Neon Roses and Ruffles


After blogging my Boring Bettine, I wanted to sew something sassy! You might remember the fabric from my Cali Fabric Haul video – it’s a lightweight rayon knit with neon green and vividly pink roses. I thought about making a loose tee with it, so the print would be toned down by jeans… but come on, crazy fabric deserves more fun!

The dress started out life as a Megan Neilson Briar tee. My waist and hips are 3″ outside the largest size (don’t love that limited size range, but otherwise the pattern is nice), so I added some width here and there. I cut the front and back first, then figured out how deep a ruffle I would need to make it a dress. The sleeve length was determined by how much fabric I had left!

in progress Collage

As you can see, the finished tunic/dress ended up really shapeless, and the ruffle in the back started quite low below my tush. As my husband said when I showed him, “When you turned around, it just looked wrong!” I turned to Instagram to get styling advice – belt or no belt? In the end, I decided surgery was in order – I used the Comino Cap bodice as a guide to cut the dress in half and add a waist seam with elastic! While I was at it, I took a wedge from the top of the back skirt so that the skirt is shorter, fuller, and the ruffles sit in a better place!


Now that it has a waist seam and ruffle, the dress is reminding me a lot of this Autumn Comino Cap that I made about a year ago – except this dress is definitely the amped up version!

Now for some details:

details Collage

  • I did a 3-thread kinda-rolled hem – I think to make it a real rolled hem I’d have to loosen one looper thread, and tighten the other. Is that right? Incidentally, I  don’t take out my 4th needle – I just un-thread it!
  • I used knit stay tape at the end of the skirt before attaching the ruffle.
  • The ruffle is two 60″ x 10″ strips, which I gathered with the differential feed on the serger. After gathering the ruffle was a few inches wider than the skirt, so I just seamed it a few inches narrower. Easy peasy!

For a change of pace, my husband took these pictures for me while we were at his parents’ house. (Incidentally, we got married just in front of that one-room school house behind me!) Usually we both get stressed by taking pics together, but this time it was really fun! It did involve a lot of my vogueing to show him what I wanted in frame – his instinct is to put my head in the centre of the frame, like this:

vogue Collage

We got there in the end! πŸ˜‰ I also made him sit down for some of the photos, because from his 6′ height, I look really short! One good thing about taking lots of tripod + remote pics is that I’m pretty good at guessing if I’m in frame from the glint in the lens and the angle of the camera. Do you do the same thing?

Oh, one a side note, I made an Astoria sweater from french terry. I’m not sure the khaki green actually goes with this particular dress, but I think it will be a useful layering piece. I”m debating cutting it into a cardigan though – what do you think?

sweater Collage

I tried to get some spinning pictures, which lead to a lot of stumbling around on the bumpy grass!

twirley Collage

This one of those speedy knit projects that I just love sewing. Started and finished it in a morning before my niece’s birthday party, and I feel like it’s got plenty of personality. Not the perfect fit, not the most practical, but fun, fun, fun! What’s your absolute favourite type of project to sew?

** Stop the press! I just took this dress out of the dryer and it’s shrunk at least 3″ shorter and is definitely now a tunic! I swear I prewashed it… Thankful it’s still totally wearable!! **

39 thoughts on “Neon Roses and Ruffles

  1. This is oh so cute! Your changes were perfect. And the print is so fun! I also love getting those little nuggets of wisdom out of your posts…like that fact that you used knit stay tape before attaching the ruffle. I’m taking notes….:)


    1. I get my knit stay tape at Fabricland – it comes in one-inch wide rolls, so sometimes I cut it in half along the length so it’s narrower. Super handy for knits when you don’t need stretch in the seam/hem.


  2. Adorable!! The ruffles really suit you (they SO do not suit me). BTW, I went to look at the Comino from last fall and I was reminded of my LOVE for it. I hope you wear that one all the time because it’s gorgeous – and I think it falls into that “amp up the professional vibe” that you’re going for these days. What do I love to sew most? Well, I could write a post on that πŸ™‚ I love to sew knits with simple lines that drape really well and that fit excellently. The pattern doesn’t need to be tough because perfecting the fit generally elevates it into that category. As you know, I’m really into the high-end fabrics these days, which is improving the experience no end. I never knew how much I love touching delicious fabric. It’s half the fun of sewing.

    Sidenote: I’m wearing this very summery sleeveless dress (looks totally tennis) that I bought in Mtl like, 15 years ago (doesn’t fit as well as it used to…) It’s cream (the only thing in this colour I own – it’s got some yellow in it so I don’t look dead). I’ve always loved the tension and the feel of the fabric. Today I turned it over and realized that it’s French terry. So apparently, I have felt and worn terry before. I just didn’t know what it was and I wasn’t paying attention.


    1. You know what’s strange? I love that other comino cap, but because my brain has decided it is “fall” colours, I don’t wear it at all in spring and summer! I should, and I will! πŸ˜‰

      Kuddos to 15-years-ago-you for picking something you’ve love and wear for so long! And I’m excited the terry has held up for so long – may our french terry clothes have a long and happy life!


    1. You should know that I think of you EVERY TIME my husband shoots me from a high angle, and I think, “Damn, I’d look way taller if he got down low!” πŸ™‚


  3. what a save! Such a great print it really stands out which I love at this time of year when all the muted colours start filing the shops :-(. And on the sweater – I think it looks great as is – however if you think it would get more wear as a button up then go for it!


    1. I get so sad when fashion colour suddenly go dark and muted! Like even the turquoises are almost black. I need my jewel tones, people! πŸ™‚


    1. I kinda like the khaki with it too, but Instagram voted pretty firmly for navy leggings and not khaki green when i was trying to figure out how to style the dress, so I figured maybe I was the only one? Glad I’m not! πŸ™‚


  4. I really like this dress! Good adjustments to the meh way it originally turned out – it’s amazing how such tiny changes can completely fix something! It took me a lot of experimenting (probably a couple of years total) to find that perfect spot to hem shirts so that I could wear skinny jeans without things looking out of proportion.

