I had the most AMAZING time in Atlanta this past weekend!! I can’t wait to show you photos. In the meantime, I’ve got to post some of the backlog of stuff I’ve been making for myself in the last couple weeks because I have been a busy busy little bee when it comes to “selfish sewing.” Here’s what I wore Saturday for our “Handmade Garment Success” talk and the afternoon workshop at Whipstitch:


I can hear you thinking “why is she sewing dresses when she should be sewing tops?!?” Yes I know. And my only answer to that is: you know how once you’ve really truly committed to do one thing, you suddenly have a great fantastic totally unrelated idea that you absolutely must do, like, right now? That is pretty much the story of my life. Except in this case making a dress from Lizzy House‘s latest line (Hello Pilgrim) is at least somewhat similar to top-making in that I can use the same pattern to make a top if I wanted to. Though even if I wanted to, I’m not sure I would (see first sentence of paragraph).


A few weeks ago I finally got a few hours to sit down and read Built By Wendy’s Dresses and also Jackets and Coats (two different books) and I remembered why I like her books so much. Wendy is all about taking a basic pattern and riffing on it, which is exactly the way I like to sew for myself. After a few years of making tops for myself, some with commercial patterns, most without, I finally feel like I’ve arrived at a handful of basic outlines that fit/flatter me which can then be altered to make variations that look completely different. These outlines have changed a bit as I’ve gained/lost weight, had a couple babies, etc, but my overall shape has more or less stayed the same for the last 5 years. I’ve had some bombs and some wins. I learn more from the bombs than the wins, but I always learn something. This is the joy of sewing handmade for myself.


This dress design began as a concept for a top, but then when I saw this beautiful turquoise cotton print in person (which, strangely, had NOT made much of an impression on me from the computer screen), I knew it had to be a summer dress. And since I’m supposed to be sewing tops right now, it was perfect timing to get bit by the Dressmaking Bug *rolls eyes at self* [end sarcasm]. At the time of this writing, the Hello Pilgrim fabric collection is currently being carried by Fabricworm, Pink Castle, and Whipstitch (you can click on those links to go straight to the collection) just to name a few that sponsor this blog. I have a feeling it’s going quick.


I heart the side pockets, and the back is shirred (UPDATED: Just added a few more pictures of the shirring to the set, below) so I can pull it over my head (let’s hear it for no closures, wooooot!). You can see more pictures in this set:

Though I don’t wear dresses nearly as much as I wear tops, I think after the top sewalong is over we might have to have something for the dresses. Don’t you think? We’ll see. You know I’m about 50% reliable when I come up with crazy ideas, so don’t get too excited. But making this one makes me want to make more dresses. Don’t worry though, I just finished my second spring top last Thursday, and can’t wait to show you some pictures!

Categories: Homepage Slider, clothes for women, for Rae, sewing
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44 Responses to hello pilgrim!

  1. Lizzy House says:

    DANG!!!!! I need one of these big time! so did you base it on one of the patterns from the Built by Wendy book?? I just love it!

    • Rae says:

      hey Lizzy! So…I think you *could* definitely make this using the pattern pieces from BBW!

      I ended up making a muslin with the dirndl dress pattern pieces (which did not fit me very well) and then using a combination of modified dirndl dress pattern pieces and my own to get bodice pieces that fit, and then added pockets and a tie (not the one in the book) and the cap sleeves (also not in the book; those didn’t fit me). The back bodice piece is shirrred, so that one is new too. :)

      Does that help? Prolly not…

  2. anna says:

    Rae! you dress diva. it’s totally hot. love the lizzy house, it’s my favorite print. :)

  3. Kim says:

    Loved, loved, loved meeting you Friday night at Whipstitch! (I am the one who was quilting in the back by the fridge who may have mentioned guinea pigs about 47 times.) You are even cuter and nicer and smarter in real life than on your site!

    • Rae says:


      YOU are awesome girl. Of course I know who you are.That was the funniest conversation I have had in YEARS. :)

      I’m so glad you said hi! And thx for saying all those nice things, you are too sweet!

  4. kristin says:

    Totally gorgeous! And I can definitely relate – sometimes “want to make” and “should make” don’t line up very well, but WHATEVER! Glad you followed the urge. Your dress looks so comfortable, easy to wear, and is really flattering on you.

    Oh and PS – I picked up two more Hello Pilgrim prints this weekend…it’s a full-on obsession. :D

  5. Michelle says:

    So…..how do I get my hands on this pattern? Is it based on something else that you modified? Did you actually link to the pattern somewhere and I’m just blind? I would love to make a dress like this for myself.
    (and I’d like to see a picture of the back!)

