On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress

Since I’m asked all the time what I’m working on, I thought it would be good for me and you if I let you know every now and then. Plus its always fun to see a garment go from inspiration to pattern to fabric to construction to finish. As per my post this past Monday, I was inspired by that Garnet Hill dress to create something similar. The dress in and of itself is really not anything to write home about, but I have to say that I’m diggin the effortless simplicity of it. I actually had a perfect candidate for a dress to create a pattern from and one that had a similar feeling of the Garnet Hill inspiration with a few welcome additions like pockets too. (Visit my rub-off post for more info on how I create a paper pattern from an existing garment. Or here too, if this is a topic that interests you!)


This is my original dress. It was on the sale rack at Target last year and after trying it on and loving it, I thought why not. I wore it a bunch during the summer and it was uber comfortable and easy to pair with shoes and accessories. I don’t know about you, but in the last year I’ve realized that not everything in my wardrobe needs to be handmade (nor do I have time for it to be). There’s a consignment shop that I frequent and a couple of thrift stores that I live near that I also make it to every once in awhile. I also purchase items on sale. I purchase only those things that I love, that already fit and I know would mix and match well. I used to purchase things that I thought I would refashion and after realizing that, for me, these types of things only end up in my UFO pile, I decided to change my direction with thrifted items. I love seeing awesome refashions, but have to say that I just don’t ever really do them. So I made rules that I abide by when I thrift or buy things on sale. Do you do this? Do you refashion a lot of things or do they end up in a UFO pile for you too?



Back to the issue at hand, I’ve wanted to recreate this dress for some time and after seeing the Garnet Hill catalog, I thought I was long overdue for a little easy dress. I picked this dove grey rayon/silk blend – the same fabric as my pink walrus jacket – and I thought I would add in some black linen here and there to create some break up of the grey. I’m envisioning adding a lining, adding a little more length to the bottom of the dress (its a tad on the short side) and adding yoke pieces and a hem band in the black. Simple, sure, but it will most definitely get worn and that’s important.

What’s on your sewing table today?

PS ~ Thank you for your fabulous thoughts on Monday’s post about fabric and pattern pairings. You’ve given me lots of ideas to address and I most definitely will, coming right up!


20 thoughts on “On the Sewing Table: Garnet Hill Inspired Dress

  1. Love the inspiration dress – very chic and easy to wear. That’s actually my favorite type of dress. Easy to wear and comfortable. On my sewing table – McCalls 6083 – jumpsuit, a peplum top, a wrap dress and a maxi skirt. I hope to have it all done by Saturday!

  2. Sunni, I just want to say I love seeing what you do. I envy your skills. At the moment on my “sewing” desk you’d find pieces of a mini birdhouse that painted by one of my twins and now needs to be glued together, a box of valentines, misc. stuff I’ve had to take from the kids and “hide”, and so much more but nary a bit of fabric. 😦 And so I will live vicariously through you and your projects for now. Happy Sewing!

    1. HA! The cry of agreement! My children are teens now, and sometimes I forget to clear out all the nooks and crannies of the work table, so I found quite the assortment of nerf darts in my linen stash this week. That and some small action figures that must have been a problem….five or six years ago.

      I am a ‘refashioner’ as most of my sewing is altering store bought that never quite fits. This evolved into vintage, then to thrifting, and now it’s quite the luxury to cut into fabric to sew from ‘scratch’. The stash is old and vast, so I only seem to venture out for thread and zippers anymore.

  3. This is exactly the type of dress I could LIVE in spring-fall! It’s such a great dress on its own, and will be wonderful for layering.

    I’m thinking of adding a contrasting band at the hem of a skirt I’m working on. Would you mind sharing, do you plan to press your hem open or up? My skirt is lined, so I’m not overly worried about raw edges being exposed. But, I would be on a single layer garment like this. Thanks for any help!

  4. You know, I think this post touches on the “Wardrobe Architect” craze that the Coletterie seems to have brought up. I think it’s smart to focus on making things that you know you will wear all the time. It seems common sense, but so many of us spend tons of time working on items we won’t wear all the time because they don’t fit our lifestyle or our style. If a simple Target dress ticks all your boxes, why not replicate it? A project doesn’t have to be fancy to be great.

