Impromptu sewing: red lace-y dress

Yesterday Lucy reminded me that she needed to wear red to school today, for Clifford the big red dog’s 50th birthday!

She didn’t have anything red in her closet.
In fact I only have one red shirt.
And I only had 2 red fabrics in my sewing stash.   Weird.  I really do love the color.

So at 4pm I got busy….cause in the back of my mind I’ve had this image of a red stretch lace dress just waiting to be sewn.  I bought the above fabric 2 or 3 years ago at M&L Fabrics (maybe?) and then this summer Target had the very dress I was imagining! but it was too short for me and too large for Lucy (photo further below).  So this dress needed to happen.  I love it when a fabric finds its fate….or destiny?

I sorta made things up as I went (yea. constantly crossing my fingers with each section I sewed and cheering when it worked!)  I knew the lace needed a lining so I also found a dark red/mauve knit in the my stash. Then I used an existing dress to measure the bodice and arm holes.  I added a zipper in the back though it didn’t really need one….I just liked the stylized touch.  And I really wanted it to be an exposed zipper but was too tired to figure it out with the zipper size I had.  Next time.
I made the skirt a bit larger than the bodice and sewed both together with elastic in the middle to give it a bit of stretch.  Sort of worked but something I need to play with and improve.

I’ve always wanted to make ruched sleeves.  So I looked at one of my own shirts to figure out the shape, cut them from a single layer of the lace (no lining), sewed some elastic thread down the middle and Hooray!  I kinda can’t believe they worked.  Yay!  A cute red dress!  She and I both loved it.  In the morning I added a keychain ring to the zipper back for more bling.
And then I couldn’t stop singing this song all, night, long.
We gave the dress the playground test.

And compared it to the Target version (left photo via instagram @danamadeit)

Ready for Clifford Day.


  1. 2) steph

    She’s looking so grown up! Good work Dana 🙂 🙂

  2. Love love love this!! Isn’t it fabulous when impromptu sewing works out?

  3. way cool. Clifford would be proud. Fits her so so cute. 🙂

  4. 7) Jennifer F.

    Hello, SuperMom! I would be lucky to find the time to hunt for and purchase something red, much less design from scratch a FABULOUS dress. I can only imagine Lucy is completely thrilled with it – it’s fancy and functional. Nice work!

  5. 8) Eva Scott

    So stinking adorable! Looks great!!!

  6. 9) Katie

    Amazing! I just started sewing and hope I will be able to do something liek that someday! BTW – I like your version way better than Targets! Good job!

  7. You are the coolest Mom. ever. I want a red lacy dress too.

  8. 11) ruth

    Wow! Fabulous job!

  9. 12) Julie

    GREAT JOB “winging” it!! Adorable!!

  10. this is really really very super duper cute. The ruched sleeves kinda make it. And Lucy is working that red lace.

  11. 14) amy

    Clifford is a HUGE deal in our house – That is so awesome that Lucy’s school celebrates his birthday (hard to believe he’s 50!)! Love the dress paired with her Converse.

  12. Way to make it work! And the sleeves were the icing on the cake.

  13. 16) Liz Main

    You are my hero! Seriously, that dress is absolutely adorable. I still haven’t worked up the courage to sew any clothes whatsoever. Must…be…brave! Really great job!

  14. Ah-mazing! Anything I make that last minute is a train-wreck – you do it with style and grace. Well done, mama!

  15. super cute dress! again, so impressed by your posting speed too! 😉

  16. 20) Kristen

    Great dress! She’s lucky to have a mom who can just whip up a dress when she needs something to wear! 🙂

  17. I saw your cute dress on Instagram and had to come check out the finished project! It turned out fantastic. I LOVE when last minute projects work out so well! And that Target dress comparison is pretty fantastic.

  18. So cool! You should make one for yourself. Love it.

  19. 24) Emily

    So cute! Great work! I love it! I think it’s too funny because I actually just bought a lace dress really similar to this off a clearance rack BUT it is waaay to short to really be worn as a dress so since it was so cheap I actually bought material to copy it to make another one (a little longer…). Thanks for making this first so I am confident now it really can be done. Now I just hope mine turns out as cute!