  6. am12pm says:

    Yes Rae, I think a pattern for this dress would be a HUGE hit!! It looks phenomenal.

  7. Suzanne says:

    It was great meeting you in Atlanta on Saturday. you and Karen gave such great sewing tips. thanks again

  8. Gorgeous! I love it on you! That fabric is on my wish list :) So purdy. I heart the pockets and the neck detail. Great job as per usual m’dear!

  9. Jana says:

    Rae, it was so wonderful to meet you this past Friday!! Thanks for your encouraging words and delightful personality! :) I am really looking forward to some great projects inspired by you, Karen and Whipstitch!

  10. It was a pleasure meeting you on Friday! I am so glad I came. It was so nice to be with a group of sewaholics like myself. I got so many inspiring ideas talking with you and Karen. I love your dress! I need to start sewing something for myself. Glad you came to ATL

  11. Anshu says:

    Oh my! I was thinking about making a top with a very similar neckline. Your looks fabulous and I’m now more inclined then ever to actually go sew that top. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Marilyn says:

    Nice dress. Love it!!

  13. Sophie says:

    Gorgeous! Oh and the dress is nice too.

  14. Shannon says:

    I was fortunate enough to see your dress up close this weekend at Whipstitch. It looks just as amazing in person as it does online.

    Absolutely loved the *Tips for Success When Making Handmade Clothing” class on Saturday. How you and Karen were able to pack so much invaluable information into an hour and a half class I’ll never know, but it was so good that I didn’t want to leave!

    I’m taking your advice and planning to create a pattern out of the dress that I wore this weekend. Also, thank you so much for the pattern grading information (I was the one with the *updo* and flower dress)

    Thanks again for your visit!

  15. justine says:

    What a fun fabric you chose Rae! The dress looks really cute on you I’ve been really enjoying your spring top sew a long!

  16. It is a great dress and you look lovely! I’ve yet to try anything but skirts but so want to try my hand at a dress! One day…
    thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Stacey says:

    Yes please! I love dresses and would love to “have” to make some!!! It’s a wonderful dress on you!

  18. chiara says:

    Wow, it look very nice, and it seems to be not to difficult to sew. How long did it take you to cut and sew it?

  19. larissa says:

    Hey, Rae! Pretty bummed about not seeing that dress in person. I just couldn’t work out coming to Whipstitch. Perhaps you will be back at some point? (say yes). The dress is really cute. It always makes hope spring anew in myself that I’ll make something wearable for me. Those colors are great on you.

  20. Sara Jane says:

    Hi, I love your website, I lurk at it almost evereyday. I was wondering how much fabric it took (sorry for the grammar, I’m from Québec) to assemble this wonderful dress!

    I wanna do something like this on my own!

  21. Sara Jane says:

    Hi! I love your site! Could you tell me how much fabric you used for that gorgeous dress?

  22. Kelly says:

    I love it, so pretty! I have also had dresses on the brain, and trying to make a shift (for now) so I can enter Spring Top Sewalong….but I have wanted you to do a dress sewalong for a long time, I hope you do it!! And I would definitely buy the pattern for this dress (or happily be a tester!!)

  23. Yeah a pattern for this would be GREAT!! I don’t think I am quick enough to piece together :) Beautiful dress!

  24. Emily says:

    Beautiful dress! Love the shape and the tie and the pockets and the fabric.

  25. Chandelle says:

    Pattern please :)

  26. Jan says:

    I have to make a dress like this. Please make a pattern. :)

  27. melani says:

    I *love* this dress, it’s similar to washi dress, the skirt, shirring but the top/bodice part is so pretty …
    Maybe an “add on” pattern to the washi dress, Rae? So we can also make a dress like this too?? PRETTY PLEASE?? :) :) :) :) :)

    *LOVE* your washi dress pattern, I’ve sewn 8 (dresses, tunics and maxi dresses) for myself lol … each time it took less and less time to sew, which makes me love it even more :P
    THANK YOU!!!

    looking forward to a lot more womens patterns in the future :)

  28. nurseli says:

    Pleeeease make a pattern! Perrrrty please…..with a cherry on top. ;-)

  29. kjerstiye says:

    Another vote for a pattern please! Love this top/dress!

  30. Catherine Pritchard says:

    I just love this @hellopilgrim dress. Please please could you draft a pattern for it. I’m just about to start the Washi dress too. I’m finding regular big manufacturer patterns do not fit so well so just starting to alter them for myself but lacking the confidence to do a full dress without a pattern myself.

  31. Shosh says:


    First I apologize for my English

    Gorgeous dress … and I want to sew me …

    How do I buy her figure?


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