An orientalist dress


I started making this dress a long time ago, and only finished it about two months ago, but it has taken till now to find good enough weather to have it photographed outdoors! Summer has finally arrived and it is sunny and HOT, I’m typing this sitting on the lawn in a bikini and it feels great.

This dress was made from the same pattern as this black and white dress, but with a halter neck bodice. It’s a Retro Butterick pattern, reprinted from 1947. Unfortunately I had to make an awful lot of changes to the halter neck bodice as it had been cut for a person with a MUCH larger bust and gaped horribly. It is quite a lot better now but still not 100% perfect. I will continue to adjust this as I would like to make this dress again, but in a black silk crepe.


My favourite part about it is the very low-cut back. I was actually very puzzled about why the bodice was cut for such a large bust since the back is so low and therefore the dress doesn’t accommodate for wearing a bra. I imagine that this would be quite uncomfortable, and impractical, for ladies wearing a larger cup size?


I do really love this fabric though, with its stylised design of chrysanthemums.. It is a print designed for export to Japan. It is the same design as this dressing gown that I made; when I returned to the shop many months after buying that fabric and saw that they still had it in stock but in different colours, I had to get some more to make a dress.



PS – to international readers, I do apologise for the huge amounts of blog posts written by UK bloggers over the last 3 months that were filled with complaints about the weather. Yes, complaining about the weather is an ideologically British trait – but really has been abysmal this year: cold and with gale-force winds and monsoonal rainfall.



  1. What a gorgeous dress. And well done for tackling the bust adjustment. I tend to avoid using patterns with a larger bust size so I don’t have to get involved! Maybe I shouldn’t be so scared!

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