    I understand how frustrating it can be to get your husband to take photos that capture what you envision for yourself! Funny how your husband wants to center your face and chop of your feet in photos. Sounds like he’s trying to use the center focus square for your face placement. Can you turn a setting on for putting a grid on the screen of your camera? If you have a grid and tell him that your head or eyes should be in the top third of the frame, it might help him fight that habit. (That’s how they shoot television and movies – no matter how close they zoom in, the actor’s eyes will always be in that top third of frame or something will look off.)


    1. You know, I bet that’s exactly what he was doing! He did say something about the focus square, but I thought he was talking about, you know, focus! Might have been framing after all. I’ll try the grid setting and see how that goes! πŸ˜‰ Thank for the suggestion!


      1. If your camera is like most I’ve used, he should be able to partially push down the button to focus on you and then pan the camera for a better frame before completely pushing it to take the photo. It seems wrong until you train yourself to do it. hehe, if only we could all just train our husbands to be amazing photographers! Mine’s gotten a lot better but there were many frustrating photo shoots to get him to that point.


  5. Yeah for projects with personality! Like you, I enjoy sewing with knits – less fitting issues. But I am embracing wovens has my next learning curve! I really like that Astoria sweater on you. Let me know if you end up wearing it a lot. πŸ™‚


    1. My gut reaction is that I won’t wear the Astoria much… it was too baggy when I first sewed it, but after taking it in, it feels perhaps a bit snug? And plain… but then maybe I’ll love it with a giant brooch pinned to it! I own a LOT of flower brooches!!


  6. Such a bright pretty print! Your changes were perfect and the dress looks great. Stay tape for knits is a great tip… I love sewing with knits for myself and it will be a great addition to my sewing kit. πŸ™‚


    1. Stay tape is great! I used to buy narrow stuff from Sunni’s store online, but these days I’m lazy and buy a 1″ version locally. It does reduce the stretch of the knit, which is great in some cases and all wrong in others! πŸ˜‰


    1. Aha! I knew there must me more to a rolled hem, because every time I’ve read a tutorial I’ve thought, “That sounds too complicated!” Is it worth learning how?


  7. Such a great print for a great dress! I love the alteration you did, it’s much more you now, and more comfortable not to have to wear a belt all the time. I think your Astoria looks great, and I had the same thought with mine, “would this be better as a cardigan?” I didn’t cut mine up, but I might still.


    1. Have you worn your Astoria much? I can’t quite decide how I feel about this one… but then, I also couldn’t decide what length it should be! Should the seam hit at the waist, or the band?


      1. On mine the seam hits my natural waist. I like it like that. And I find it goes really well over top of dresses. I haven’t worn mine a ton because if really warmed up not long after I made it, so I’m hoping I’ll wear it more this fall. The other problem I have with it, is that I made it in black which really shows the pug hair. πŸ˜‰


    1. Thank you! I think I might have to dig through my sewing room garbage to find the scraps of that french terry fabric to see if I have enough to make a button band!


  8. That is a seriously cute and flirty dress (um, tunic now?). Love it. I really like the Astoria, too I made one from raspberry French terry. I say wait and wear it when the weather cools for a bit before you decide on cutting it or not.


    1. I cannot believe how much it shrank!!!!! SAD!!!!! But thank goodness it shrank shorter and not narrower. I like your idea to wait on the Astoria – especially because I”m too lazy to alter it right now! πŸ˜‰


    1. Aren’t the colours pleasantly insane? I rather like me-made outfits that could never be found in a store – which I’m sure you can agree with! πŸ˜‰


  9. 3″ shorter? That’s what leggings are for! πŸ™‚ So cute! The surgery really made the proportions just right on you, and I think your instincts to make the Astoria into a cardigan are good… Then you’ll have the option of wearing it closed or keeping it open and revealing the riotous roses!

    I’m always up for making jeans. I always am looking for new details to add to my next pair.


    1. I wish you could come and make me some jeans! I’m feeling far too lazy to do topstitching these days. I like making pants, but I dislike all the fiddling with pockets that has to happen before actual sewing happens!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Making jeans for someone else is definitely a whole new level of friendship. πŸ˜€ Until this heat DIES, I can’t see myself getting excited about topstitching either. Shoot, I’ve had a knit hem to do on a t-shirt for a couple of weeks and I haven’t managed that though it’s a two minute situation. I will never be able to accept that summer ends the first of October here.


  10. Ok, I really really like that little cropped sweatshirt on you! I vote for opening it if you will wear it more but I’m personally a fan of how it looks now. Lots of necklace styling possibilities πŸ™‚


  11. I adore the final dress. It is so you! I’d say go with the cardigan on the cute green sweatshirt. It needs some dimension and cute buttons. πŸ˜€

    My favorite thing to sew is skirts. I could drown in skirts if I tried. Woven skirts, not the knits you love. Wovens have my heart!


  12. I hadn’t thought about turning Astoria into a cardigan, but that’s a great idea and I want to give it a try this autumn. IMO, little cardigans are more versatile and maybe more slimming than crop tops.

    Your red necklace looks like a big smile. Lovely!


  13. What a fun dress. I love the ruffles and the neon roses. A very good save with the waistband elastic.
    I like the pullover as is but it all depends on what works with your wardrobe and what you’ll get use out of.
    My partner takes my blog pictures and I feel like I’m always trying to show him what to include in the photos. He tends to cut off my calves and feet. I guess it’s a natural response because when you take pictures of friends at a party you tend to focus on their upper half.


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