my dream dress: vogue 8789

For years, I searched and searched and searched for the perfect lemon print fabric. I know this may sound silly (really, Emily, a lemon print? and years?), but something that specific isn’t the easiest thing in the world to find. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of options out there, but nothing stood out to me, and I wasn’t going to settle for something less than absolutely beautiful. Everything I came across was either a quilting cotton, poor quality, or featured the lemons on a black background. Nothing wrong with a black background, I just wanted something that looked a little more light and springy and a lot more me(Funny side note: I found an adorable lemon print fabric a couple years ago and used it for an apron design I had in my shop. I’ll post the pictures at the end of this post.)

It’s been so long since I first had the idea for a lemon print dress that I’m not entirely sure where it came from. For a couple of seasons, designers were doing interesting things with fruit prints, including lemons, so it could be that I saw something which sparked the creativity, or maybe I just had a dream about it. That’s definitely been known to happen. At any rate, I stumbled upon this fabric a few weeks ago, and all of my dreams for a lemon print fabric came true.

And it’s Fashion Fabrics Club for the win, again. I have a good laugh sometimes when I think about the fabrics I’ve found on that website over the years. I can go for ages without finding a thing and then, all of a sudden, find exactly what I’m looking for. As soon as my order arrived, I posted this fabric on Instagram and it sold out the next day. I’m sorry about that! It seems I wasn’t alone in wanting a fabric like this, and I wish there was more in stock for you to go buy. It’s a cotton/spandex heavyweight twill with a scattered lemon print, and I love it. I ordered 8 yards, because I wanted enough for two garments and a couple of aprons for me and my mom. Plus, I got it for $5.75/yd so it didn’t exactly break the bank.

Considering how long I waited for the right fabric to come along and my love for this vintage Vogue pattern, I wasn’t going to cut any corners in construction. I made two muslins for the bodice, and I’m glad I did. There were a few things that needed tweaking to get a nice fit: I shaped the front waist darts, took in about 1/2″ at the side seams under the arms grading to nothing at the waist, and pinched out fullness in the back.

I moved the side zipper to the back (personal preference), and cut the skirt in three sections instead  of four because I didn’t want a seam down center front. I also added side seam pockets. When I sew a muslin for a dress with a zipper in the back, I always cut the muslin bodice back on the fold, and pin myself into the bodice in the front. This makes it much easier for me to not only get in and out of the muslin, but I can get a more accurate read on how much fabric to pinch out of the back, which is a common thing for me to have to do.

The front view. I have only pinned on one half of the bodice so that you can see what the original looked like. I transferred these adjustments to my pattern, made another muslin to ensure everything fit correctly (it did), and then I cut my fabric.

I shaped the bodice facing pieces and drafted lining pieces to match. I also drafted a pattern to line the skirt.

I’m glad I invested the time into getting the fit right. Makes a big difference!

A peek at the inside, which you know is just as important to me as the outside. Vintage Vogue garment labels can be purchased on the Vogue patterns website.

The waistline stay, a nice (and practical!) detail.

The hem is 3″ deep, which I really like. I used the blind hem stitch on my machine to finish it.

Buttons at the shoulder. Because my fabric was on the heavy side and wouldn’t have worked for the loops, I used cotton poplin to make the button loops. Buttons are from JoAnn.

Inside of the front bodice.

I omitted the cummerbund simply because I wanted to save fabric and I’m much more likely to wear a thin belt with this dress, if I wear a belt at all.

This dress is everything I ever wanted and had envisioned for a lemon print dress, and it was worth the wait. It was also worth every second of fitting and adjustments and patternmaking and sewing and everything in between.

As for the pattern, I love it too. I have plans to make it again right away, in coral and navy blue. This is one of those silhouettes that looks good on just about everyone, so if you’re in the market for a ladylike dress I’d recommend starting with this pattern. Hard to go wrong.

And, finally, here’s the apron I designed a few years ago. What can I say, I love lemons!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Heather Myers | 6th May 17

    Great springy dress. Thanks for the info once again!

  2. Cissie | 6th May 17

    What a beautiful dress — inside and out. Just discovered your blog via Instagram and am so enjoying catching up!

  3. Jan | 5th May 17

    It’s just beautiful!!

  4. Judit Dee | 5th May 17

    This dress is perfection! I really need to dive into vintage dress patterns this summer! This one could be a great place to start! Awesome job Emily!

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      Thank you, Judith! I think if you get into vintage dresses this summer, this is a great place to start! I’m definitely making it again! <3 Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  5. Margaret | 5th May 17

    Wow, just Wow! I am a new reader of your blog and am so impressed with the beautiful quality of your sewing, lovely fabrics you choose and your style. Thank you for the inspiration and all your hard work!

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      Hi Margaret! Thank you for the kind comment! My blog isn’t even a year old yet so I’m still a newbie to the online sewing community, but I’ve sewing for years. I’m just happy there are other people out there with similar style who appreciate a pretty dress or two! Happy you’re here, and thanks again for taking the time to comment. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  6. Sherry | 5th May 17

    Your posts are always so inspirational! Will you educate me about the “waistline stay”? I don’t know the purpose or how to make and install. Thanks!

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      Hi Sherry! Thank you for your kind comment! Waistline stays are used in garments to keep the waistline from stretching, which can happen quite a lot with a skirt gathered as much as this one. Because grosgrain ribbon doesn’t stretch it just keeps everything in place nicely. Installing it is a snap. The edges are turned under and stitched, then I tacked it down by hand to the waistline seam in a few spots and added the hooks and eyes last. Then, you just hook it together before you zip up the dress. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Laura Grabow | 5th May 17

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress, the fabric and the suitability of the fabric to the pattern style. May I ask a question? How do you learn to fit? I know that you make a muslin but do you go from the muslin to tweaking the fit to a particular body. Do you have any books you recommend. Your posts our so helpful and I enjoy reading about how you choose patterns fabric and work on fit.

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      Hi Laura! Thank you for the comment! Great question. I learned how to fit in college, and then I got real world experience fitting other people when I did custom clothing for my clients a few years ago in business. By now I know my body pretty well and I’ve fitted so many things to myself that I’m familiar with the process, which helps. The more you do it, the easier it becomes! I absolutely have a book recommendation. It’s called The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen. You can find it on Amazon. Tons of pictures and helpful step-by-step instructions for fitting. Let me know if you get it! Thanks again, and have a great weekend!

  8. Faneisha | 5th May 17

    I absolutely love this piece! I recently found your blog and have been ogling over everything. You quality of work is impeccable.

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      Hi Faneisha, thank you for the sweet comment! I appreciate it! 🙂

  9. JeTua Amos | 5th May 17

    Are you wearing a petticoat underneath your skirt portion of the dress?

    • Emily | 5th May 17

      I’m not! I bought a petticoat to wear with this dress, but opted not to wear it the day I took these photos. There’s so much volume in the skirt you almost don’t need one. 🙂

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