  20. 25) kelly

    I could never have come up with something so cute. Lace really intimidates me!

  21. So cute! You are so awesome!

  22. 27) Connie in California

    WAY Cool!! It is so great to have a fantastically, over-the-top, talented Mom! Lucy is a very lucky little girl…….wait til she grows up and tells you how lucky she is to have a Mom like you!! Connie in California

  23. 28) Ana Rose

    Lucy is cute as a button. She could be Emily Elizabeth if she were in a pink cardigan, black circle skirt, and striped socks! THAT would have been the outfit for Clifford’s birthday celebration. She does like mighty adorable in here red dress! 🙂

  24. adorable dress! I totally want one. Happy birthday Clifford!

  25. I wondered if this dress was inspired by the Target dress when I saw it on Instagram! I bought the Target one in teal a month ago, and I’ve been wearing it with lacy shorts underneath. Who is short enough to wear that dress without tights or leggings?!

  26. You are such a good mom. You know, I still remember my mom making me a “red” outfit late one night when I was in 1st grade. You’re amazing.

  27. 32) bdaiss

    Cute! (But how did I miss Clifford’s 50th birthday? We love that dog…he shares a name with my FIL!)

  28. 33) emily

    so cute! I love it :o)

  29. 34) Eleena

    You make it look so easy!

  30. red looks amazing on her!
    I can’t believe how easy you make it sound… I made myself a couple skirts with that kind of lace and I found it quite difficult to handle, cut and sew…
    as for the cheering yourself at each step when it works out fine, I promise you’re not the only one to do so… and my ‘men’ often look at me as if I was nuts 😉

  31. 37) Alisa

    That is one very cute dress! You are very clever! I want one too!

  32. 39) Wally

    You are so damn good at this !!! It’s adorable ! <3

  33. 41) Lauren

    Your own little Emily Elizabeth is adorable 😉 And you are amazing for just “whipping” up that dress!

  34. 42) Shantel

    I really love your stuff!

  35. 43) Valerie

    Dana, you are an amazing Mom! Leave it to you to need something and figure out a way to make it happen. So inspiring! Love the red dress. Lucy is blessed to have a Proverbs 31 Mom.

  36. 44) Chelsea

    Too cute! I need to find a sewing machine so I can start learning to sew. Right now all I can sew are buttons. LOL

  37. 45) Sonja Doyle

    What a great dress! It turned out so perfectly. I didn’t realize Clifford was 50. Wow!

  38. 46) Ruth D

    This dress is sooooo cute and she looks adorable! I just love it! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us.

  39. Wow, Awesome dress! I love how the sleeves turned out. Your version is much nicer than the Target version. You’ve got to be the coolest mom on the planet. 🙂

  40. 48) MrlindaW

    You are incredible. WOW!

  41. Incredible! I can’t believe you “threw that together” in one evening. It looks even better than the Target version. Well done!

  42. 50) Jackie

    That is amazingly cute. My kids love Clifford, too.

  43. In some of the pics the dress almost looks like crushed velvet, such a great visual texture.

    I agree, some fabrics have their own destiny. I made a dress last week for my daughter, given the fabric was 30+ years old and given to me, this is what came to mind when I first glanced the paisley fabric. http://myworldinastitch.blogspot.com/2012/09/paisley-princess.html

  44. Dana, this dress is unbelievable! I love everything about it, it’s gorgeous! And you are so, so fast. Great job! And thanks for sharing. I may have to try making two for my girls, I just *love* it!

  45. 54) Andrea

    Your version of the Target dress is much cuter! You did a great job and your daughter looked extra cute in what you created!

  46. 55) Rachael

    Hi, I love this cute dress! Would love to wear it in my size!! I was wondering if you had an estimate (i know this was a while ago) of how much fabric you used. I found this super cute knit fabric online I want to use to make my daughter a dress and was wondering how many yards to by…let me know if you have any tips! Thanks!!

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