Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge!!

6:00 PM


Hello!  Today I am joining in with a fun series hosted by Liz and Elizabeth from Simple Simon & Company. Liz and Elizabeth  sent me an email recently asking if I would like to take part in their series (in its second year) - Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge.   The idea was to be given a terrible 'vintagesque' pattern and to transform it into something much more acceptable, and hopefully nice!  I decided to throw my hat in the ring and asked the girls to send me one of their best...I thought, "I love vintage, even bad vintage is good."  How wrong I was....you can imagine my delight when I received this 80's vintage dress pattern in our little letterbox....


Clearly Liz and Elizabeth must think highly of me to be able to do anything with this atrocious pattern!!!! You should have seen the size of the sleeve pattern pieces.  Photos did not do them justice, but let me say, they were big enough to wrap a sizeable gift!  I asked some friends what I could do with the pattern to make it nice...one suggestion was to add more volume to the skirt...ha!!

So what was I going to do with this beauty?  I decided the only things I liked about the pattern were the general style of the bodice and back straps (without sleeves), and the waistband.  So I kept those elements and I cut one of the skirt pieces as is (not on the fold).  I pleated the front and back of the skirt inspired by this dress I recently made. The dress is made of  a lovely soft creamy grey pinwale corduroy I had in my stash.

I actually thought I was going to have to pull the pin on Liz and Elizabeth at the eleventh hour as this dress was not looking so great half finished laid out on my sewing room floor. But I perservered and I think the finished result is definitely acceptable!  The opening on the side seam is probably a bit big and I will adjust it a little.  I used a vintage button for the closure.


I trimmed the seam allowances around the bodice and back strap pieces so I could add grey bias trim. I used some vintage green floral fabric I had to line the bodice and back straps to tie in with the vintage them. I outlaid a whopping $0 dollars on this dress, which is always a bonus!!


I won't tell Liz and Elizabeth what I did with the pattern when I finished with it, but I will tell you that we have been lighting our open fire this week and we have been super toasty!!

Thanks so much for having me Liz and Elizabeth.  This was really fun!

Make sure you head over to Simple Simon and Company to see all the other treasures and what some lovely ladies have done with them!!

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29 comments

  1. You did a great job with such a challenging pattern! I would have had no idea where to even start with that pattern!!

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  2. Thanks Ros!! The pattern was for sure a challenge and oh so ugly!!!

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  3. You did a great job making it into a very cute dress. I love the green on the inside. That is quite the challenge!

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  4. "...add more volume to the skirt" - well with these friends I don't think you need any enemies ;) And this pattern really is one of the worst that I've ever seen! But you did a greaat job and turned it into a nice dress!

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  5. ha ha, I LOVE this series!! but probably because it's not me that has to do all the hard work with such a mess of a pattern. You did an outstanding job Suz - I wonder if you'll sign up again next year!?!

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  7. Wow, that was quite a challenge! Amazing how you turned something so ugly into a beautiful contemporary dress!

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  8. I love how it turned out! I grew up wearing Daisy Kingdom, so this makes me nostalgic - although mine were never quite that full and frilly :)

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  9. Oh my goodness -I am laughing sooo much. Can't-stop-laughing! "Add more volume to the skirt" hahahahaha!

    You did great, Suz. That was quite a challenge indeed. What a fun series!

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  10. Oh my goodness...they really thought you had it in you to work with the worst of the worst. This pattern is pretty darn awful! You are amazing coming out with such a great outfit...that was a hard one :)

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  11. Wow! I can't believe that's the same dress. I love your modern, sophisticated take on the pattern. Just lovely.

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  12. An amazing transformation! You took something so dated and turned into a modern beautiful piece! Well done, friend!

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  13. CREATIVE you are, INDEED! Your "transformation" from a vintage "ugly" girl's dress pattern . . . to a stylish "in" design is AMAZING! I love the pale grey corduroy & green print lining are FAB. You persevered ... BRAVO for all your Mom's love sewn into this dress for your young girl. Sarah Helene in Minneapolis

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  14. Great job, the dress turned out great.

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  15. I had a Daisy Kingdom dress when I was a little girl! My grandma made it and even used the fabric from the Daisy Kingdom store. I loved it (I think I was about five); it had a big twirly skirt. These days I look at the pattern and wince a bit. I prefer fewer ruffles now.

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  16. What? No added volume? hahaha Seriously, you did a great job transforming the pattern into something cute and wearable!

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  17. Such a crazy challenge! I love your version and I'm a fan of the gray. Great job!

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