Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wore to the Oscars in 1954 when she won Best Actress for Roman Holiday. I love that fit and flare shape and I especially adore bateau necklines. Also, that 50’s silhouette is pretty flattering on me too!  I had bought a lovely cotton/poly blend fabric with a black and white floral print from Joanne’s that would be just perfect.

My husband and I are going to a wedding this Saturday and I thought this would be a great excuse to make a dress – and give me a deadline so I couldn’t procrastinate. I started it over the Memorial Day weekend and well, today is Tuesday, and I thought I’d have finished an awesome, swingy dress to brag about by now. Not so much.

I first made a muslin version of the dress last week, just as a run through so if there was anything I found confusing in the instructions, I could work it out on the muslin. Also wanted to make sure I was the same size as I was 7 years ago when I first cut out the pattern!

So good news/bad news – the good news is that I have to take in the bodice a little bit. Bad news is that I’m not sure how to go about it. I made the rookie mistake of thinking I could do all the alterations on the real fabric instead of testing it on the muslin. Argh! I may go back to the muslin version to figure it out before ripping the bodice apart.

This afternoon, I decided to look up the pattern on and lo and behold, there are over 40 reviews of this pattern. And wouldn’t you know, the biggest complaint is how big the bodice is and how the shoulders are designed for a linebacker. Awesome!

I’ve got my work cut out for me. So do you have any sewing alteration tips? If so, please share! More to come…

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