Seamingly Crafty

Sew, craft, cook, and more!

A knock off rockabilly dress

on March 14, 2013

This has been a dreadful month with all the upcoming events and holidays not to mention the glitch which has caused a great delay on our tax refund. I have been under tremendous stress which leads to panic attacks. I don’t like taking my meds for it because I’m not a medicine person. I’d much rather find relief a different way. For me, being behind my sewing machine helps! So that is where I have spent a majority of my time this month working on random things.

Recently my daughter came to me with a photo of a rockabilly dress she found on google that she must have. I looked into it and the cost was too high for our budget so I decided to try and make the dress myself.  So I hit the internet, pinterest and fabric store pattern books to try and put together a dress for her.  After much debate and consideration I finally found the perfect match ups for the dress.

The original dress she found is a Hell Bunny Motley 50’s dress.

The dress is gorgeous!  I must say I’m so glad my daughter and I share the same taste in clothing 😉

I am going to share with you the way I made my version of the dress. My version of the dress is quite different from the Hell Bunny dress.  For starters the bodice is longer.  The band goes all the way around to the back instead of stopping at the sides.  The back of the bodice is not smocked, instead the dress is fitted to fit her I also made sure it can be taken out in the waist.  The pockets and the collar are not rounded I found it much easier to make them square.  And finally because I could not find the embroidered anchor for purchase I hand painted them on the pockets instead.

First I came across this awesome tutorial on how to make a simple circle skirt on .  The pattern can be found here.  I used this method to make the bottom of the dress.  I did not cut the seams in the skirt. I only cut one seam to allow for the zipper.

For the top of the dress I used New Look pattern #0168 Dress A

I chose this pattern because it had the band (collar)  I also used the thick straps.  To make this work for the way my daughter wanted the dress I did not use the midriff, instead I carefully cut each piece of the bodice 5″ longer.  This pattern comes with many mix and match options 🙂


There is a flaw in the directions of this pattern!!

When you are making dress A the directions will tell you to baste the straps onto the bodice front, then your next step is the band. DO NOT DO THIS! Although I knew better I had a total brain fart and followed the directions only to have to remove the entire band and straps! The  band must be basted before the straps or the straps will end up under the band flipping it up.

I used satin ribbon for the stripes for the collar I used heat n bond to attach the ribbon before sewing it down.

I also did not sew the straps to the back of the bodice and I made them longer so they can tie in the back like a halter.

Once the bodice was complete I attached it to the skirt.  the top of the bodice has a hook and eye and a 14″ zipper that goes down about 4 inches into the skirt.

I had my daughter put the dress on for about the 10th time so I could cut the skirt to the length she wanted.  I find that it is much easier to use bias tape on the hem of circle skirts.  Trying to hem it would have taken me an entire day and it would still be wrinkled, so instead I made bias tape out of the same material I used for the dress and attached it to the bottom hem of the skirt.

For the top of the pockets I used some scrap white satin and cut it asymmetrically then just cut a basic square pocket.

I hand painted the cute anchor design on the pockets.  And finally attached the white satin ribbon to the bottom.

My final step was the bow for the top left of the bodice.

We wanted the dress to have some poof at the bottom so I whipped together my simple petticoat. ( view the tutorial here)

photo ©Stacey Austin

And here is the final result!

photo ©Stacey Austin

photo ©Stacey Austin

photo ©Stacey Austin

This was my first time piecing together patterns to create something.  I am pretty pleased with how it came out and Caitlin couldn’t be happier!!

If you love vintage looks and for a wide variety of amazing dresses and clothes I urge you to check out  more awesome designs by Hell Bunny Check out their facebook page by clicking the picture below!


15 responses to “A knock off rockabilly dress

  1. I want to make this dress for one of my dolls. would you know of any free patterns for a dress like this? i can’t really afford to buy them.

    • I will do some research for you and let you know what I find.

    • Jennifer, I did some searching and I came up with a few things. First; you can use my tutorial but scale down the patterns to fit your size doll.

      Better; I found a link for a dress that is the closest to the dress I’ve made here. it is a pdf download. I’m assuming you are dressing an 18″ doll ie: american girl.
      For the skirt, measure how long you want the dress on your doll and make the skirt pattern longer on the rounded edges.
      For the bodice, you will need to make your own “collar”. Take care to sew it on so the strap is behind it when it is right side out.
      For the straps, skip sewing them to the back of the bodice instead close one end before turning right side out (this way it will tie behind the neck.
      For the pockets they are pretty basic pockets, use a pencil and mark where you want them, measure, cut, paint, sew. 🙂 The cuff on the pockets is a satin, you can probably find this in the scraps section at your local fabric store for really cheap. you can also use a wide ribbon. sew the cuff onto the pocket before you sew the pocket onto the dress. Keeping note it is an Asymmetrical cuff and the button goes on the wider side.
      For the paint; To keep it simple you can just paint the lines on the bottom of the dress and on the collar.
      For the Petticoat; use my instructions for my petticoat, but scale it down to fit your doll. I’d say about 75%. my daughter is 5’6″ so you can do the math if you like to scale it down to 1’6″ 🙂

      If you get stuck along the way message me here and I’ll help out 🙂

    • Oh ok Well same case all you have to do is measure the the dolls waist etc. and add the difference to the 18″ doll pattern. 🙂 Let me know if you get stuck.

  2. 메간 Megan says:

    Love it! In your experience, is using a pattern difficult? I’m working on one now and would love some pointers!

    • No it isn’t. Just follow the instructions. I recommend simplicity for beginners. They give a pretty basic pattern and instruction making it as simple as possible. What are you working on?

      • 메간 Megan says:

        I’m actually working on the exact same pattern, the 2176. I’m going to alter it into a Lolita dress.

      • Ok be careful of the flaw in the instructions. I noted it in pink in my instructions. 🙂 please share a picture when you are done. I would love to see it! And feel free to ask any questions you have. I’ll be glad to help! Happy sewing. 😀

  3. Helen says:

    What an amazing dress you made! I came across your blog because I’ve been looking for a pattern to do my own Hells Bunny dress. You did a wonderful job of recreating one and your daughter looks fantastic in it!

  4. […] bookmark!!  I have referred to this site on more than a couple occasions.  The first time on A knock off rock a billy dress. Post.  It is great to learn and have around for sure! Before you know it you will be making circle […]

  5. amy says:

    Oh my goodness, is this cool or what?!? Great job!!!! 🙂

  6. tammie says:

    love it …can wait to see it in person 🙂

  7. […] ← A knock off rockabilly dress […]

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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

CBS Chicago

Chicago News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Chicago - CBS 2 TV | WBBM Newsradio 780 | 670 The Score

The Sewing Garden

A Place To Learn and Grow

Buzy Day

The adventure of NikkiM

ice cream magazine

................... for lovers of ice cream. Your free on line magazine for sweet frozen treats. Recipes, inspiration, artisanal ideas for your delectation.


creating, growing, planning, living and capturing a well-crafted life

Life With my Kids

My experiences as a wife and mother, homeschooling, and caring for a family. Health, nutrition, and natural living.

Writings of a Mrs

Follow my journey to writing, Blogging and publishing my musings..

One Tree Photography

Sew, craft, cook, and more!

G. E. Gallas

Writer and Illustrator

Pepperbox Couture

Reduce, reuse, recycle - the sustainable design style

Winter Owls

Owls, art and life

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Sew Vac Outlet (Humble Sewing Center) Blog

An informative, education blog for anyone interested in Sewing, Embroidery, Quilting, Serging and more...

%d bloggers like this: