Melani Inspired Dress

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I recently came across a gorgeous Antonio Melani dress at Dillard’s.  It was beautiful, but very expensive.  As much as I loved it, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $170 for this dress.

So, I decided to see if I could make my own version of the dress.  The first thing I needed to do was find out if I could even get this fabric, or something similar.

The white part of this dress has a great texture, similar to a waffle weave, and I wanted my dress to have some texture too.  I decided linen would be great.  I went with a beautiful deep teal/aqua linen blend I found down at Let’s Sew.

deep aqua linen

Next was the eyelets.  Fortunately, eyelets are in fashion this time of year.  It made finding something much easier.   But I also needed eyelets with finished edges.  They’re a bit more expensive than a regular eyelet, but worth it to get the look.  The only problem was that I couldn’t get finished eyelets in the color I wanted – red.  Solution? Dye it myself.

dyeing eyelet fabric

I started with Tulip Red Dylon dye, which was easy to use and worked really well.  I just needed about twice as much as I had for the amount of fabric I was dyeing.  My finished product ended up PINK!  That wouldn’t do, so I picked up a packet of Rosewood Dylon (a slightly darker red) and redyed the fabric.  It came out a beautiful shade of red.

dyed eyelet fabric

I was particularly happy with how the two fabrics looked together.

linen and eyelet

For my pattern, I went with Kwik Sew K3783.  It wasn’t the exact same style as the Melani dress (nothing I could find was), but it had the right style of seaming in the body.

I made a muslin for this dress, just as I have done for all of the dresses I’ve made.  And I was REALLY glad that I did.  I had started with a medium instead of a small because, according to the pattern directions I needed the medium in the hips and waist.  Guess what?  I was gigantic!  I ended up taking an extra 3/8-inches out of all of the seams, except the center back to make it fit.

finished muslin

It still wasn’t quite perfect.  It needed some adjustments for my bust, but those would be simple and could be made in the final project.

exterior of bodice

Once I got started working with my fashion fabric, the dress went together really quickly.  The longest part of the entire process was turning the straps.  Oh, how I hate having to turn little tubes of fabric.

interior of dress

I’m particularly proud of my invisible zipper on this dress.  I installed it using the technique I learned in the Mastering Zippers class on Craftsy.

invisible zipper

It’s my best zipper install to date (not that it takes much).

finished eyelet dress

finished eyelet dress

finished eyelet dress

This dress doesn’t look too much like it’s original inspiration, but I think that makes me love it more.  It was really fun for me to see the evolution of this dress from an idea to a finished project.

close-up of belt on eyelet dress

me in my eyelet dress

Have you been shopping and decided to try to make something yourself instead of buying it?

We are sharing over at:
Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou
Make It Wear It Thursday at The Train to Crazy


  1. Susan on May 6, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Hot! And so pretty, nice job 🙂

  2. Ami on May 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Wow this dress is amazing! What a great idea to use Dylon on the eyelet fabric! That is a particularly pretty eyelet pattern too.
    Gorgeous colours on you as well! 🙂

    • Andrea on May 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Thanks so much Ami! I only wish I’d had better luck with the focus on my camera. I need to go out again on the next sunny day and take some more photos.

  3. Buttons on May 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I love the colours you chose! I’ve been wanting to do a dress in an eyelet. It is so pretty but more casual than lace. Dying it is a great idea! Definitely adding this to my to do list!

    • Andrea on May 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      I think you could definitely do this with one of your dress of the month projects.

  4. Julia on May 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    This is too cute! I am totally pinning for the day in the {far} future when I actually pull out my sewing machine and finish a project. Beyond cute!

    It’s Always Ruetten

    • Andrea on May 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Julia! I hope you get your sewing machine out again soon. It makes everything better.

  5. Rachel on May 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I love the colors you choose! I’ve been looking at eyelet here and there great use here 🙂

    • Andrea on May 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m having a lot of fun on my journey of making clothes – particularly when I figure out how to use a little of my creativity to make adjustments to patterns.

  6. Deby on May 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    That is one great dress. I am often inspired by online fashions but my only local fabric shop never has the right fabrics I need. Love the idea of dyeing to make it work.
    You’ve done a lovely job and the finished dress is really striking.

    • Andrea on May 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks so much! The dyeing process was super easy, and is going to give me a lot more options on future projects.

  7. Diane on May 7, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Really LOVE this dress, what a great interpretation of the original! I love that you dyed your own eyelet. I love eyelet, too, so feminine!

  8. Adirondack Inspired on May 9, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I love this….that process of taking some inspiration and making it your own. The eyelet overlay and color combo are great!

    • Andrea on May 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thanks so much! I really did have a fun time making it.

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