Ginger Made: Vogue V8511, or The Slightly-Late Dirty Thirty Dress

I'm finally done!!!!!

Finally done!!!!!

I’m finally done with my birthday dress!  “Wait,” you’re saying, “wasn’t your birthday, like, ages ago?”  Well, yes, but Hurricane Sandy + birthday weekend away + Thanksgiving + numerous silly and annoying setbacks with the dress = here’s my birthday dress, now!  Let’s just say I’m continuing the celebration for the whole year!  (And, now that I’m thinking about it, I jacked up my knee right before my b-day, so this dress would’ve looked pretty silly accessorized with a knee brace).

I went to Mood thinking about color– I had just switched over my seasonal wardrobe, tucking away my bright, pretty sundresses and replacing them with gray and navy sweaters.  I’m not sure why I gravitate towards dark, drab colors in the winter, but I decided that I wanted a bold color for my birthday dress.  I was instantly drawn to this silk– it’s an attention-grabber and an instant mood-lifter!

My plan was to use Simplicity 1873, which I had hoped to make once before but didn’t have enough fabric.  I thought I was in the clear this time around, but I was foiled again!  I didn’t notice that my lining fabric was a little shy of 45″, and I couldn’t quite squeeze out the dress.  Unfortunately I had already started cutting out the main fabric, but I dug up Vogue V8511, an out-of-print Very Easy Vogue pattern and was able to cut out the dress very carefully using the pieces that I had already cut.  (This is one of those patterns with a lame-o envelope, but once I saw the adorable versions of this dress that Neeno and Shivani made, I had to have my own!)

The pattern came together quite easily.  I tinkered with the bodice fit a bit, but the skirt is unaltered.  The dress is fully-lined with a lightweight silk, and I realized that the dress was going to be floppy and sheer even with the lining, so I went back, seam-ripped, and underlined the whole thing with silk organza.  I love the effect of underlining– the organza gives the dress body without adding much weight.  The skirt in particular looks worlds better now!

To be honest, I had so many silly issues with this dress (like the miles of seam-ripping and hand-stitching I had to do to underline the dress) and I was so disappointed that I had to abandon my original plan that I sort of hated the dress the entire time I was working on it.  I kind of figured that this would hang unworn in the back of my closet for years, but when I installed the zipper and tried on the fully-assembled dress for the first time, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it!  I love the shape of the skirt– it’s so fun, but not over-the-top.  I also love that there’s the merest hint of a sleeve, which is really flattering and sweet.  And the hem rises up just the tiniest bit at the front to show a peek of knee, which is a longer length than I usually wear, but it works in this dress.

If I make this pattern again, I would draft a back vent or kick-pleat.  The slit is fine, but a kick-pleat is much more hard-wearing and elegant.  After looking over these photos a bit more, I’m realizing that I didn’t get the bodice to fit as perfectly as I’d like to have.  But I can live with it and I love having a colorful new dress in my wardrobe!

How about you guys?  Do you find yourself bored with bland, dark colors in the colder months?  Or do you rock the classic black-on-black NYC winter look and love it?  I’m plotting ways to add pops of color to my darker outfits (I’m thinking I could wear this dress with a navy boyfriend blazer, gray boots, and chunky, bright jewelry… what do you think?).  Just look how exciting navy looks paired with bright tones!

All three of these are silks available at!

Silks from Mood

What are your favorite ways to wear colors in the winter?

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112 responses to “Ginger Made: Vogue V8511, or The Slightly-Late Dirty Thirty Dress

  1. Your dress is such a happy colour! It looks great on you. And happy belated birthday!

  2. Donna

    I love the dirty thirties dress – that color is fantastic on you!!

  3. This is lovely!! The skirt pleating is so flattering, too. In our mild climate I really just layer up more and keep my colors consistent all year. I look lousy in black and white!

  4. i love it.. i’m always for bold colors and loud prints too, but especially in winter time.. my dirty thirty bday is in a month and a half, i must make something as gorgeous as your dress, to wear to the party :)

  5. Beautiful-it fits you so nicely and I love the color!

  6. You are adorable. That is a great dress and I love the bright color! It suits you:) I’m also happy to hear that I’m not the only one squeaking projects out of too-little fabric:)

    Great job dear, and Happy Birthday!!


