Apparel · Sewing

When You Can’t Afford It, Sew It!

Are any of you out there Christy Dawn fans? I love (LOVE!) their style and want to own every single dress I see on their website. However, since I favor both my arm and my leg, being able to buy one at any time is not always a viable option for me, unfortunately.

So then, that leaves the inevitable question: What should I do if I am coveting Christy Dawn but just can’t afford it??

Well, you make it yourself, of course!

I’ll get right into it. One of the Christy Dawn dresses I’ve been eyeing since the very beginning is the Bianca dress.

I love everything about it, from the 3/4 sleeves, square neckline, the easygoing, flowy, “Little House on the Prairie” vibe, etc. It’s a little bit country, a little bit 70’s boho…Just dreamy. The funny thing is, as I was sitting admiring this dress, and also lamenting the fact that I would have to sacrifice several weeks worth of groceries for my family just to buy one, I had the sudden Lightbulb Moment:

I already have this dress in my possession.

If you follow my past posts, you may remember when I made my “Quintessential 70’s Dress“. For that particular make, I used the Butterick 5956 pattern. Upon further inspection, can we agree that if this pattern is in fact, not THE Bianca Dress from Christy Dawn, then its a reeeeeally darn good dupe instead??

My Butterick 5956 pattern that I found on Etsy. Being that it is a vintage pattern from the 70s, it came already cut out and was several sizes too small for me. I absolutely could not pass the opportunity to own this, so I snatched it up anyway. It’s one of my most favorite vintage dress patterns that I own to date!

So far, I’ve already made one Bianca dupe. It was not in super eco/regenerative fabric that a true Bianca is made from, but that’s ok with me. I still love mine in good ol’ fashioned, lovely cotton. I also made this dress at a HUGE fraction of the price that it usually runs for over at CD. You can refer to the post link above if you would like to see extra sewing details for my dupe dress.

My first Bianca Dupe

For my first dress, I managed to pattern match the too-small size to my personal measurements but it was no easy feat, as it was my very first time at pattern matching in general. I think I did a good job with this one, but my one issue is that the neckline ended up being a little too wide, leading to slipping shoulders and me having to adjust it often when wearing this dress.

Still, I wanted to make another B5956/Bianca. I had recently acquired the prettiest woven cotton plaid from a wonderful, family owned online fabric store called Cottoneer. I had to be patient and wait for the print to restock with enough yardage, but when I finally got my fabric, I was so pleased with the look and feel of it.

Not only were the brown/beige hues of the plaid exactly what I was looking for, but the little daisy detail adds such a sweet touch, I think. I also really like the fact that it is homespun cotton. I feel it just adds that much more to the “natural/country/boho” vibe that I wanted this dress to have. It is texture woven, so you definitely feel it, but it is still very soft and wears nicely. My only issue is that this fabric frays like crazy, so it’s best to get your cuts and sews in as quickly as possible, and make sure you finish your seams really well, either with a serger or an overlock or zigzag stitch.

For sewing, I already had my modified B5956 pattern pieces ready to go. However, a few weeks ago, I had stumbled upon a newer, more modern dress pattern online that is extremely similar to the Butterick–the Simplicity 8926.

Dress A is pretty much the exact same dress as the B5956 minus the ruffle at the bottom. I liked that I was able to get this in my correct size, so of course I made the purchase. The ruffle at the bottom is an easy add-on, so I knew I would be able to make a Bianca dupe with this new pattern as well. Plus, I also wanted the added bonus of being able to have the top and pants pattern for future makes.

Directions for sewing the Simplicity was different, and a little more complicated than the vintage Butterick, but once constructed, the dress ends up looking the same from the inside out. The only real difference is the front and back yoke. On the Butterick, it is actually easier because the Yoke pieces are already pieced together. All you need to do is sew the front and back at the side seams. For the Simplicity, you have to construct the 2 yokes from scratch. This took a little bit of careful placement and making sure I had the front and back pieces separated properly from the arm hole panels. It was tricky, but not mind boggling.

creating the square neckline

I opted for different sleeves than the ones in the Simplicity dress. I did the 3/4 cuffed bishop sleeves like the Bianca dress has. However, I did manage to goof a bit and cut off too much fabric from the main sleeve before adding the cuff. The sleeves end up hitting right at my elbow when I would have preferred to have them sit below, like how they do in the original Bianca and in my first dupe. Oh well. I can always choose to take the sleeves off and cut another pair because I do have some extra fabric, or I can just let it be. I choose the latter.

For the main body of the dress, I had to take some inches off as usual to account for my shortness. I went even further to take off a little bit extra because I wanted this version to be short enough to show off my cowgirl boots. For the ruffle I just used the pattern piece from the B5956, shortened the length a bit, and attached it to the bottom via gathering. Easy peasy, and it worked out perfectly.

My finished B5956/S8926/Bianca dupe dress. I did not make a matching sash this time around because I find I’m more fond of the loose, natural look as opposed to being cinched in at the waist.

At the moment, it is waaaaay too hot to wear this out anywhere in my hometown, so my dress probably won’t make it’s debut out in the world until much later in the month when Fall weather really kicks in. Hopefully it won’t be too long. You just never know with SoCal Summers. Our “Summer” could last anytime up ’til the end of October!

I’m thinking this could be a perfect pumpkin patch or apple picking dress…Or Thanksgiving Dinner dress, perhaps??


7 thoughts on “When You Can’t Afford It, Sew It!

    1. Hi Mandy! Hope your Summer is going well and you aren’t melting in the hot weather like we are. 🥵 I’ve been a little slow on sewing and blogging lately..That style of dress is pretty popular right now still. If you’re willing to do a little web browsing or shopping I’ll bet you could find some! Try Target. They cater to a lot of the cottagecore style 😊


      1. Hi! Yes, it’s hot here in Tennessee as well. Thankfully most everything is air conditioned. Thanks for the ideas…may try to look for some. Meanwhile, I love your posts! Keep ’em coming…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Well that was darn handy. I own these two exact patterns and was debating on which one to use for a recycling project. Your yolk comments were very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I was able to help! So it looks like you are going with the Simplicity then? Or mixing the two as I did? Either way, they are both gems. Happy sewing!


  2. Good your choice make dress pattern. Right your choice Bianca dupe. Beautiful look & ferret fitting dress sewing you. I like. All photo wearing dress very nice.👌

    Liked by 1 person

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