30th Birthday Party Dress!

Do you have a design inspiration sitting on a Pinterest Board that you just haven’t got to make yet?  That was this dress.  I thought the time might have passed, the shape of the bodice, the common nickname of the handkerchief hem.  You might have said I missed the timing if I described the vision to you.  But then!  It all came together.  

The Fabric

This started with a rummage through the stash and we found this amazing fabric! It was a piece we had got at Darn Cheap Fabrics when they had the Port Melbourne store.

At the time we were looking for fabric for Oaks Day and found an amazing green fabric which was just what we were looking for. But this fabric kept calling to me. So Erin convinced me to get 4 meters and it will be perfect for something one day.

This was the day! Nothing was more perfect for my 30th birthday dress than purple checks.

Next was to head to the Pinterest board to see which inspiration photos would come together to compliment this fabric.

The Pinterest Board

These were the key images that inspired the final design. The upwards-shaped bodice was a lovely design line and then I saw Anne Hathaway wearing a stunning pink Valentino number at Cannes and was sold on the shape!

For the skirt I really wanted to showcase the square geometric design of the fabric. While we love a full shirt, gathers felt it would distort the lines and a circle skirt cut through the strong lines of the pattern. When I found the image of the last skirt it showcased both a full skirt and would show off the lines of the fabric.


To create the off-the-shoulder pattern I started with Butterick 6129 a combination of the standard bodice with sleeve A but without the pleated sleeve.

After testing the bodice to check the size I made a few changes such as combining the side panels into one (this helped with the pattern matching) and adjusting the front bodice neckline.

Fabric Cutting

With such a dominant line pattern matching was essential. Setting the fabric up with a strong line on the fold for the centre front and then the horizontal lines matching up at the selvedge it was ready for pattern piece placement.

Joining the side bodice together into one meant that the panel could be placed on the bias. It created such an exciting feature! To help prevents movement in the fabric I fused the side panel with interfacing.

For the construction of the dress, I used a drill cotton lining. The pieces were block fused with boning in the seams.

The finished dress

Some Me Made Outfits

Dad wore a Lauren J Ritchie Millinery hat which he paired with a red silk tie.

Erin made a version of the Minna Dress by Schulz Apparel in a black-backed organza fabric with a raspberry and gold pattern.

Mum wore a long-sleeved version of Butterick 5850


Photographer: James Christie
Dress design and pattern maker: Lauren Ritchie
Headpiece: Lauren J Ritchie Millinery
Bodice Pattern base: Butterick 6129
Fabric: Darn Cheap Fabrics
Shoes: Wittner
Location: 89 Eureka Sky Deck
Florist: In Full Bloom South Melbourne