The Sound of Music Dress

Some of you may recall a post that I wrote about The Sound of Music last summer (See it here, if you’d like). At the end of the post, I made a remark about the possibility of a future dress inspired by the dress in the picture below.

I love this dress–just as I love the majority of the dresses that Julie Andrews wears in the film. I wasn’t sure if I would ever find the right material for the dress, but readers, a couple of weeks ago I found it!

I was at the thrift store, and I was digging around in a bargain bin. At the bottom, I came across these vintage sheets. They were in wonderful condition, no stains, no weird smells, etc.

The print automatically made me think of the dress in the above picture. I stood there for a few short moments in amazement, thinking about how perfect this material was. Once I envisioned what it would be, I couldn’t have snatched the material any faster. A lady at the thrift store gave me one of the strangest looks I’ve ever been graced with.

Anyway, I got the material home and began designing the dress in my head. I didn’t want a contrasting bodice fabric for my dress, and I wanted much shorter sleeves.

I’ve wanted to make a dress with some pintuck pleats for a while. I like the look of them, and I thought it would add a nice detail to the bodice since I wasn’t going to use a contrasting material.

I found this pattern in the May 2009 addition of Burda magazine.

I decided to use just the bodice portion of the pattern, and create a fuller skirt with 4 panels, rather than the flounce skirt with only front and back pieces.

The back skirt panels cut out

I traced the pattern from Burda magazine and added the seam allowances.

This particular pattern was in petite sizing. Something I was pretty happy about, because I didn’t think I would need to shorten the bodice or make any other adjustments.

One problem that I always have with Burda patterns is the sizing. So, I decided to go with the size according to my waist measurement. Normally, I would use a larger size at the bust and hips, because my bust and hips are usually at least one size up according to the measurements. However, every time I trace the pattern according to those measurements, I end up having to take it in significantly.

Anyway, enough grumbling, I figured it out (although, the sizing was still a bit off in the end). Once I had my pattern pieces I cut the bodice pieces and the lining.

I sewed the darts on the bodice back, and pressed and sewed all of the pintucks on the front pieces.

Then, I attached the side front pieces to the front pieces, and sewed the bodice together at one side and at the shoulders.

I also cut out and finished the edges of those flutter cap sleeves that you can see in the technical drawing for the pattern.

Once I pinned them to the bodice and held the bodice on, I absolutely hated how they looked. It just wasn’t the style for me. They sat in a weird place that made my shoulders look strange. Anything that makes my shoulders appear narrower tends to make me look extremely disproportional.

With spring beginning to make an appearance, I decided that a sleeveless dress would be a nice option. Plus, it would work well with a cute little cardigan.

The sleeve material won’t go to waste. I’ll use it for another project. I only used one sheet for the dress, even though I had to cut strips on the bias to make some bias tape for the armholes. I also originally cut out one of my pieces at the only spot where there was damage to the material: an ink blot.

Despite that, I didn’t even have to cut into the second sheet. By the way, I bought both of these sheets for only about $1!

Back to the dress construction….I sewed the seams of the skirt, except for the seam where the invisible zipper would go.

There were self-facings on the center front pieces. So, I only had to cut the side front and back bodice pieces for the lining. I sewed the side front pieces to the self-facings, and sewed the bodice together at the shoulders and side seams. Then, I sewed the lining to the bodice, right sides together at the neckline. After that, I pressed and basted around the bottom (to hold everything in place when I attached the skirt to the bodice).

I attached the skirt and the bodice, serged the seam (as I did most of the seams in the dress), and pressed it down.

I inserted the invisible zipper.

The end was so close I could already feel the satisfaction of the finished product… and that’s when things went all wrong.

As I was zipping the zipper up after finishing sewing it in, it broke!

It worked fine before I sewed it into the dress, but as soon as I had finished all of the hard work, it gave out. The thought of having to rip the zipper out and start all over again was sickening.

This was me when I realized there was nothing left to do, but spend an hour with my seam ripper. Ugh!

This picture doesn’t begin to express the agony I was in.

Once I had finally removed the “zipper that couldn’t,”

I set to work adding the new and (hopefully) functioning zipper. The new zipper works beautifully, for now.

With the bias tape sewn in at the armholes, I folded and hand sewed it down to the lining.

I needed several buttons, and I couldn’t find any that I thought would work well for the dress. So, I went digging in my to-be-reconstructed pile. I found a dress with these pearly buttons all the way down the front. There were so many of them, I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to steal some for this project.

I hand-stitched the six buttons on, and stitched the placket together between the buttons. Since, the buttonholes weren’t really necessary and I didn’t have buttons small enough, I just decided to skip that step.

With the bottom of the dress hemmed, the dress was ready for an enjoyable spring day.

It can be worn with a coordinating ribbon or belt. The outfit will be complete when I have a suitable cardigan.

The dress can be worn without a belt as well.

I am not comfortable with dresses this low cut, and I couldn’t tell from the magazine that the neckline was going to be so low. The low neckline is the reason that I took my first set of pictures below with the brown tank underneath.

I think it detracts from the whole look. I figured that because this was a petite size and I went a size down, I would have no problem with this pattern. Oh well, I’m not about to take it apart. 😛 Maybe I can find a pretty lacy camisole to wear underneath it. Ideally, a red or pink camisole would be best, to match the flowers in the print and allow me to wear a matching ribbon or belt.

I kept the length longer than I usually do, because it seemed to fit this particular dress.

Here’s a detail shot of the bodice front.

These pictures show the colors of the dress the best.