  7. Fantastic dress! I love the color – it’s great on you. It makes you look like you’re only 29 ;-)

    I’m also just amazed at your tenacity – I would never have finished it, with all that re-doing!

  8. i love yellow. that dress is gorgeous! happy belated birthday.

  9. Your dress looks fabulous! And it’s a great color on you!

    I also gravitate a lot towards darker colors, but I try to mix in bright jewel tones to spice things up.

  10. This colour looks great on you and I love the shape of the skirt! Sounds luxurious as well – underlining and lining. With winter I veer towards a pop of colour, say a bright cardi or skirt, rather than all over light colour. By the way I got my necklace – I love it. I’ll wear it on my next project photo!

    • Thanks Katy! It does feel very swishy and luxurious with all the layers!

      I like your strategy of using bits of color instead of allover. That sounds really fashion-forward! And I’m so excited to see your new necklace! Aren’t Stephanie’s pieces so cool?

  11. I’m glad that you stuck it out, this dress looks fantastic on you! Happy belated birthday!

  12. wow – great colour! and great dress – it looks fab – definitely worth all the hard work. Belated birthday wishes! I love bright colours in the winter time… I like bright woolly scarves and hats and sweaters. And madly bright socks. Also, I carry a very loud (garish) umbrella – I love colour!

    • Thanks, Shivani! Your version of this dress really sold me on it!

      Now I think I need some really bright winter accessories! I have a bright gold scarf that I LOVE, but maybe I need a crazy hat and pair of mittens! I love color, too!

  13. Damn, I wish I looked good in that shade of yellow. You look fabulous, dude! I usually wear dark neutrals in the winter, but I’m trying to switch it up this year :)

  14. Bright, happy, and the fit is great! Makes me want to make a dress for our Solstice celebration…

  15. Looks good!

    I always find myself craving color this time of year too, but most of my clothes are still dark and dull. I’m going to have to remedy that, especially now that I’m teaching myself to knit and can make sweaters in brighter colors!

  16. Wow – it looks awesome! Ginger, you are rocking that dress and yellow looks fabulous on you! As for winter colours, sadly I always just wear drab gray and black for everyday garments, but when I need a “pick me up” hue hot pink it is for me!

    • Hot pink is a great color (especially with gray)! I was thinking of that, too, before the yellow caught my eye! I subjected my poor bridesmaids to hot pink dresses, which was really fun. :)

  17. Your dress is gorgeous! And I love the colour. I greatly admire your persistance on the lining, definately worth it. :)

  18. Love this color! I am of the louder the better school, so loving this dress is a no-brainer for me.

  19. What a happy colored dress! Sometimes persistence pays off in spades.

    I tend to swing back and forth with color. Sometimes I do the NY all black thing and other times I crave loud colors. My Lady Grey Coat (Colette Patterns) is the color of a traffic cone and always makes me happy.

  20. Zoe

    Totally cute! It suits you so well, both the colour and fit. Definitely can see this with navy and grey as you say. xxx

  21. You, madame, are a ray of sunshine! That dress just fills me with happiness!

  22. You are my hero! To go back and underline it – wow that would have been a huge effort.
    I wear lots of black to work but love to wear bright jewellery, scarves etc. once spring/summer arrives I’m all about bright colours and prints on the weekends.
    If I could get my hands on brightly colored fabric for a pencil skirt I would absolutely wear those to work!
    Gorgeous dress and such a nice shape… I think I have that pattern :-)

  23. Lovely color and dress! It’s really, really classy. And congrats for persevering! You are making me think that I should start the birthday dress process now in time for April! :)

  24. Jenny

    Fantastic! I love that you picked such a vibrant color.
    I don’t believe there is any such thing as “seasonal colors”–what nonsense! :)
    Navy is one of my favorite neutrals–it works with pretty much any color and isn’t as potentially gloomy as gray or severe as black. It’s a friendly neutral!

  25. This is SLAMMIN’!!!!!! You are hot hot hot. I wish I could sew a dress to fit like that…really stunning. Good work!

  26. love the colour (and the dress), just what you need during the winter months to brighten your spirits!
    I too find myself gravitating towards dark colours in the winter but with a splash of colour as i’m not a fan of all black. Then brights all the way in the summer.

