The Picnic Dress Finished! Simplicity 3965

It’s done! My summer dress is finished in the middle of November. Totally impractical, I know, but so much fun to make and admire on the dress form. And now I can look forward to wearing it when Spring arrives!

Here’s the original inspiration – Betty Draper’s picnic outfit:And here’s my picnic dress! What do you think, have I captured that 1960’s summer vibe? (PS. I’m freezing!)

I loooove this dress. It’s as girly as it gets! Pink, flowers, full skirt, bow-tied belt. I feel so feminine in this swishy skirt! It’s definitely a ‘cupcake of a dress’ as Karin commented last week.

If you’ve just stumbled across this post – welcome! Here are earlier posts highlighting some of the construction steps on this dress:

I do have to admit, this dress turned out slightly tighter than the last version, because of the different fabric used. The vintage floral is much stiffer than the rayon fabric for the Twin Spruce Dress, and doesn’t allow for deep breaths either! (If this is a Picnic Dress, then I won’t be eating very many picnic snacks…)

I should have done what Claire aka Seemane suggested and left extra room on the waist stay for a little wiggle room. (Here’s the link to her helpful diagram.) You guys are so smart!

My shoes are from Nine West, purchased back in January 2008 from Macy’s in Seattle. (Because I know you’ll ask! I love these, I had no idea that grey four-inch patent leather pumps would become such a staple in my shoe wardrobe… but I reach for them all the time!)

Yes, Betty wore it to a picnic… but I’m thinking it would be nice for a summer wedding? Family get-together or BBQ? Either way, I’ll be looking for an excuse to wear this one out!

I like this shot with Mr Sewaholic’s shadow creeping in the foreground:Doesn’t it look like a warm summer day in these photos? Let  me tell you, it was not, so I took the rest of the photos indoors:Back view – lovely, tidy hand-picked zipper! (Read how I did it here..)

Because I know you’ll ask, here it is, inside-out!

What do you think? Personally, I’m thinking that it’s time for some winter sewing projects. Too cold to take good outdoor photographs!

If you want to see more photos of this dress, stop by my Flickr account here!

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92 Responses to The Picnic Dress Finished! Simplicity 3965

  1. Judy November 9, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Great fit and beautiful fabric!

  2. Ginnie November 9, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    It’s perfect! It’s amazing how much difference really taking your time and perfecting each step can make. This dress is gorgeous (as are you,of course) and it’s an inspiration!

  3. louise November 9, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    the inside is remarkably tidy!!!
    love the back neck line, really nice shape showing off your shoulder blades :)

  4. Tanit-Isis November 9, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    It is lovely, and I agree it would be perfect for attending a summer wedding :)… not so perfect for Canada in November, even if you are in southern BC ;).

    I think I’m obsessed with coats right now. I just want to sew warm, warm, warm!

  5. Dora November 9, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Gorgeous! I love the fit, the neckline, the perfect gathers on the skirt, and how generally happy it looks. I agree, it would be great for a wedding.

  6. Patty November 9, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    I love it, of course! I can’t get enough of floral fabric and the style is perfect! And it LOOKS great, even if it’s a little snug! Just think, the ‘real’ betty draper – what sort of tortuous undergarments would have been under HER dress – super snug, and not good for extra picnic snacks at all!

    I think the dress is versatile – works for BBQ (although, I’d have to stay away from BBQ sauce in a white dress :-)) to a wedding. I love that about a good dress, it can dress up or down!

    I’m now obsessed with finding a nice pair of grey shoes.

  7. Karin November 9, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Well done! It looks fantastic and very much like Betty’s. It definitely plays up your small waist and looks retro/trendy.

  8. Jeni November 9, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Absolutely beautiful work and you captured the Betty Draper style wonderfully. thanks as well for the handpicked zipper tutorial – very clear and useful!

  9. eilane November 9, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    Olá Tasia, lindo seu vestido, acabamento impecável. Parabéns.
    Eilane – Brasil

    Hello Tasia, her beautiful dress, flawless finish. Congratulations.
    Eilane – Brazil

  10. Samina November 9, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    Gorgeous, yet again! I can’t decide which dress I like more – this one or the previous one. They’re both so beautiful & they fit you fantastically.

  11. Judy November 9, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    Hi Tasia, your dress is very pretty and beautifully made. I think it’s a good idea to make summer dresses during the winter as they cheer us up and remind us that summer will come again!

  12. Lipstick Jane November 9, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Very nice. So pretty & the inside is unbelievably perfect. Could you tell us more about the lace trimmed hem? Or have you covered it previously in another post?