I also had to take a picture sitting, in order to semi-mimic the inspiration photo.

Sorry for the onslaught of pictures. 🙂 I just love this dress!

About Becca

I am a self-taught seamstress, and I love to create unique women’s clothing. This blog is a record of the hodgepodge of sewing projects that occupy my time. Reconstruction projects are my favorite, but I also create clothing from my own designs using both recycled and new materials.
This entry was posted in clothing, diy, dress, fabric, fashion, recycled, redo, repurposed, retro, sewing, thrifted, upcycled, vintage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to The Sound of Music Dress

  1. You’ve done it again. This is adorable. It’s perfect to wear to a summer wedding. I like the front lower cut. You look great in it. Way to go!

  2. Shanna says:

    Its sooo pretty!

  3. Sara says:

    WOW! It is a beautiful dress and you look beautiful in it.

    I’ve had zippers break right when I thought I was done sewing a dress, too, and it is just awful. Especially when the dress is for Halloween and it is the day of Halloween and you need to leave for the party, like, now. But most of that was my own fault. 🙂

    Anyway, congrats. This dress is really something!

  4. Lovely and inspiring dress. You look beautiful, fresh and glowing in it.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Gorgeous dress! I love the bodice and the flare of the skirt!

  6. nightowl_72 says:

    Despite the problems you had, what a beautiful dress. The first thing I thought when I saw it was that I loved the neckline! I really need to get sewing for myself. I’m still just drooling over what everyone else is doing… hmm.

  7. Lizzy says:

    WOW!! LOVE IT!! you did a great job !! I like when people show pictures of the process of sewing the clothes.

  8. gigi says:

    I love the dress! It looks great on you and I love that style. I too at first thought whoa that is low cut, but it fits you, especially with your hair like that. Very flirty, cute, sweet and innocent looking. Please don’t cover it up with a cardigan, it is not needed. It would be really cute with some light strappy sandals with kitten heels. Sound of Music is my favorite movie! You look like you should be singing I am sixteen going on seventeen. Ahh to be young again in the spring. What a good deal on the sheets, I have used sheets on several sewing projects. Can’t beat the price for all that fabric. Bought some King size the other day with a silky organza sheen would make a cute little girl sun dress and matching mom dress for my daughter.

    • Thank you so much! I don’t want to cover it up with a cardigan. It’s simply a matter of being incapable of withstanding chilly weather. 🙂 I can’t wait until I can wear late-spring/summer attire, but for now I will have to keep dressing with some layers. You should definitely make those dresses from the sheet you found. It sounds like it would be so cute!

  9. Juanita says:

    Oh my!!!
    1. The sheet — it is amazing! What will you make with the 2nd sheet?? Oh the suspense!

    2. I FEEL your pain. I cuss at the universe when things foul up just riiiight when the end to a sweet victory is near. Oh, unpicking takes so much longer than sewing, doesn’t it.
    I’m glad you made it through and solved the zipper problem 🙂

    3. I thought the neckline was quite flattering. Oh my, those itty bitty darts for the bodice. They look painstaking 🙂 But the effect is so worth it.

    4. Love the dress. Love this pattern! (I ought to try and make one for myself, just in time for summer.)

    You do good work!


    • Thank you! I’m still deciding what I’ll make with the second sheet. Unpicking definitely takes much longer than sewing (usually at least twice is long, but sometimes more like five times as long. hmph!) It really is the perfect dress for summer, and I can’t wait to see your version. 😉 Thanks again doll!

  10. Trudy Callan says:

    Your dress is a dream. Totally gorgeous.

  11. Rachel says:

    WOW!!! That is really pretty and feminine!!! That fabric is just gorgeous. You can really find some gorgeous sheets.

  12. Very pretty. My favorite thing I’ve seen on your site. Maybe you should do other film inspired dresses. =)

    • Thank you! Hmm, that’s a really good idea. I’ll have to think about doing that occasionally, maybe even make it a monthly feature. You’ve definitely given me something to think about. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  13. Love the dress, you did a wonderful job! I love your pictures that go along with the progress.. that is my favorite part of seeing the construction of sewing projects online. And oh my goodness, I do know the pain of realizing I have to pull out my seam ripper and halt all progress. It came together perfectly though! Great job! 🙂

    • Yay! Another person who likes the process pictures. 🙂 I guess anybody who has ever sewn knows the pain of having to use the seam ripper. Thank you for your kind words!

  14. Stefcia says:

    Beautiful dress:)

  15. lauriane says:

    its just THE perfect dress and it suits you wonderfully

  16. JuliaDBennett says:

    Wow, it’s beautiful! I think I’m going to go and have a rummage around in my old Burda magazines to see if there’s something I can spot that I haven’t before – I sure didn’t spot this one!

    Well done, it’s so pretty 🙂

    Julia xx

    • Thanks! Yeah, I had this one dog-eared in the magazine. I periodically go back through my old Burda mags to see if there’s a pattern I missed or marked and never got around to. 🙂

  17. Nancy says:

    It came out so lovely! You seem to have the patience of a saint too! I need to work on that, especially when I sew. When you wear it, let us know what everyone says about it! I’m sure they will be awestruck! -Nancy in Tampa, FL

    • Thanks! I struggle with patience too, which can get dangerous when sewing. 😉 Sometimes I just have to take a break and come back to something in order to avoid making more mistakes. I appreciate your reading my blog, and thank you for your sweet comments.

  18. Ashley says:

    Very pretty! I love the pintuck details on the bust.

  19. Catherine says:

    two words:

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