Ikat at Iolani


I’m so pleased to finally share this dress with you. I think I offered enough teasers of it here, here and here to pretty much show the whole thing before revealing it. There wasn’t even a special reason for holding it back, it’s just that I built up to it in stages and wanted to wait for good photo opportunities seeing as I love the dress so much.

Luckily I made this dress just in time for Hawaii – perfect photo chances if ever I saw them! (In fact I took about 700 photos in the 6 days there – don’t worry I won’t force you to look at them all!) But it was such glorious weather for posing!


I started with the bodice of a vintage pattern – Simplicity 5954, but took it in a couple of inches at the side seams and then adjusted the location of the bust darts. I kept the shape and size of the back bodice as I knew the extra fabric would be enough to be an overlap for the button placket. Then I raised the front neckline to be a scooped boat neckline.

I used a heavily modified version of Simplicity 5954

I used a heavily modified version of Simplicity 5954

I tried to line up the pattern in the middle and chose a line that would stand out and draw the eye as the fabric doesn’t actually repeat when cut in that width. I’m SO pleased with how well that centre line matches from the bodice to the skirt.



As much as I love this fabric (and it’s always extra satisfying when it complies with my stashbusting pledge), I wanted to add a bit of a contrast to it around the neckline. I spent a while deciding how to do this before finally settling on some black applique around the neckline…this involved making A LOT of my own bias binding, A LOT of measuring to check the celtic design would fit symmetrically (I did print a design and drew around it as a bit of a guide, but I had to keep moving it to get the size I wanted). Typically, once I had this idea in mind I didn’t want to wait until I had all the necessary equipment – I’m sure this would have been easier with some kind of fusible bondaweb or something, but instead I relied on HUNDREDS of pins. Literally about 100, I wish I’d taken photos of this step, but I was far too focussed! Once I’d pinned down the bias strips, weaving them in and out, I sewed down either edge of the strips = sewing binding down with 4 lines of stitching.



Then I attached the skirt to the bodice, because I wanted to keep the stripes completely vertical I decided to pleat the rectangle rather than gather the fabric as it was too thick. I also made some more bias binding which I sewed on like an inside out facing to make a nice neat hem, which I think also balanced the hem with the neckline.


Just to make even more work I then chose the smallest possible buttons and decided to sew them close together – just look at all those buttons! I love them!! I feel sure that Betty Draper would like this dress, especially the shape, even if she didn’t like the fabric.



And then we got to take lots of lovely photos outside the beautiful Iolani palace in Honolulu. It was rather nice to be wearing lots of my own clothes in all of our holiday snaps.


32 thoughts on “Ikat at Iolani

  1. Pingback: Me Made May Days 11-17 | dreaming of avonlea

  2. Pingback: Happy Birthday to me! | dreaming of avonlea

  3. Pingback: Satin Scoop-Back Dress | Mood Sewing Network

  4. So cute! I love the trim detail and the buttons down the back. I’m always a fan of lots of little buttons, especially in the back! It’s one of those nice, unexpected details that you typically can’t find in RTW clothing.

  5. Thank you for sharing. Excellent craftsmanship. Love the details. Perfect matching of fabric striping which is hard to do. Re-working the pattern to your design was quite a feat. Love the detailing with the buttons and the appliqued bias trim. Added bonus with the incorporation of the celtic design. (I like this alot and will store it for future use.) You look great in your dress and it looked like you had fun in Honolulu. I can envision you on the veranda of the palace at a tea party wearing your spectacular dress. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Pingback: I should have signed up for Me Made May :( | dreamingofavonlea

  7. Woah, girl! Another stunning creation…I especially love the fabric choice and that Celtic applique. I wish I could have seen that photo with the 100s of pins…but I have a pretty vivid imagination, and I’m picturing a pretty crazy sight! Props to you for knocking this one out of the park. (And great photo shoot, too.)

    • I’m almost tempted to use the same technique on something else just to get a photo. However I feel that it may be a bit of overkill and I’m not sure I can face all the pinning quite yet. I imagine it’s like working with chiffon in that I need to forget the pain before I can have a go again! xxx

  8. Wow I love everything about this dress, the pattern, the appliqué at the neckline, and the buttons look fantastic! This might be my favorite dress that you’ve made

  9. You are one crazy lady to use so many buttons I dread to think how long that took you, and that bias Celtic design! I am mega impressed, can you tell?!
    This dress has turned out beautifully, all those little details have come together so great.

    • I know! I felt crazy as I was doing them, but I loved the pop of blue with the orange so I threw caution (read control!) to the wind and went for a million button holes! xxx

I'd love to hear what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s