    I am amazed & awe at your sewing talent.

  13. Jane November 9, 2010 at 7:10 am #

    It’s beautiful.

  14. Cecili November 9, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    Amazing! Your dress is a beauty and you look very good in it. It’s so pretty I’d wear it all the time, picnic, wedding, shopping, whatever^^

  15. Jane November 9, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    It’s beautiful

  16. Amanda November 9, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Wow, this dress looks so professional! The inside is so clean with that lining. I’d love to get to the point where I could make the inside so nice on dresses!

  17. Claire (aka Seemane) November 9, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    Tasia your dress is absolutely darling!! :) I particularly love the neckline… maybe you you could make a top from the same style – take the bodice pattern pieces & add a fun ‘n’ flirty pepulm to the bottom – it’d go fab over some trousers or a pencil skirt that way?

    Oh, & I’m lovin’ Mr. S’s arty-shadow effect

    P.S. Thanks for the name check ;)

  18. Marta November 9, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    Everyone’s already said it but this dress looks wonderful! It’s so fun to see all the details of construction. Thank you for always taking the time!

  19. Moeno November 9, 2010 at 7:41 am #

    I think I’m in love with the back scoop of that dress and I like your neckline more than the one that Betty is wearing (which would be annoying to choose a bra with!).

    Invisible zippers have been my go-to closures but the more I see them the more I like the handpicked zips. Hopefully I’ll be using your tutorial soon!

  20. sisters4saymoreismore November 9, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    oh my gosh!!! so beautiful!! totally retro and yet modern all in one! it is perfection!


  21. Mandy November 9, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    It’s beautiful!

  22. Toria November 9, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Oh, it’s fabulous! And you look lovely in it, am very jealous!

  23. karen November 9, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    That is one BEAUTIFUL dress. You deserve to feel very pretty indeed.

  24. Corinne November 9, 2010 at 8:27 am #

    Stunning! As are you, your smile says it all! I also prefer this front neckline profile over Betty’s. .I think this dress is a hit no matter where you wear it. With our more casual lifestyles, this is a very “dressy” dress. In the 60’s it would have been a picnic dress. I remember my dear Aunt had a dress much like this, she made it, she was an expert seamstress. With hers she wore these adorable high-heel straw covered wedges with open toes and a decoration of fruit and flowers on the top. By the way, she was arriving at our annual 4th of July picnic!

  25. CGCouture November 9, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    So cute on you! I think it will be perfect for a summer wedding or picnic. It’s just the perfect blend of dressy/casual to do lots of different events. :-)

  26. Darci November 9, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    Beautiful with just the right amount of girlie twirliness! Love it!

  27. Karin van D. November 9, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    I love it, the dress is gorgeous! And you look very pretty in it, if I may add.

  28. Elizabeth November 9, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Gorgeous! I love that print. Beautifully constructed dress.

  29. Shannon November 9, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    I love this dress. I also love how the back neckline dips down. This is so feminine and pretty. I just know you will love wearing this, I sure would. Beautiful work!

  30. Clare November 9, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    I like your version the best! You look beautiful in it, I hope you get to wear it lots when it gets warmer!

  31. Bettina November 9, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    This dress ist so wounderful! I like it very much!
    Greetings from germany, Bettina

  32. Alana November 9, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    So pretty, Tasia! Are you wearing a petty-coat underneath or does the skirt just have that much body?

  33. Cindy Sue November 9, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    OH you look adorable! you could always throw a vintage sweater over the top and go out. I do wish I could sew this well, but what inspiration you are! TOOT SWEET!

  34. Angela November 9, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    What a beautiful dress!! It does look like summer and that you should be at the park or by the lake having a picnic. :D

  35. Sherry November 9, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Beautiful! And it will be so pretty for a wedding, I’d even wear it to the beach with some cute flat sandals!
    Even though it is unseasonal, during winter it will give you lots of cheerful vibes each time you open your wardrobe door!

  36. Lizzy November 9, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    OH!!! WOW and more WOW!!! I love it!! the fabric, the style, the fit! You are SO talented!!!!! the inside is just neat, …..all my sewing are a mess in the inside hehehehehe
    LOVE the shoes!!!!! so girly! poor of you freezing out there!! it doesn’t matter you finished it in november, as you say you can wear it next summer not for a picknick…it is so beautiful and well done that it deserves to be shown in a wedding party!

  37. cindy November 9, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Beautiful! The fit is fantastic!

  38. Lois November 9, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Couldn’t you add a little on to the stay ribbon where it isn’t attached to the dress?

