Wax Cotton open back dress


Sometimes you make a garment that fits well but somehow it doesn’t work with your other closet items. Besides the traditional white shirt I felt I wasn’t inspired by this skirt as it was. It needed a makeover.


I prefer to make and wear separates but some fabrics tend to work better as dresses, don’t you thing? For the skirt part of this dress, I didn’t change a thing from the original skirt besides removing the zipper and attaching a longer one with the bodice. The skirt pattern is the ultimate pencil skirt from Sew Over It.


I didn’t want to use a commercial pattern to match with the skirt. Designing is such a fun activity and is a skill that one must practice often otherwise is easily forgotten.


I have designed 10 patterns for myself so far. I don’t plan making them available as I feel my favourite pattern companies do a great job filling my niche. Seriously, be ready to drooow over Named new collection “new Back”. However one cannot deny the achievement you feel when you see someone wearing a pattern you designed. Have you seen my mademoiselle channel jacket made by Clio. Stunning!


For this dress I decided to play around the idea of an open back and shoulder ties. back3selftdraftedafricanprintdressopenback

Because the back ‘decotage’ I drafted a more conservative front and princess seams. I’m pretty pleased with the result.


I have worn this dress so many times since I re-made it. Yeah!  One of the times; during my commute to Sew Over It for their book launch a lovely lady on the escalators told me how much she loved my dress and wanted to know where she could buy it. I don’t think there are bigger compliments from total strangers.


I normally don’t like alterations on a finished item but adding a design element really made it feel as I was working on a completely new make.

Do you re-work your finished items?

  • Wow! such a lovely dress 🙂 It’s such a great feeling when you can rescue something that would otherwise not be worn. I recently rescued two half muslins – admittedly not finished garments – and made a dress which i’m hoping will see the light of day soon 🙂

    • Good save. Its much better to re think something and wear it

  • This is a gorgeous dress. I really like it on you, great job.

    • Thank you so much Lori

  • Yes Rachel, I agree, pattern drafting is such a great skill and practice, practice, practice.
    This frock looks great and you’ve got good pattern drafting skills.
    I pattern draft nearly everything, I am so slow, and always learning, but it feels so good when you’re done and your clothes fit right.

    • Thank you darling. Thats nothing wrong in taking it slow. happy drafting

  • Wow, you look stunning in this dress Rachel, great job in pattern drafting and I think the fabric is also fabulous! i just love those african prints!!!

    • Thank you Ida. African cotton look so similar to Brazilian “xita”. I love the bright colours

      • Didn’t know that, have not seen any xita actually.

  • kaitlynssimplyvintage

    Love this. Sometimes dresses are just easier to style. I haven’t really remade any finished items, but I have two early dresses I made that I don’t wear anymore due to fit/style, so I am unpicking them for the fabric. I feel if I made it myself i might as well get maximum use out of all componenets

    • Yes, dresses are a lot easier to wear in bright colours. Good idea to save the fabric of two early dresses.

  • Stunning! A real success. I love the modest front and wow at the back! This is an outfit to make the most of summer.

    • thanks sweetie! The bright colours really scream summer don’t they?

  • Oh it looks great! I do think this fabric works better as a dress than a skirt. Sometimes a bold print really does need to be the star of the show! Excellent pattern drafting as well.

  • Margo

    Beautiful dress! I almost always rework my patterns…that’s what makes it our own right!?

  • Love love love this!