  27. Just awesome and suits you perfectly! Happy belated too!

  28. Yes Happy belated Birthday! You could definitely rock this awesome dress with some boots and a blazer for a winter look! It’s adorable on you! I wear a lot of grey in the winter…

  29. Awww finally! The dress is darling and you look like a movie start in it! Red lipstick is the only accessory you need to go with the dress :) My wardrobe is packed with bright colors and my “sewing mission” is to add more dark colors to them. On my opinion, people on the streets look so boring in blacks and grays! Nothing kicks up good mood as much as a pinch of color!

  30. Such a perfect dress on you and Yay to colour!

  31. Gorgeous! The color is awesome. I love wearing color but I do sort of get drab and boring when it gets cold. Definitely wear this with a navy blazer and boots!

    • I can see you rocking a bright yellow! Sometimes it seems like so much work to have fun dressing in winter. Between puffy, unflattering coats, practical winter footwear, and my unisex hats, I feel pretty ugly when the weather is cold! Maybe some fun colorful accessories are in order?


    (“ray” seemed too timid.)

    gorgeous, birthday girl!

  33. Amy

    Happy thirty!! Perfect celebratory birthday dress. I love colors in winter. Fuschia, definitely!

  34. Ooh, I love color! I do find myself gravitating towards slightly darker hues when the rainy weather sets in, like burnt orange and mustard yellow, but I still try to incorporate a little color in every outfit.

  35. Yay for the belated birthday dress!!! I love everything about this on you – the style and of course – the COLOUR! And what a colour it is!!! You wear yellow so well :) Gorgeous!

  36. Such a fab colour dress – and the fit looks great too. I like to have pops of bright colour in the winter, especially red or yellow. :) xx

  37. Lovely dress!%)

    I try to use some bright accessories for winter time, also I have some red jumpers%))

  38. Amy

    So fun! A birthday dress indeed! Its shape reminds me of the Elisalex from By Hand London.

  39. You wear it well!!! I love that color!

  40. Jo

    Wow, great job persevering! :) I love the bright and cheerful colour, well done :)

  41. I love this dress! I never dare wear yellow, because I can’t work out what shade of yellow would suit me, but this just looks amazing! I think since I find it quite hard to dress up most of the time, I LOVE putting lots of effort into a really bright lovely dress for a special occasion, and this has definitely inspired me!

  42. Despite the drama, this dress is absolutely gorgeous and it looks perfect on you! Omg, that color!

  43. Kat H

    Gorgeous! I’m so impressed with how well you wear yellow – it’s such a lovely colour, and it always looks dreadful on me. :-(

    I love wearing bright, rich colours in winter – too many people in my town go about in black/grey/white all winter, I try to add some fun into it. I discovered years ago that if I wear colour, my mood is also brighter, so winter needs colours in my wardrobe. ;-)

  44. Beautiful birthday dress!! When I first saw the photo, I thought “didn’t she say something about winter and switching wardrobes?” – you’re totally right to go for this beautiful yellow silk. And the princess seams from the shoulder make a perfectly fitted bodice!

  45. This is the perfect colour dress for winter, what a great idea! And I love that it’s your (belated) 30th Birthday dress too, what a cool way to embrace turning 30, I’ll need to male something equally as cool for mine in a couple of months (eeeek!)!!!

  46. You always look so adorable! That yellow color looks great on you.

  47. A head turning dress this one! Just shows, perservere, something good can came out of a stuff up!

  48. That yellow is so freaking flattering on you! I think the fit is great, and you look amazing in it! Perfect dirty thirty dress…

  49. Love this so much! The yellow makes this frock pop and you look AMAZING! Well done on going back and underlining- that takes a lot of dedication :) In winter I go crazy colours now- viva la mustard and purple!

  50. Tiffany

    Better late than never! It looks awesome on you!

  51. puu

    the yellow is lovely! definitely a cheerful addition to a winter wardrobe.

  52. The shape and color are fab… This is a great bday dress

  53. I am going to put you in my pocket because you are just too awesomesauce. I love love love your dress so much! The color is STUNNING on you, and I’m definitely a fan of the skirt shape – it’s perfect here. Well done and happy birthday again!!

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  55. Beautiful dress! I love the yellow on you, and the skirt length is so elegant. I actually have this pattern in my stash…I’ll have to dig it out and give it a go!

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