  39. Susan - Knitters Delight November 9, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Fabulous! The inside is just as nice as the outside, too.

  40. Rachel November 9, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    That is really beautiful!!! It is just starting to get cool here in Alabama, and I have been having this desire to sewing spring and summer clothing, too. I have no idea why except that I have enough fall and winter stuff for no more cold weather than we have.

  41. Venus de Hilo November 9, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Adorable dress, cupcake!

  42. Katherine November 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    You have captured the spirit of your inspiration dress perfectly. I love the bow detail. Thanks for sewing us all your steps.

  43. Tilly November 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    It’s so pretty, Tasia! I’m just about to reveal my Betty Draper project but I think you’ve won the cuteness contest! And it even looks great inside out…x

  44. Marie November 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Tasia, this is devine! It’s uncanny how similar both the pattern and your fabric are to your original inspiration. What a perfect fit as well!

  45. Rachel November 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    You look stunning! And very picnic like. It may feel tight, but it looks perfectly fitted in the photos. It really makes me want to do a handpicked zipper!! Gorgeous (as always!).

  46. Amy November 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm #


  47. Wanett November 9, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    It’s gorgeous!! You can totally make this in winter appropriate fabrics. It would look great in wool.

  48. Gail November 9, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Such a pretty dress and beautifully made. Take a holiday down under for summer so you’ll get some wear from it before the cold sets in.

  49. Spikeabell November 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    Love it, especially the back scoop neckline. well done!

  50. Funnygrrl November 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Great dress! I love the idea of allowing ease in the waist stay.
    Get your “Don Draper” in a 60’s outfit and recreate the MadMen picnic…next spring.

  51. Nancy H November 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I’ve only recently started reading your blog, and this is my first comment… But this dress is stunning (especially on you!) and so beautifully made. I’ve very much enjoyed your tutorials as well. Well done–and please keep telling us about the beautiful things you make and how you do it.

  52. Stephanie November 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    The dress is adorable. Great work! I have finally given in too, and I am working on winter projects now. No more sun dresses for a few more months!

  53. Jill/laughbutnotloudly November 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Lovely! I love the neckline. And thanks for posting the link to gathering in your last post about this dress. I found it quite timely and most helpful!

  54. Bia November 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Ahhhh so gorgeous!!! I loved and it’s so nice the fact that you hand stitched your zipper, makes a big difference! Congrats!
    I’m doing a coat to my mum now and after that will be my summer dress, hopefully a Xmas party dress :)

  55. The Cupcake Goddess November 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    Oh I just love it! The fabric is so sweet and the pink flatters you so much! The bodice is so well fitted and the tie belt just really tops the dress off. So cute and so beautiful. It will be such a treat to wear some Spring and Summer. The zipper is fabulous too and I love the beautiful tidy work of the inside. Superb job Tasia!

  56. Misty November 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Your dress turned out beautifully! And it’s so cute to see how excited you are about it, what with the big smile in every picture, and so many pictures too! It does look like a nice warm day in those pictures, but being from the Pacific Northwest myself, I know that’s not what it’s like in November even when it is sunny outside. :)

  57. quietandsmalladventures November 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    i love it i love it i love it!!! and i want one….. such a great girly summery dress!

  58. Arya November 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    What a delightful dress! I particularly like the neckline, and feel that it is very flattering on you. Thank you for sharing it with us – inside and out. :-)

  59. Haylee November 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    I am IN LOVE. Seriously it is so incredibly cute. Can I buy it? haha seriously though you should sell dressed like these on Etsy. I’d totally buy one!

  60. Haylee November 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm #


  61. Fiona November 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    Congratulations – it’s PERFECT!! Now I must make my own (it’s getting ‘Spring-y’ in Aus finally).

  62. Anne-Marie November 10, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    This is gorgeous. I love it.

  63. Catherine November 10, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    Stunning! And looks totally gorgeous on you! x

  64. Casey November 10, 2010 at 4:38 am #

    It turned out so lovely!!! The fit is impeccable; and I just adore the silhouette. You should come visit me in Florida; it’s still warm enough to wear a sundress (at least in the middle of the afternoon)! lol.

    ‚ô• Casey | blog

  65. Angie November 10, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    Its beyond gorgeous!! You can come here to Arizona to wear your dress cus its still hot as heck!

  66. Leigh November 10, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Love, love, love the dress. Absolutely beautiful and beautifully made!

  67. Tasia November 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Wow! Thanks everyone for leaving so many wonderful comments!

    I know there were a couple of questions… no I’m not wearing anything under the skirt! It’s naturally a lot poofier than the first version of this pattern, as the fabric is a crisp acetate. Feels like paper – well it felt a lot like paper before it was washed, then it felt like sew-in interfacing a little :)

    So jealous of all of you who are in summery climates! It’s getting so cold here you have to wear gloves outside. Even walking to the post office and back (which is only a short block away) requires gloves and a scarf – yikes!

    I’m glad you all liked seeing the inside and the process on the dress. I think I probably said the same thing last time, but it’s great sharing the how-to’s with you all!

  68. Becky November 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    I’ll admit that pink and flowery isn’t really my thing, but it looks very nice on you. And I’ve enjoyed following your progress and all of the little couture details you’ve put into it!

  69. ruby slippers November 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    beautiful! turned out great and I love how the inside is just as perfect! :-)

  70. senaSews November 12, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    Absolutely stunning dress. You look adorable!

  71. vicki November 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    Just gorgeous!!!! Perfect in every way. And loved those shoes ;))

  72. frk.bustad November 14, 2010 at 3:53 am #

    What an amazing dress! Gorgeous! I’m absolutely speechless! And thanks for sharing all the technical stuff during construction.

  73. Alessa November 16, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Sooo beautiful! I love the fabric! And the swishy skirt! Oh, and the dreamy back neckline… I think I’ll have to get the pattern and make it myself. I got this cute grey floral fabric at the FIDM scholarship store in LA and I’ve been envisioning it as a dress like that…

  74. Gardenia Girl November 21, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Love the dress and the fabric and the shoes!

  75. amber November 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    You have no idea how much I adore this cupcake of a dress!! You look fabulous and I wish that I had one of my own hanging in my closet. :)

  76. Richard March 15, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    The dress is adorable; it’s made very well and you look great in it.

    Why is it taking spring so long to get here, BTW?

  77. Bella July 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I love the fabric. And you lined it…WOW! It is great & I bet Betty Draper would like one, too.

  78. Maria Olshin July 3, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Charming and delicious! But if you want to be faithful to the era that inspired it, you’d have to add four inches at least to the length of the skirt. Trust me, I’m old enough to remember that time. I didn’t make a dress with a hem above the knees until 1968.


  79. Christina Marie September 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi there,
    I just love this dress! How did you get it to be so full? Is it just through gathering or do the pattern pieces flare too?

    Keep up the fantastic tutorials and patterns!

    • Tasia September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am #

      @Christina Marie: Hi Christina! It’s just through gathering – the pieces are wide rectangles, not flared at all. Hope this helps!

  80. Julia March 27, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    So lovely! One day I’ll have equally impressive sewing skills!


  81. Andrea ( April 19, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I am IN LOVE with this dress!!!!! After hours of scouring eBay, I finally found a similar pattern. Now to find the fabric!

  82. Kacie February 5, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Wow…PERFECTION. Thanks for ruining all of my “to-sew” plans. I’ve got to stop what I’m doing and make my own picnic dress PRONTO! :) Absolutely exquisite craftsmanship!

  83. Caroline April 13, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    This dress is just adorable! Did you alter the skirt in any way, or is it just as wide as in the original pattern, which is quite wide?

    • Tasia April 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

      The skirt is the same as the original pattern – quite full! It’s the same fullness in the Cambie Dress pattern too :)

  84. jude August 14, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    I absolutely adore this. you have made it so beautifully as well – amazing quality of craftmanship. I am off to raid my mum’s pattern cupboard to see if she has this one!

  85. Rebecca February 17, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Wow, I love this so much! It represents every reason I started sewing, so I could make a dress like that! Haven’t made my first dress yet, for some reason I’m afraid, but I’m working my way up to it.

  86. Barbara May 3, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    I just found your amazing dresses by searching for a tutorial on underlining. I’m about to make a similar dress with a gathered skirt from a taffetta and while I will definitely underline the bodice I’m not sure I want to go the extra mile of lining the skirt, too.
    Would you recommend doing it though, does it make for a fuller skirt or does fabric like taffetta stick to your legs. I’ve made gathered skirts from cotton and those didn’t seem to need any lining or an underskirt. Thanks for any info.

    • Tasia May 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      You probably don’t have to line the skirt if you don’t plan to wear tights, or if you have a slip if you *do* want to wear tights occasionally. I wear tights often and so I like to add lining when it suits the garment. Hope this helps!

  87. Ashley June 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    Omg please make me one, I love it and I don’t sew at all. I am in love!!!


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