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Fall Palette Challenge Week 1: Golden floral Lonsdale


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I’m starting off my Fall Palette Challenge with a bang this week.

This is my version of the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. Weeks ago, Tasia and I decided to swap patterns. She recently posted about the gorgeous Chantilly she made, so stop over and take a look!

But back to my dress, which I adore:

You’ll notice that I made a few changes. Most obviously, I was inspired by the dress seen in my moodboard, worn by a minor character on Mad Men, and decided to make the skirt narrow rather than full. I thought it would also suit my body a little better, and use up less of this rather, er, expensive fabric I ended up splurging on.

Because of the large print, I also cut the skirt on the fold, so there would be no center seam breaking up those bold flowers. Of course, I then needed to add darts to the skirt, both in front and back. And since the skirt has a fairly narrow hem, I added a short kickpleat to the back for mobility. So, the skirt is not at all the same, but I do love the original one too! I’m sure I’ll do one later. I really love these pockets.

As for fitting, I did a full bust adjustment and ended up adding both bust and waist darts to accommodate my ample bosom. I also have a high waist, so I shortened the bodice quite a bit. An inch a a half, I think! FBAs and bodice shortening are my usual adjustments, so no surprises there!

Finally, I decided to use an invisible zipper instead of a centered zip. I switched around some construction steps and attached the lining to the zipper, so I wouldn’t have raw edges at the back.

The floral fabric is an incredible, high quality cotton sateen from Italy, which I purchased at Britex on a recent trip to San Francisco, just for this pattern. I fell in love with this fabric instantly. It is incredibly soft and silky, and I thought the colors were perfect for a late summer transitioning into Fall.

Instead of a self lining, I decided to use a contrast color that would just peek out at the knot in front, and the bow in back. It’s an awesome bronze-colored lightly textured cotton. I also underlined the bodice in cotton batiste for more structure.

I LOVE this dress! I will definitely make more, probably aiming for a more casual look. But this little number is going to be perfect to wear for our 4 year wedding anniversary next week at a lovely Peruvian restaurant. Thanks again to Tasia for swapping patterns with me!

Don’t be shy about posting your own progress in the forum! I just started a brand new thread for everyone to post their projects as they go! I’ll be back next Friday with my next project (whether it’s completed or not).

Some related posts you may be interested in:

  • Fall Palette Challenge: In case you missed what this whole palette challenge business is about, you can start here.
  • Sarai’s moodboard: Here’s the moodboard and palette I created for my own challenge. You can see the inspiration for this dress as well.
  • Your moodboards: Take a look at what a few of the other particpants have shared so far!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 55


Wow, your dress looks fabulous! And I love your new haircut too.

Brandy Layton

This is just gorgeous! I love that this dress has pockets and the tie in the back.


Yes, the pockets are an awesome feature, and I love the way they’re constructed too!


Really stunning! That fabric is beautiful–what a great “splurge”! :) I cut out the Lonsdale at the end of August, and just haven’t had time to start sewing it up. Think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend! ;)


Wowzers! I hope hubby hasn’t seen this yet, because he’s in for quite the anniversary surprise. So gorgeous. Of course, now my sewing ADD is kicking in, and I want a Lonsdale :)


Ha! He did see this post, but I think it will still wow him in person. :)


The Lonsdale was my favorite dress I made those summer. Your version is so classy and I love the fabric. Well worth the splurge!


Agreed, I will definitely make more next summer! I’d love a seersucker version.

Caroline Doreen

I need to know what that fabric is and where you got it, stat! (Also, what the gorgeous pink stuff you used for the Peony was, because that fabric + that pattern + a black belt will make my redheaded life complete).


The fabric is an Italian cotton from Britex in San Francisco. The fabric for the Peony is a plain woven silk that we got at Mill End here in Portland.


I think that is a much better look with the narrow skirt. I bought this pattern but haven’t cut into it thinking it was more a summer dress but seeing it with a fitted skirt makes me think I will be making it sooner than I thought!


Wow – your Lonsdale rocks! It’s such a different (but equally good) look with the slimmer skirt. It looks great on you and that new haircut really suits you. Enjoy the Peruvian restaurant… I’m originally from Perú but now live in Toronto and sometimes I miss the food.


Thanks! I haven’t been to the Peruvian restaurant yet but I hear really good things about it!


I love the pop of contrasting color that the lining gives, such a good idea!


Yes! Originally, Caitlin suggested a subtle stripe for the lining, which I think would have looked wonderful as well. But then I saw this amazing bronze color and I was sold.


I love it! It really looks lovely on you! The fabric is perfect! I love the Mad Men dress that inspired you, too!


Me too! I love the fabric of the Mad Men dress as well, it’s so gorgeous.


Your dress is just. so. gorgeous! I have to say I really love the new skirt style…I would be tempted to make a dress similar to this – if I had the time or the skill!

Your fabric is stunning. Have a fantastic Anniversary dinner.

Vicki Kate

I would love to know how you put the zipper in so neatly. It’s the one thing that constantly bugs me on my projects as the inside of the zipper ends up so messy!

I love the fitted skirt on this, it makes it look so classy. I’ll be taking notes on how you did your FBA with the darts as this is something I’ll need to do when I make this. It’ll be next spring though as it is just too cold in the UK to wear something with no shoulders over the winter!


My book will have some info on attaching a lining to an invisible zipper. ;) It’s actually not hard at all. You just sew the zipper into the dress, then take the edge of the lining and sew it to the zipper tape. Much easier to explain with photos though!

