fall wardrobe: dresses

Can you believe tomorrow is the first day of September? I’m always sad to see summer come to a close, even though we get a few extra weeks of warm weather here. When back-to-school season rolls around, I can’t help but look forward to a fresh start, a new season.

I have a lot of projects on my list for fall, and the list of dresses is no exception. I re-read yesterday’s post and laughed a little because, for the most part, the skirts are pretty basic–and in basic colors. That’ll happen when you go for five years without buying new clothes, selling or giving away what you have, and essentially starting from scratch. You need the basics! Anyway, while some of the dresses on my must-have list are great foundation pieces, most of them have a little more personality than the skirts. I’d like to whip up eight new dresses, with an eye on one or two more, time permitting. For now, I’ll focus on the eight. Pattern and fabric choice are included, so feel free to sew along with me. I’d love to see your projects!


Vogue 9197: I loved this pattern the moment it came out. I’ve been looking for a pattern with a fitted bodice and sleeve options, and this perfect. I can also use the gathered skirt from the pattern or draft any number of my own, making the options for this dress unlimited. I also love the jewel neckline and the French dart, which will be nice when I sew lace or something on the sheer side. I’m going to use this pattern more than once, first in a navy eyelet I got in Nashville and then in one of these gorgeous prints from Promenade Fabrics:


Vogue 9201: I’d love view B with the bow from view C in a pretty olive sateen. I love, love, love olive for fall. It’s so rich and autumn-y. It also looks fantastic with brown leather boots and bags, which is one of my favorite combos. I’m much more likely to wear brown than black. I’ve ordered more sateen from Fashion Fabrics Club than I could ever count, so they’re a great place to start if you love sateen as much as I do. Great prices too. This is what I’m ordering.


McCall’s 7084: This is a great shirtdress pattern, and I love the sleeve options. I’m doing view B in an olive linen/cotton fabric. It will make a great transition piece too, and later I can still wear it with tights and boots. I ordered the fabric so long ago that it has sold out, but this olive linen is a nice alternative if you’re interested.

McCall’s 6696: Another shirtdress, I know. I am obsessed with this style right now. I’ve made this one once already, in a white cotton ottoman for a concert in June. This design appeals to me because of the midriff piece. I’ve cut this out in two fabrics for fall: a khaki twill with a self-drafted skirt and a navy floral cotton with the original skirt (view B).


Butterick 5878: I love this pattern. I’ve made it once, in a pink floral rayon challis, and it is the most comfortable dress I’ve ever worn. I didn’t want to gather all those panels (even though the design is adorable), so I drafted a full circle skirt onto the bodice. I love it, and I wore it to brunch on Saturday and got quite a few compliments on it. This time, I’m going to make it in a dark navy rayon challis, maybe with white lace trim.

Vogue 9202: Another classic, versatile pattern. I love the neckline and the fact that it has sleeves. Other than tailoring it to fit me (if need be), I have no intentions of changing this design. I love the shaped waistline seam. I have two gorgeous sateen prints from Promenade Fabrics, so I’d love to use one of those for this dress. It would be gorgeous in a solid color too.

FallDressPatterns10Butterick 5878 with a self drafted skirt.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my project list for tops and jackets, and then the sewing can begin. Can’t wait!


  1. Janelle | 10th Sep 16

    Hi there! I also just found you actually via searching pinterest for circle skirt maxi skirt ideas and from there bounced to your blog and then to your instagram. I feel like I have just found my style and sewing soul mate! I think I will be sewing along with you as here in Sydney Australia we are just coming out of winter so these style work perfectly for our early spring weather. I also have a shape that can’t do shapeless, I need definition and the fit and flare silhouette with a more dressy look just makes my heart happy! I really like you eye for patterns, its harder to get cheap patterns here but I have added a number of these to my list for our next Spotlight (our version of Joanns) sale.

    • Emily | 11th Sep 16

      Hi Janelle, I’m so glad you found my blog! I’m so excited about my fall projects, and I have tons of helpful tips and tutorials to post in the coming weeks that I hope you find useful. If you ever have any questions, let me know! Happy Sewing!

  2. Lauren | 1st Sep 16

    I found you on Instagram and I’m excited to follow your blog too. Your style is similar to my style and I’ve really enjoyed seeing what you’re going to make for Fall. I’m especially eager to see what tops you pick, as that seems to be a difficult category for me. There are a lot of baggy, shapeless patterns out there that don’t do a thing for my figure. I’m also fairly new to sewing… so I’m limited a bit by my skill level/courage to try something difficult. Thanks for posting this!

    • Emily | 1st Sep 16

      Hey, Lauren! Welcome! I totally agree with you about the tops. I tend to wear a lot of the same thing (tees and tailored blouses), because I can’t really pull off the shapeless tops either. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to seeing my waist and when it disappears under a blouse like that I feel like a blob? 🙂 Vogue 9002 is a little shapeless, but done in the right fabric (something lightweight and flowy) might be just the thing for us. Let me know if you work with any of these patterns, and let me know if you have questions about anything. I’m happy to help! Happy Sewing!

      • Lauren | 1st Sep 16

        I like the raglan sleeve on that one too. I added it to my cart for the next pattern sale. I added a few others to my fall list too, and I can’t wait to see how yours turn out.

        • Emily | 3rd Sep 16

          Hey! I snagged a bunch of patterns on sale at JoAnn yesterday, but it looks like they’re on sale on the McCall’s website now too. Thought you’d like to know! 🙂 https://mccallpattern.mccall.com/

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *