Be-zazzled Franken-dress


Finally, I made a new dress! I haven’t had much time to sew properly since before New York, so on Sunday and Monday I carved out some time especially to knock out a fun new frock. Plus the fabric’s a bit special too…


This is a true Franken-dress by design. The bodice is a sleeveless Darling Ranges, with the shoulder line extended out to make cut-on cap sleeves rather like the Burda 7078 I just made.. The skirt is from the Grainline Alder, lengthened by 3″ from my previous ones.


The patterns fudge together fine since you can just adjust the gathering at the top of the Alder skirt to match the bottom bodice edge. I could well have just used my v-neck Alder piece for the top, but I think the DR is just a slightly better fit around the chest and shoulders for me.


I love the drama of the full, swoopy Alder skirt at the back, especially when lengthened. Lots of swish-factor!

kimono sleeve

Tip for converting a sleeveless dress into a kimono sleeve: you’ll want to raise the pitch (angle) of the shoulder line or you’ll find it a bit tight and hard to move your arm up and down. You may also need to drop where it hits the bodice by an inch or so for more wiggle-room. I’m sure there’s a more technical way to make this adjustment, but eyeballing the angles and drawing straight lines worked for me.


OK, the fabric! I was really excited to be asked by Zazzle to try out their custom fabric offering recently. You can choose from their premade design library (there are some really cute ones), customise a design, or upload your own design entirely – which, being the control freak type, I went for. It was super easy to add my design (a simple moon and stars repeat that I made in Illustrator) and I was amazed that the fabric took only three days to get to my door from the US.


(I didn’t mean to have the print going in opposite directions on the bodice and skirt by the way, oops.) This is a Pima cotton, described by Zazzle as ‘high-quality, luxurious fabric… extremely soft to the touch and easy to work with…’ I’m REALLY happy with this fabric and would say the description is totally accurate. The handle reminds me of a cotton sateen but without the stretch – it’s smooth and silky, more drapey than crisp. The print is good and sharp and it doesn’t have that papery or coated feel like some digitally printed fabrics do. It had a slight inky smell but that was removed in the prewash (a 40 degree delicates cycle). Zazzle promise no colour fade despite their eco-friendly inks, and I didn’t notice any fading in my prewash. I’m keen to see if that keeps up as I wash the dress some more.


I’m really pleased that this dress turned out how I imagined in my head, and that it’s super unique thanks to the Franken-pattern and me-designed fabric. The question is will I ever make a non-buttony-up dress again? The jury’s out.

Zazzle gave me a voucher to try out and review their fabric printing service. Views my own!

21 thoughts on “Be-zazzled Franken-dress

  1. AvatarHeather

    This looks so awesome! I really have to get my butt in gear and sew up a Darling Ranges dress. And thank you for sharing how to make the kimono sleeve – I love that little detail.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I love the Darling Ranges, fit me nice out of the box and so nice and easy to sew! I want to try the tunic blouse version, too.

  2. AvatarKirsten

    I love this combination of patterns, it looks so good! Your fabric is gorgeous too. I like the moons facing opposite ways on the skirt and bodice, I thought you’d done it on purpose :)

  3. AvatarFiona

    I love how you play around with patterns to make them into just what you want Katie, the alteration into kimono sleeves is a great one to know! Love your bias faced hem too!

  4. AvatarDeb E

    Love your dress! I especially love how you shared details in how you altered things, combined different patterns, etc. I’ve done that before, too, and cut my own patterns from clothes I’ve found in shops that I especially loved the fit of. It’s actually a very logical & easy process, but I’ve noticed others look at that process as being ‘impossible’ for them. You make it appear very ‘do-able’, which is what folks need! Love the print, too! Thanks for sharing all the fun details.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Deb, absolutely, a lot of people seem fearful to stray from patterns and instructions as written but it’s very freeing to be able to mix things up a bit. And not hard at all!

  5. AvatarKatie

    Glad to hear the fabric was fast and good quality! And I love this dress!! I love both the Darling Ranges and Alder – and combining them is awesome… The DR bodice is better for me too, and the Alder skirt gives it a new shape on bottom! And I haven’t made a dress with a zipper in months… maybe a year honestly (can that be true?!). But I’ve got BHL’s Kim on my sewing table right now!

  6. AvatarAnnie

    impressive, you’ve got the fit exactly right. I adore your fabric design, sometimes the simplest designs have the most impact, you look lovely.

  7. Avatarsallie

    I love this pattern mashup!! And the fabric is so special! I’m always curious about those digital printed fabrics because I’ve bought some before that were super horribly off grain, or had that weird paper-y feeling you described. You’ve got me very curious about Zazzle!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Yeah, I was very impressed with it! I’ve just washed my dress and it came out of the machine lovely, barely creased.

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