The FBA on this is easy! For help with it, Tasia has a post with lots of FBA info! Once I did an FBA and spread the pattern pieces, I simply converted the slashes at the waist and side bust into darts.

I also made the waist dart into a curved dart. Because I have a large bust, curved darts help to get a better fit and emphasize the underbust area so there’s less bagginess there. They’re helpful for something very fitted like this!


Oh good, I’m SO glad that the zipper/lining technique you used will be included in your book! That’s the type of finish I have been wanting for my own garments, so tidy and professional. Great work on this dress!!


Stunning! Everything about that dress is wonderful; the fabric is divine and its so flattering on you. Congrats on your anniversary!


Your Lonsdale is beautiful! The fabric is gorgeous, and you did well to splurge on it =) I’ve been contemplating doing a slimmer skirt for mine as well (since the fabric I want to use isn’t quite enough for the fuln skirt), and seeing how lovely yours has turned out… I can’t wait to finish mine now, too =)


That looks amazing! I love all the Lonsdale dresses I’ve seen but probably wouldn’t wear one myself because I generally prefer straighter skirts … I hadn’t thought about changing the skirt! And your fabric is fantastic!


I love seeing how other designers interpret each other’s patterns, it’s been interesting watching both sides of this swap


Agreed! I really love what Tasia made too.


So lovely! I love the fabric choice and the fact that you added a straight skirt style to it. So chic and sophisticated. Totally gorgeous! You look spectacular in that print – perfect for early fall!


gorgeous! whatever you spent on that fabric, it was absolutely worth the splurge! it is so perfect and the dress fits you so well!


You are absolutely beautiful in this dress. I like the narrow skirt too. You will be turning heads on your anniversary. Amazing fabric. Love the detail of the interfacing. Everything looks perfect. I could rave on… love it!


You are absolutely beautiful in this dress. I like the narrow skirt too. You will be turning heads on your anniversary. Amazing fabric. Love the detail of the interfacing. Everything looks perfect. I could rave on…love it!


A beautiful golden dress and your new haircut is absolutely stunning!


Absolutely stunning dress! Congrats on the 4 year anniversary – did you mention in a previous post that you made your wedding dress? Any chance on doing an anniversary post – and showing off your wedding dress?


Yes, I did make my wedding dress, and I also bought the fabric at Britex! That’s a wonderful idea, I’d love to share my wedding dress.


A question for you, how much yardage do you think it would take to do something similar? Or how much of that gorgeous fabric did you have to work with? I have a lovely linen floral that I only have two yards (I believe it’s a 55″ width) that I was going to do a Sorbetto and pencil skirt out of, but if I could do this that would be great.


I bought 2.5 yards, and the fabric was 60″ wide. But I could have done it with 2 yards, easily.


Your dress is absolutely beautiful. I want to make this dress with both the full skirt as drafted and a slim skirt as you have done here. Somewhere on the web Gertie posted an inspiration picture of a Marilyn Monroe dress with fitted skirt, but a top like the Lonsdale, and I have been a little obsessed with the idea ever since.


Your Lonsdale is beautiful I especially love your fabric . The changes you made to the pattern are great I love all the versions of this dress .

Rachel Rector

Look at you, hot stuff! Such a beautiful version of this dress. I tried making one from a pretty cotton fabric with a large retro inspired orange & pink floral print but ended up having a few fit issues (I didn’t make a muslin…), realized that the skirt was too full for my style, and couldn’t get the knot to sit correctly in the front. I also added an invisible zipper (and followed your tutorial!). I would definitely try this dress pattern again with a lighter weight fabric and really dig the idea of attaching the lining to the zipper. I don’t think I have your skills to pull off all the other dart additions and what not, but hey, maybe a few mock up muslins would prove me wrong.

Where do you guys buy the bolts of gingham??


I think maybe I tied the knot too tight in these photos! I need to experiment with it a little bit.

The bolts of gingham are from Denver Fabrics!


Lovely! And the new do is smashing.


This dress is the bomb!

Xenia Katie

Perfect dress for this indian summer we’re having in Portland. Beautiful work!!! Happy Anniversary!

Suellen Tomkins

Saw the Mad Men pic on your mood board and loved it. Love what you’ve done with the Lonsdale dress – the straighter skirt adds a more sophisticated but casual look. The contrasting lining is a great touch too. Any chance Tasia may release this version of the pattern :) ? So clever.


The dress looks amazing! That’s what I had in mind for my version of the Lonsdale (once I am no longer pregnant!). Did you draft an entirely new skirt or significantly alter the pattern?


I altered the pattern, but ended up altering every seam and changing the grainline, so it’s almost completely different.

From what I recall, I removed the front seam allowance (so I could cut it on the fold, added waist darts, redrew the side seam curve, and redrew the waistline (the orignal skirt is a semi-circle, so the waistline is very curved).


This is beautiful! What a gorgeous fabric – wow. Lovely that you swapped patterns with Tasia.


Lovely, lovely dress! I have many of the same fitting requirements as you, so I’m really learning a lot reading about your sewing. Also, I’m going to borrow your underlining idea so I can make a Beignet out of cotton sateen.


great book and I love the dress

Atomic Mum

What more can I add to all the lovely comments above. I hope your evening is as lovely as your dress.


Your new do looks great! I love what you’ve done with the dress.

Daughter Fish

This is absolutely stunning on you! I really love your interpretation of this dress, and the colors/pattern are perfect. I would wear this in a heartbeat.


Wow! I just love this! Beautiful on you.

Lonsdale Fairtex BenLee

Lovely pallette… It really suits you :-)

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