Friday, September 09, 2016

FO: the Ultimate Leopard Dress (from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book)

Hi guys!

The Dykes on Bikes Ball is rapidly approaching, and this year I thought I'd make something a little bit different to wear...

I'm calling it my Ultimate Leopard Dress - you can't get much more ultimate than silver lurex leopard print!

The pattern is from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book - based off the Faux Sarong Dress.

There is one major difference - a removable 1950's Kikepa Stole! I've always wanted a dress with a stole.

Fabric: The silver fabric is from Lincraft, and I'm sorry to say I'll never use it again - it was terrible to sew with and the slightest pressure on the seams show due it's loose weave. I've had to double stitch the zipper in to add some extra reinforcement.
The lining is plain black broadcloth.

On the upside, the pattern only took two muslins to get it fitting correctly and was very easy to put together. I didn't experience any of the sizing weirdness some of the blogosphere has been talking about (luckily).

gerties sarong dress faux sarong ultimate dress book 1950s lurex stole kikepa

The amazing thing about this dress - it actually STAYS UP! I have never, ever, ever worn a strapless dress that stays up (I need tonnes of support).
The secret is two kinds of metal boning - spiral steel (left) and spring steel (right).

Get the pre-cut spring steel if you can, it's a lot easier. Spiral doesn't matter so much.
Spring steel is solid metal boning that you would find in proper waist-shaping corsets.
I used four pieces (one in each side seam, and one in each side-back seam) and it makes a huge amount of difference. The other seams have the spiral steel boning as per Gertie's pattern.

I buy my corset supplies from A Rare Notion, but you can also buy it from Metro Fabrics in Sydney.

And I know how much you like to see inside, so here she is (fully lined in cotton broadcloth). You can see the press studs I added to make the stole removable and the waist-stay.


  • Cut the sweetheart a bit deeper (I think I would go deeper again as I like more drama)
  • Did a sway back adjustment on the skirt
  • Added an inch of length to the skirt - next time add more as I like my dresses longer
  • I pleated my waist swag instead of gathering it like the pattern - my fabric was too bulky.

I can't wait to wear this dress! I'm not sure how I'll go rockabilly dancing in it (or bending over), but I feel really glamorous in it. I'll definitely use the pattern again, it's a great base for other ideas and design elements.

gerties faux sarong dress 1950s lurex pollys shoes

Thanks for reading, and see you soon! 


  1. You look totally HAWT! They need to replace their stock photo of this pattern with you! ^_^

  2. Absolutely stunning! I love the drama the stole adds.

  3. Gorgeous! Your hair is perfection too!

  4. As usdual knocked out the park. Fabulous Dahhhling. You have become a favourite dressmaker of mine. Would you mind me sharing any of your sewing projects on Sassy Sewing Bees in the future? I link to your post and let you know when, on the post in question .

    1. Aww thankyou!
      And yes of course, not a problem xx

  5. Fanta-bulous!!! Just gorgeous! Have a great time at the ball!

  6. Yes, God(dess)!!!! This is GORGEOUS! Love the tips for the spiral steel boning. Thanks!

  7. Thanks. I will let you know when, on the posts in question.

  8. simply gorgeous ...oh to be 30 years younger

  9. Absolutely stunning! I already admired the picture on Facebook yesterday - this is just perfect. The dress, the hair, just gorgeous.

  10. Wow! That dress looks stunning on you! I love your bold fabric choice, which working amazingly well with the style of the dress.

  11. To be shared on SSB tomorrow. Thanks for permitting.

  12. Hi, first of all you look stunning!
    Mays I ask you how you made the stoll? I am planning to sew this dress and I would like to ad a stoll too :-) Thank you in advance. Yasmine

    1. Hey hon, sorry just checking, are we talking about the stole? 😊
      It's just a long rectangle and I tapered the end a bit on one side. Then I added a pleat ;). It was pretty easy and I just winged it xx

    2. Hi sorry I just saw your answer! Yes I am sorry my phone typed stoll in place of stole :-)
      I am making this dress know, I hope it will look as nice as yours :-)