Let’s Go To Egypt! A Vintage Safari Dress

Girls safari dress

This week’s first Project Run & Play project was a challenge, and involved a great many pattern pieces. About forty in all!

The theme was the Seven Wonders Of The World and I chose the Great Pyramids of Giza . My dress was inspired by photos of female explorers and Egyptologists of the early twentieth century.

It’s off to Egypt!

Girls safari dressGirls safari dress Girls safari dress Girls safari dress Girls safari dress Girls safari dress

My inspiration…. Female explorers of the early twentieth century
To make this dress, I used Liesl Gibson’s Building Block Dress Book, and pattern pieces from two of her other patterns; The Jumprope Dress, and The Classic Shirt.

My design sketch using the Building Block Dress book sketch page.

My finished design. I decided to make a set in waistband instead of a sash.

The collar, the button placket, and skirt pattern pieces were taken from the Jumprope Dress pattern.

The pleated flap pockets on the skirt were taken from the Classic shirt pattern, and sized down for the bodice.

The bodice was taken from the Building Block Dress book. I slashed it and created a yoke, then I added width to the remaining bodice piece to create a gathered bodice. I used my old school pattern making textbook to make the yoke and redraft the bodice, which doesn’t have a shoulder seam. The sleeves are also from the Building Block dress book. I used the directions in the book to create the puffy sleeve and the sleeve band.

The buttoned tabs are self drafted. So is the set in waistband. Because the dress is fitted at the waist, and the bodice has a placket that doesn’t go down to the skirt, I added a side zipper. I don’t see side zippers much anymore, but most of my fitted vintage patterns include them. I prefer them because they aren’t as obvious as a center zipper, which has to be sewn perfectly, or else it looks home made. The two piece waistband is constructed similarly to the yoke. There is a facing inside that covers all of the raw seam allowances. 

The pyramid embroidery on the hem  of the skirt was found on Urban Threads. I was very careful to try to evenly space this design on the skirt, as I haven’t used my embroidery unit very many times. It’s a Bernina 560, and after this, I will be using it a lot more. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be.  I was so worried about ruining the skirt, since I had already spent so much time sewing on those flapped, buttoned pockets! And I also had no more extra fabric. I feel it’s the finishing touch the dress needed and creates the relationship between my explorer/ safari style and the Pyramids of Giza theme.

The buttons are all vintage ones I found at an estate sale, so sometimes hoarding supplies comes in handy. The fabric is plain old quilting cotton. The hat is vintage and I bought it on Etsy specifically for this challenge. I couldn’t help myself. The shoes are a lucky thrift shop find.

And of course, my old leather suitcase. One of my favorite things. Perfect to go exploring in Egypt. Even if it does weigh a ton.

I’m very happy with how G’s dress turned out, and she loves it. I hope you do, too!

To vote for your favorite project, go to the Project Run & Play website!

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  1. says

    So much detail! My girls always go through the entries with me and you made an impression on them!!! We love it. I think your combinations of these patterns worked perfectly to your inspiration.

  2. Sandy Osborne says

    Oh, Justine, this is FABULOUS! I love all the details, especially the embroidery. It’s perfectly placed and adds that special touch. I also like the puffy sleeves; it gives the look some sweet femininity. Gigi looks adorable in the photo shoot and that big leather suitcase cracks me up as she’s lugging it. You know I’ll be voting for this look! Good luck!

  3. Carol Gardiner says

    Justine, Gigi’s dress is so cute. She looks adorable. I love all the details. And the photo shoot with the suitcase and train is just awesome, like out of a magazine. You are so talented. Of course I will be voting for you. Keep having fun.

  4. says

    This dress is perfection! I love how you interpreted the theme and your inspiration couldn’t be more right on. The bodice details are so lovely with the slight gathers and those puffed sleeves. And then the embroidery along the skirt hem just ties it all together. Your photoshoot was such a great idea too. I love this look!

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