What I Made for the Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge (Or my $2.50 Dress)


Today I get to share what I did for my “Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge.  To start I chose this pattern:

Ugly Pattern shirt to dress pattern

I bought it for 50 cents at a thrift store….and I didn’t even buy it for our ugly pattern challenge.  Although the outfit in the photograph is remarkably bad…cotton floods and a shirt that points to your crotch…not a look anyone should be going for.

BUT here is the thing.  I’m weird…and like I said before I think there is potential in any vintage pattern.  And I usually pay little attention to the photographs or the fabric choices on pattern covers.  So when we were in my craft room the other night and Elizabeth found this pile in my stack and was laughing about me buying myself a vampire hairline shirt pattern I realized it was pretty bad and would definitely qualify for an Ugly Duckling transformation.

So I pulled it out and got to work.  Here is what I made:

Ugly Pattern Shirt to Dress Detail

A spring dress for myself…and to put it together I only had to make three 3 changes from the original pattern/instructions.

#1.  I decided to make myself a knee length dress instead of a shirt.  So I measured from my arm pit to the bottom of my knee and then added an inch and a half.  Then I took that measurement and started from the arm pit of the pattern and extended that pattern down to match the measurement.

#2.  I decided to use knit instead of cotton like it suggested in the instructions.  Because of this I used an inch and a half seam allowance instead of the suggested 5/8 inch seam allowance.

#3.  I skipped making the pants.

All very simple changes.  Very simple changes!  Change the length, the fabric, and omit what you don’t like.  And suddenly that kooky pattern is a favorite.

Ugly Pattern shirt to dress

I really do love this dress.  (Even though I haven’t hemmed it yet…as you can tell by the picture above.)  It’s great and I’ve already cut out two more.  (One from stretch denim and one from a large print cotton.)  You really can’t judge a pattern by a terrible cover.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….I’ve learned how to sew from sewing vintage patterns.  They are the best.  If you take your measurements and follow the sizing charts they fit.  Their instructions are clear.  And they are affordable.  (50 cents at a thrift store).  If you are new to sewing or just want to try some new techniques they are the only way to go.

Thanks for stopping by today and stay tuned for more ugly duckling patterns coming up throughout the week!


PS—I bought this fabric for $1 a yard…which means that with the fabric and the pattern my entire dress cost $2.50!  Sales, clearance tables, and thrift store patterns…I’m telling you, it’s what’s made sewing affordable for me.

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    • liZ says

      Just find a cheap pattern (either from a thrift store or when Hobby Lobby or JoAnn has them on sale for $1) and then some clearance fabric. Then if it works out awesome (and you can make more) but then if it doesn’t you aren’t out a lot and it won’t be as frustrating. (I am frustrated if I spend a lot on a pattern that doesn’t work…or used expensive fabric on a pattern that didn’t work….)

  1. says

    I love it! I actually had to scroll back up to look at the pattern again to see if you changed the neckline-it looks so beautiful on you! And I love the fabric!


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