Valentine’s Day Dress

I’m baaaack!

I got so crazy busy before I left on vacation, I didn’t get time to leave a message to you all.  I went on a 6-day getaway to sunny Florida and it wasn’t nearly long enough.  I felt like just as I was getting acclimated to the warm weather and relaxing, I found myself back on a plane coming home again.  I’m already bugging Felix about where we should go on our next trip.  I’m torn between saving for a mega-vacation like Scotland versus going up to Oregon and renting a fancy Yurt (aka glamping) for a more ‘local’ vacation.  Have any of you done the yurt-vacation before?

Due to my vacation, I’m a  bit behind on my blog posts.  And instead of showing pictures from my trip I wanted to share images of my most recent Sew Weekly creation for Valentine’s Day.

Oh my, oh my! Was I ever so cold for this photo shoot!  I’m standing in a sleeveless dress, right after I was done being sick in 15 degree weather.  I’m not smiling… my teeth are chattering. heh

Felix and I went to the bean early on Monday morning and I dressed in layers to keep warm.

I had on my winter boots, socks, leg warmers, and workout pants all underneath my skirt and on the top I had my puffy coat, cardigan, bolero, and then the dress.

To recap, I used Simplicity 3016 for the dress and Simplicity 1655 for the bolero:


Mega thanks to your input, I used the red gingham check fabric for all of the trim and used a red cotton for the main fabric of the bolero.

I took off my cummerbund when I wore the bolero, as I think it looks better without it.  I think the stark white of the cummerbund detracts from the overall scheme of things.  But I’ll definitely wear it whenever I’m not wearing the bolero.

Annabellebumps gets a mega!!! shout-out for thinking to send me her bolero pattern.  It was completely unprompted and I think it is the sweetest little pattern.  I want to make a bolero to match every outfit now; it was so easy to make and took up very little fabric.

For the construction, I used french seams wherever possible (shoulders & center back).  Before stitching the gingham trim on, I pressed under all of the outside seams and I top-stitched them down in place once they were affixed to the bolero (instead of sewing them down by hand).  The main alteration I did on the pattern was to shorten it significantly since I’m so short-waisted (I believe I trimmed down about 2″ of fabric from the bolero hem).

The Chicago bean is super huge!

I am so mini compared to the gigantic bean!

Every so often I would have to run back to my clothes pile and throw on my coat to warm up.

I couldn’t feel my feet and hands at this point….  But what’s a girl to do for photos?!  I wish I could take decent indoor photos in the warmth of my apartment, but it doesn’t have very good lighting.

One of the main reasons why I wanted to make a bolero with dress is to complement the main feature of my dress: the heart cutout.

Every since seeing Vivat Veritas‘ heart dresses last year, I’ve been toying around with the idea of making one of my own.  The Sew Weekly ‘Red’ theme for Valentine’s day was the perfect excuse I needed to try my hand at it.

I used a combination of tutorials, the first I referenced was Vivat Vertias’ Heart Cut Out Dress Tutorial which gave me the general idea of how to do a cutout.  But the main tutorial I used was from CationDesigns.  (She made a super cute superman dress in her tutorial.)  Ms. Cation Designs’ tutorial was for a bodice with a cutout that also includes a lining, which I found really helpful.  I lined my valentine’s day dress with white batiste and somehow got my piping to behave on the heart cut out.

Heart Detail:

I think the top of the heart could stand to be more pointed, but it was super tricky to finish that top edge with piping on either side.  I’m quite amazed I was able to pull it off!  I have one large (flat) hook and eye that serves as the closure at the top of the heart and at the base of the heart, I did a lapped zipper that is hand stitched down on the lapped side, on the right.  ( I still need to add in a small hook & eye here.)

One more image to show off the heart in all its glory.  :)

Would I make another heart-cut out dress?  Probably, but I think other shapes would be fun and I can see making another dress using the basic idea for a open-back design.  The inclusion of the piping was super stressful, but I think it makes the dress all the more fun.

If you’re interested in making a cut out dress, do reference the two tutorials I mentioned above.  But in researching online I also found this tutorial from crafterhours that was informative, I just didn’t use it for the construction of this dress.

Hope you had a lovely weekend, and I hope to catch up my rss feeds (aka blog posts) from all of you guys in the next week or so.  :)

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

Comments (25)

  1. gail February 27, 2012 — 8:12 AM

    I can’t believe you got out there in the cold to take those (awesome) photos! You are one tough girl! Dress is adorable!

