Back in March I sewed McCalls 7950 which is a pattern I’ve fallen in love with. The other day, I was browsing Pinterest looking for some sewing inspiration and I came across a Dolce and Gabbana dress which featured an Italian/Tuscan inspired tile print. With a little more research I found out this dress came out in the Majolica collection in about 2016 and the collection featured a few dresses using this fabric which was stunningly beautiful. It just so happens that I found some of this fabric in my stash during a recent clean out; I think I bought it back in 2017 or 2018 when I was wanting to make something colourful and it has been with me ever since. The original Dolce and Gabbana dress is over $3000 which is way above my dress budget at the moment but after some old email digging, I found out this fabric was only $9 a meter and I had 3 meters.
Now it’s not good to copy and although Dolce and Gabbana have proven to be not the most ethically sound company, I still don’t want to copy their dress exact so I will be doing a mix up of a few different dress styles to make my own. Having made McCalls 7950 before, I knew this would be a great pattern dupe for a D&G inspired dress but instead of using the tie up bodice like in our first attempt, I will be using the button up bodice style instead. Instead of tie up shoulder straps like the original dress, I will be sewing in normal plain straps and my dress will feature working buttons all the way down the bodice and skirt unlike the original which had a zip. Although one of the original dresses has a thick gathered frill on the bottom, if I have enough fabric left over, I will add a frill but if not, I will leave it out. Much like out last version of McCalls 9750, I will be sewing up size 12 as it was a great fit and there’s no need to change it.
Sew, let’s get started. As the print on this fabric features large ornate tiles, I was really mindful as to what would be on the front of my bodice. I kind of wished I had opted for a plain bodice piece without it being split by buttons as this means I could have a specific tile in the center, but I made sure that all my pattern pieces had the tiles at least parallel to each other so they would line up when sewn. This did cause some wastage of fabric but for a print like this, it was worth it and I was happy with my bodice pieces. Looking back now, I think I should have cut my lining pieces from a plain white cotton as the print sort of peeps through the fabric but thats a lesson for another day.
I have never made a fully button up dress so I think I was a bit too meticulous with getting my bodice together. A lot of the pieces look very similar so I layed out the lining and front pieces on the floor in a line in the order they would appear on the bodice to make sure the tiles were lined up the best they could be. After they were all sewn together, I attached the bodice front to the lining and she was good to go with the skirt.
When it came to cutting out the skirt, I was going to do my normal three panels of 28 inch skirt but due to the print, I decided to instead count the tiles to line them up evenly. I decided on making my skirt 4 and a half tiles long which was about 32 inches and I was able to get three panels cut quite easily. The original skirt the pattern came with wasn’t as full as I was to make mine but I figured it was a little closer to the original inspiration and I love a full skirt for twirling in.
I should not that the original sewing pattern has large frontal pockets attached to the skirt. I did think about adding this but decided not to in the end. I do really like the two large frontal pockets on the pattern so I would once again love to make this pattern but add the pockets and keep the new fullness to the skirt.
I sewed my skirt panels together then layed the large skirt piece on the floor to check how the tiles looked. I noticed that there were two of the same tile which had quite a striking pattern on it next to each other. I tried to ignore that part but it just stood out too much and I knew that once sewn into the dress, there was a chance it would land somewhere awkward and I would forever regret not fixing the issue. I ended up sewing half a tile length in so that the two tiles would look like one instead. I think it turned out great and after gathering my skirt using my dental floss method, you couldn’t pick where the original two tiles were.
The original skirt has facing sewn into the edges which is where the buttons would attach so I left enough of a gap so the facing wouldn’t get gathered. This is similar to the original pattern design just with a fuller skirt around the back and sides. The pattern comes with a button guide which I used to help me mark where my buttons would go. I then attached my skirt to my bodice, hemmed the bottom of my skirt and it was button time.
I originally wanted to use wooden buttons but I didn’t have any so I tossed up between using some dark yellow buttons and white ones. The white ones looked a little washed out and after a quick vote between friends, I went with the yellow ones. My sewing machine has a 4 step button hole maker which I am quite happy to use even though it doesn’t always do the neatest job. It kind of a fun process adding button holes and I used a simple white thread to do so. I cut open my button holes and made a mental note to get some fray check in the future to make sure they stay neat. Originally, the pattern needed 11 buttons and I only had 10 so I left out the bottom skirt button. I hand sewed my buttons onto my dress and she was finally done.
Fit; Even though she’s not a real designer dress, she certainly gave me that vibe which is all I wanted to be honest. She fit me really well but I think my straps were a little too crooked which is something I will keep in mind for next time. I love this pattern because I have the option of wearing it fully buttoned down the front or partially buttoned with shorts underneath which I think may be cute in the future. This dress, despite being made back at the beginning of the year, only really got it’s first real outing out when I took it on my honeymoon to the Maldives. It was the perfect dress for such an environment.
I think in future makes of this dress I will add either the frontal pockets or sew some into the skirt seams as pockets are always helpful. I think this dress was a delight to wear around the tropical island of Kani and I got lots of compliments on it, one of which was a lady who asked which Dolce and Gabbana store I bought it in. When I said I made it she loved it even more and we excitedly talked sewing, fabric and patterns as our husbands made awkward small talk waiting for us to finish. This dress has really sparked my love of creating designer inspired dresses in the future and I see myself doing that more come the new year.
All up this dress took me most of a day to make as it’s a pretty straight forward pattern. I think I took too long placing my pattern pieces and cutting everything out but I would really recommend this pattern to beginners especially if they want to try making something with buttons. I am really happy with the final result of this dress and it’s a great mixture of the original inspiration images. I love the fact I was able to make this inspiration my own and although I know a true D&G dress would be a little better made, I’m happy with mine and think it’s a great dupe. I’d love to try making another D&G inspired dress as their style is very bright, bold and ornate which are all things I love. In the next attempt I could add the pockets I left out of this one so if that’s something you’d love to see please let me know.
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