  5. That dress will be lovely:). On my sewing table: a clone of a pair of trousers that I love that are awaiting a zipper and a (hopefully) wearable muslin of NewLook 6150.

  6. i love the inspiration dress! reminds me of the pattern runway kimono dress, which i’ve been meaning to make for basically forever… on my sewing table… trying to get a few kid pieces done for when spring decides to show up, then back to sewing for me!

  7. It’s a great style – I’ve made a couple similar to this. It’s funny isn’t it once we get right into garment sewing it can feel harder to justify purchasing something RTW – my brain says ‘nah, I can just make that…..After I’ve made the million other things on my last!’ Ha! I’m finishing up a stripey top, then starting the muslin for a silk jersey draped dress for my best friends wedding…..

  8. I recently bought a casual dress from Target, too! I also shop at thrift stores, but not to refashion items. I saved back some things from my own clothes that I thought I might refashion, but I’m finding out it’s really hard to have enough fabric to work with — so not my favorite thing, but since I’ve already got the clothes, I may give it a few more tries. Sometimes I do find great fabric yardage at my thrift store, though.

  9. That looks like such a comfortable dress! I’d love to have a dress like that. Right now, I’m trying to sew a top out of some Liberty lawn, but other jobs around the house keep getting in the way.

  10. I made alot of clothes using a rub off pattern- it does take the guesswork out of everything. I also refashion- mainly because clothes rarely fit straight from the rack!

  11. I’m the same with refashioning! I was in op (thrift) shops yesterday, but just cannot get my head around buying something that doesn’t fit me. This dress looks so perfect for summer, I can’t wait to see your finished result. I’ve just finished a shirt for son and a Sorbetto tank for me (trying to stashbust) and I have another Sorbetto on the table, plus another shirt for son. Getting boring…

  12. Your thoughts on handmade vs. rtw mirror my own buying philosophy almost exactly. I don’t have time to make everything I wear, and when I do have time to sew, often I want to sew something fun. I try to shop at consignment/thrift shops as much as possible but I do buy new off of sales racks periodically. I don’t really like shopping that much but I realize that I do have to get dressed. Currently on my sewing table: a modified Barcelona skirt. This is far and away the most flattering skirt I have ever found for my figure. I’ve made a bunch over the years but lost weight last summer and have to make a size smaller – this time I tried shortening the skirt to mix it up a little. It’s a pretty simple pattern so a good one to pick for my first time pattern hacking. Seems to have worked so far….

  13. I’ve got a couple of things on my sewing table right now:
    An Alma blouse in a light blue challis. True story: I was all ready to sew it up, but realized everything else on deck to sew needed the black thread that was already on my serger, and I couldn’t bring myself to change the thread for one project.
    A Georgia dress that will be made from a nice floral stretch sateen.
    Oh, and a grey wool trumpet skirt (fabric from your shop!). This will sew up quickly, but I’m worried that I ought to muslin it first, so haven’t gotten it started yet.
    The first two have both been through a few rounds of muslins, so I’m pretty confident about the fit. I’ve been off to a slow start with sewing this year, partly because I’ve been working in some knitting projects.
    I must say the Georgia dress is not the most practical thing for me, but I think it will be smashing, so I may find myself inventing appropriate places to wear it.

  14. With RTW I just ask myself if this is something I can and will make soon. I haven’t progressed to button down shirts or pants/jeans so I but those. I’m working on building my work wardrobe. A nice top (right now it being a pullover) and a straight skirt is my work “uniform”. I just can’t do thrift stores. It’s hard for me to dig through the long racks and find something or buy a large shapeless dress and make something new from it. A friend of mine is an expert thrifter. She’ll find nice stuff (Ann Taylor) with tags still on. I find silly cat sweaters from 1983. Lol. So I just don’t bother with it.

  15. I love shopping at thrift and consignment shops, but I don’t buy things that need extensive alterations. Shortening a hem or sleeve, lowering a neckline: I can do. Sometimes sewing something is going to be either too difficult for me or too expensive, and that’s when I go to my favorite thrift and consignment places…probably a quarter of my wardrobe I’ve sewn, a quarter I’ve bought new, and the rest is from thrift shops etc. I buy brand names and quality items only; classics that are timeless.

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