Don’t Let the Door Hit You, Etc.

by Erin on August 25, 2011


I've been thinking lately that I have Too Many Damn Patterns (which is just a few boxes shy of the next size up of patterns, which is Metric Buttload of Patterns, and well above the unit of measure I'm hoping to end up at, which is A Gracious Sufficiency of Patterns) and this one is going to be jettisoned in the next wave of, well, jettisoning. 

I didn't buy this pattern new (although probably 1983-me would have been sorely tempted) so how on earth did it get into my collection? Did I get it as ballast in a box of other patterns? Was it twenty-five cents and so I reflexively grabbed it, with big "I think I'll re-enact the movie 'Heathers'" plans? Is my attraction to colorblocking in all its forms enough to overwhelm my common sense (and dislike for puffed sleeves)? Was I intrigued by how it seems as if you can't stand with your weight evenly distributed across both feet while wearing this? Is there some part of my lizard brain that reacts with predatory avarice to asymmetrical ruffles? We'll never know.

(Also, the photo-girl looks like the 1983 version of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl, doesn't she?)

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Evalyn August 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

I have no explanation for why you own this pattern, other than perhaps at some point it suggested a dress story to you. I am almost seduced by the long-sleeved version that looks like she’s headed for a frolicsome party with a layered jello mold and and seven layer dip and those drinks where all the Kaluha sinks to the bottom. But then I see the puffed sleeves, and I’m over it.


Marie Grace August 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

Gasp! I had forgotten about the “Heathers” movie! I loved that movie! Watched it like a bazzilion times off a VHS tape.

Its the square neckline that would have cinched it for me.


Cathy August 25, 2011 at 10:49 am

View number 3 (the white one) would be great for an 80s themed destination-beach wedding.


Chantelle August 25, 2011 at 10:54 am

Aw, this pattern would be so much fun to make! And easy to updated. Ix-nay the puff sleeves in favor of caps, tuck in the waist, and use caution in choosing colours for the colour change… I can see at 2011 hit!


Ann V. August 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I have a great many patterns of this era in my collection (including a lot of Esprit and Brooke Shields designs). I peeled them out, but they only made it as far as a specified tote bag.


Nicole August 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I am just disturbed by how much I genuinely like this pattern. I feel like it would be a fun project to update this dress, is this a sign of craziness?


Lisa Laree August 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Oh, wow, I remember seeing this pattern or one very much like it featured in a sewing article in some periodical…probably Sew News, now that I think about it…done up with piped seams (I think that was the subject of the article) and accessorized with appropriate Big Hair….


Joni August 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

It could be a lot worse. Despite it being the Eighties, Pattern Girl still has a discernible figure.


Cel August 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Yep, yep, and yep. Arg. puffed sleeves.


Lisa Neal August 25, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I had this dress! My mom made it for me. The top part was turquoise blue, the ruffle white and the bottom trim rose red. I think I was probably ten or eleven years old. For a little girl, this would still be a cute dress, but for a woman…not so much. :-)


Evis August 26, 2011 at 6:15 am

It like it a lot. But then I like puff sleeves; if you have a large bust and broad hips, bu t “normal” shoulders puff sleeves (or shoulder pads) give better proportions to the body.


Frances from Florida August 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

Sometimes I look at “your” patterns and think “Did I make this once upon a time? Or do I just remember seeing it years ago when I was flipping through the pattern books?” And the hairstyle, I think I definitely had that hair. All very scary….


the doodler August 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Maybe the asymmetrical seam requires asymmetrical standing to make it look right?


Kathy August 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Gaaah! Heathers is on! The television! Right now!
Glad I still have a big box of shoulder pads, I think I need that dress plus some white tights and patent leather loafers.


Dianne August 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

when I bought patterns on Ebay, I noticed a seller would cram a few more in there, but none quite that…uh — special???

I currently have 845 vintage patterns. Not enough!!!


Pffft August 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Dig the polka-dots…


valerie August 27, 2011 at 1:19 am

I’ve done this with material and had ‘what was I thinking?’ moments when I find it years later..


Anne B August 27, 2011 at 6:13 am

I am bizarrely drawn to this dress It’s everything I wanted when I was in my awkward stage 25 years ago! Now unfortunately I would look like a retro barrel in it, but I couldn’t throw it out if I had it!!!


JenL August 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Maybe you were considering the sleeveless version? :)


Susan August 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

The sketches all show more shaping at the waist area than the photo shows; pattern drawings can be really deceptive, as we know. Those peaked puff sleeves were always absurd. This might be a cute summer sundress or party dress made sleeveless, worn with blingy sandals. I do like the diagonal skirt color blocking. But could the dress be taken in to give it some shaping in the waist area?


Sandra August 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

I had this dress; bought it in a store! I remember wearing it and loving it a lot too. Brings a smile to my face to see it again.

Reply August 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

I think it would be fun to play with this pattern, slimming the sleeves, pinching in the waist, making both parts longer and making the top part out of a sheer fabric, etc. If you’re jettisoning it, please keep me in mind. Liz


Lizzy B. August 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I’m entranced by this pattern. Maybe its the asymmetrical skirt. Maybe its that I was born in 1983. There’s just something about it…

Another thought: Gossip Girl circa 1983 would be a very fun fashion/sewing challenge!


Dottie September 1, 2011 at 9:08 am

Sweet Lord, I think I made this dress in 1983! I don’t know if I should be more terrified that I made that dress in 1983 or that the person who left a comment a head of me was born in 1983.


Chantelle James September 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Like Lisa Neal above, I also had this dress and my mom also made it for me! Mine was the short-sleeved version in white with red trim and polka-dots. I loved it because my 13-year-old self felt gorgeous in it and I ended up wearing it to shreds.

As for why you have it… I have no idea. The patterns I have like that are usually the ones some well-meaning person has given me.


Amy @ Our Own Village October 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I would so make this dress and wear it!!! I love, love, love it! I even went searching on ebay and etsy to find one, but no luck. If you ever want to remove it from your collection, I would buy it in a heartbeat!


Melanee November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

I just bumped into your site from Colette. I have to laugh I had this dress and may still have the pattern. I was 20 and getting married. My mom still would sew things for me and this was one. My new hubby hated it because it didn’t show my figure! I loved it and wore it to death. When i look at it now I think he must have really loved me to put up with it!


Plain Jane January 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I’ve got this one too. And I’m forced to admit that, having run it up in some kind of sunshine yellow cotton – minus the contrasts – I loved it in 1983 and probably right through 1984. Unfortunately I can’t claim, as several already have, that I was a child at the time.


carol Joyce September 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

It’s the scary model and ugly sleeves! but it could be updated to a sleeveless sundress and present a very pleasing aspect.
I keep meaming to go through my hundreds of patterns and sort out a few for the charity shop.


Sandy November 11, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Sleeveless, shorten the bodice so the diagonal crosses between low-hip and just below waist, add darts at bust and vertically for waist shaping, and lengthen the ruffle/skirt to calf-length. Oh, and make all of one color . . . . say an unbleached/ecru cotton or linen. Great beach or scuffing-around-town-in-summer dress. ‘Course then it wouldn’t be the same pattern, would it.


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