PRAP: Art Inspired Dress

Another round is beginning at Project Run and Play, and I thought it would be fun to join in, again, for the sew-a-long!

The first theme is an Art or Artist Inspired garment.

I chose one of Norman Rockwell’s paintings. We love his art in this house. I think I naturally tend to sew clothing for my children from that era anyway. But I especially love the way he captured slices of life from that time.


We have this print of “Girl at Mirror-1954” hanging above our teen’s bed {conveniently-heh}. I think it sums up so beautifully these years of transformation. The years caught between little girl and woman.


I decided to make something she could actually wear, though, instead of a slip. And I changed the photo in the magazine to Audrey Hepburn, because to me, she is the most classic example of grace and beauty there ever was. Plus she had that same pose and expression as the girl in his painting!


Instead of lace trim, I made the bodice with eyelet that is lined with a peachy color fabric. That way the lace is still there, just much more wearable for her. And the peachy color has more of a vintage feel than just straight white.


For the back, I wanted to give it a little bit of interest (since it is what is seen in the painting the most), so I made it come down a little lower and closed it with a vintage pearl button and invisible zipper.


There is a strip of lace on one side of the zipper. This outfit is fraught with symbolism!


There is a sweet bow in the back, tied around her middle. I also added piping on either side of the center panel (front and back) to mimic the seams of the little girl’s dress in the painting.


I did add a bit of lace to the bottom just peeking out to hint at childhood frivolity.


It is tricky to self-draft a pattern for a teen girl. Just down-right difficult. But I think this one came out well. It turns out to be the perfect dress for The Bee. I always thought she looked like she stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Now, she had the chance to!


42 thoughts on “PRAP: Art Inspired Dress

  1. I love Norman Rockwell, too! You did a wonderful job recreating his photo and the dress looks charming on your absolutely gorgeous daughter. Mr. Rockwell would have snapped her up as a model for sure!

  2. What a wonderful job you did! The eyelet is just beautiful. I would love to sew along with PR&P one of these days. This is great inspiration to get myself in gear!

    1. Thanks Sally! It is SO much harder to sew for that set! LOL
      This is the second dress I made for her for this project.
      The first one was soundly rejected for being “too little girl”.
      I will be posting that second one anyway later this week. 🙂

  3. I am amazed at how you re-created your favorite artwork. Your photo is artwork, itself. I love your dress, but I am more amazed at the whole package. Your daughter is a lovely girl and I enjoyed looking through your blog today!

  4. Michelle! You out did yourself—I don’t know which I like more the dress you made or the beautiful photgraphs. Really this is just all around lovely! Its so soft and feminine and innocent—so perfect for a tween!

  5. I loved how you tied in a painting hanging over your child’s bed with an actual dress for her to wear and enjoy. It is breathtaking!! So very lovely, and completely appropriate for the tween years….

  6. OMG!!!! I super duper love this dress and concept. As someone who has an art history degree and turned into a fashion designer, this is right up my alley. I am inspired. The dress turned out lovely and your girl is absolutely beautiful!

    1. Hey Andrea! Totally not an expert, but I always use an existing garment to mark certain important points (like where the shoulder ends and where the underarm is) and then I connect the dots and adjust. So if the neck is too high, I just trim.
      It really is more simple than it sounds! I don’t, however, know how to add darts in there. I think I would need to do some math.
      And I am not mathy. At all. LOL
      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This is beautiful (as is your daughter). I love Norman Rockwell too and I love the way you styled the photo shoot. Excellent work.

  8. I was directed to your site via Girl Inspired. Great dress and concept. Using art for inspiration and a ‘pattern’ is like making a fairy tale come true? Nice work and a beautiful daughter. I would have never done that for my mom after I turned a teen.

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