  2. Meli February 27, 2012 — 8:24 AM

    I love the heart! That was so unexpected. Plus, using the bean to take a photo of it was clever!

  3. K-Line February 27, 2012 — 9:00 AM

    OMG – you must be FREEZING! And that heart cut out is the cutest thing ever. Such a surprise! Love it.

  4. Rachel February 27, 2012 — 9:11 AM

    That dress is amazing. I have been toying with the idea myself of doing a heart opening on the back of a dress. You have really inspired me. The piping is beautiful.

  5. Marie February 27, 2012 — 9:17 AM

    Oh my, you look as cute a button Liz!!! I adore the heart cut-out, the sweet gingham piping and the matching bolero! You’ve done a great job and I think you’re so brave to weather the cold like that. Your photos are gorgeous though, well done ;o)

  6. Wow! This is a amazing. It just got better and better as I read through the post and saw the different pictures. I love that this dress is like a hundred outfits. The bolero is so cute, and you’re so right about the piping. It makes the neckline and the awesome heart back even more special. Thanks so much for sharing your hard work! I’m blown away.

  7. Tasha February 27, 2012 — 9:43 AM

    That’s just got to be one of the cutest dresses ever! I love the heart cutout detail and the matching bolero. The gingham trim is great, too.

    It’s always so funny seeing your winter outside photos when I know just how freezing you are. Thank you for braving the cold for us, I know I could never do that. lol

  8. Lauren February 27, 2012 — 10:26 AM

    Oh girl, I can’t believe you stood in that freezing weather in such summery clothing! You are such a trooper! I would be in my apartment, taking shitty pictures in shitty lighting and telling people to deal with it (actually… I do that anyway. And it’s not even that cold here trololol).

    I do love the finished dress! The heart cutout is so sweet! And the gingham piping is perfect – cutest little picnic blanket dress ever :)

  9. maranda February 27, 2012 — 10:28 AM

    holy smokes, you are brave!! but the pics are worth it, they look great and so does the dress :) i love the bolero too, i think you DO need one for every outfit!

  10. Oh my what a cute dress!! It turned out amazingly! I love the color and the heart cut out back. Way too cute!! Beautiful pics as well, totally worth freezing for ;)

  11. Lizz February 27, 2012 — 12:15 PM

    So freaking cute, Liz! I love the cut-out back and you did such a nice job with the piping. Thanks for braving the cold to show us this!

  12. Jo February 27, 2012 — 1:34 PM

    Oh so cute! My favourite is wearing it with the bolero :) Awesome job- and no way would I be out in the cold like that! Haha!

  13. Love! It’s pure perfection! :)

  14. Ginger February 27, 2012 — 5:09 PM

    Eek, this is so cute! Love the heart cut-out!

  15. I have been waiting in anticipation for this post! This dress is just lovely and so perfect for the theme. The color combination is quite perfect, and the heart cutout out is darling (I may have to think about adding this to a future dress). I am so glad you expressed interest in the bolero pattern, because I think it was made for this dress – I love it! (And should probably make it for myself now ;)

  16. Sophia February 27, 2012 — 6:19 PM

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! You look stunning, but also adorable.

    I give you a lot of credit for going out in the cold like that to do justice to your beautiful dress!

  17. chie February 27, 2012 — 11:05 PM

    i love it! its so valentine;) i love the little patterned lining peeking from the cut out. great job!!

    1. Liz April 30, 2012 — 10:28 AM

      Thanks Vicki Kate! :)

  18. Andrea February 28, 2012 — 9:24 AM

    Liz, Your dress is truly beautiful – the colour and the details, the style. You’re a trooper for getting out there to take these summer pictures in the middle of winter. I very much enjoyed the “behind the scenes” shots you shared with us.

  19. Qui February 28, 2012 — 12:26 PM

    super cute dress Liz! The cutout turned out awesome, such a lovely detail! and I can’t believe your dedication to your photos–I haven no excuses for my lame indoor photos. Although it must help that Felix takes your photos–my husband has snapped a few for me, but they really aren’t very good at all…. what’s a girl to do?! I guess I need a tripod and remote button for photos. :)

  20. karen February 28, 2012 — 5:26 PM

    So so so cute, the back just makes it perfect! Did you get some strange looks as you started taking off your extra layers of clothes :)

  21. Meg March 2, 2012 — 10:13 AM

    You are the bravest, most fabulous person I know! KUDOS for braving the cold at the Bean, but your pictures turned out wonderfully!! I look forward to seeing some warm weather pictures of your fabulous outfits soon!

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