Review & Giveaway: Sew Iconic

The winner of the Sew Iconic book giveaway is commenter #69, Denise, who said:  “My fave always has been the polka dot that Julia wore. Looks like a great book!”  Congratulations!  I know you’ll have fun sewing up your own version of the Julia dress!

Sew Iconic by Liz Gregory takes us to the movies, showing how to sew 10 dresses made famous on the big screen.  Included in this book are patterns and instructions to make

– the brown & white polka dot dress that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman

– the little black dress that Audrey Hepbrun wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

– the pink mambo dress that Jennifer Grey wore in Dirty Dancing

– the white halter dress that Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch

– the green evening dress that Keira Knightley wore in Atonement

– the black showgirl dress that Catherine Zeta Jones wore in Chicago

– the blue chiffon gown that Grace Kelly wore in To Catch A Thief

– the black sheath gown that Rita Hayworth wore in Gilda

– the fawn coat dress that Faye Dunaway wore in The Thomas Crown Affair

– the lace evening gown that Kate Winslet wore in Titanic

The book includes printed patterns for all 10 of these dresses, basic instructions for sewing them up, and styling tips for completing the look.

Skill level for this book is a confident intermediate sewist.  Though there are patterns and instructions to make each dress, the patterns are one-size-only that you will need to grade up or down to fit your measurements.  There isn’t a sizing guide, so there may be some trial and error in order to achieve the best fit.  The instructions give a good overview of the construction process, but a beginner may need more detail about how to complete the steps.

 My Julia Roberts Dress

As part of the review, I got a chance to sew up one of the dresses from this book.  I chose the brown and white polka dot dress that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.  I have always loved the easy elegance of this dress!  I was so excited to get to sew up my version of it!

I made several modifications while I made the Julia Roberts dress.

First, I chose a 100% cotton interlock knit instead of the recommended silk or poly/cotton.  I would actually have preferred a rayon challis, but I couldn’t find one in a polka dot print.  The interlock has a similar drape and is comfortable to wear in a hot Arkansas summer.

Then, because the interlock is a stretch knit, I was able to omit the zipper down the back.  This simplified the construction.  Yay!

I followed the book’s suggestion and made a muslin before cutting into my good fabric.  But because the fit was only critical through the shoulders and bust, my muslin only came down about 4 inches below the armpit.  I’m stingy with my fabric like that.

As I said before, the patterns are one-size-only so you’ll need to make adjustments to fit the dress to your measurements.

I’m rather small through the shoulders and bust, so adjusting it was just a matter of taking it in at the seams.  If you are larger than their patterns, the resizing may be a little more complicated.

I’ll give you my measurements and adjustments to give you a rough idea of the sizing of their pattern.  I have a 32” bust and typically wear a size2 or 4 top.  I took 3/8” off of the shoulder seams, ¾” off of the side seams, ¾” off of the center front seam, and 3/8” off of the center back.  Based on these adjustments, I’d say their basic patterns are a ready-to-wear size 6 or 8.

Finally, their method for sewing in the facings was unfamiliar to me and I was not able to understand their instructions.  I used an alternate method instead.

I took my styling cues from the book’s suggestions: straw hat with a matching sash, white gloves, and simple earrings.

Now that I have a working pattern for a basic tent dress, I’m already planning some non-movie-related variations.  How cute would it be as a mini dress without the belt and made from a silky fabric in a bold graphic print?

The Giveaway

I’ve got a copy of Sew Iconic to give away to one of our readers.  To get yourself entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment here telling me which of the dresses in the book is your favorite.  I’ll choose one comment at random as the winner.

Giveaway ends Thursday, July 12, 2012.



  1. says

    I would make the Black beaded dress Catherine Z-Jones wore in Chicago. A dress like this could be worn for many generations to come and passed down as an heirloom garment. Love it!

  2. Jane S. says

    I dearly love the dress that Grace Kelly wore in To Catch a Thief. It’s classic style on a classic beauty! Thank you for the nice giveaway. :)

  3. Lucia says

    I love the Julia Roberts dress. It is the only one of these dresses that I would feel comfortable wearing. If I wore the others, I would feel as if I were in a costume, a lovely one, but playing dress-ups.

  4. Judith (from Israel) says

    My favourite is the the fawn coat dress that Faye Dunaway wore in The Thomas Crown Affair.

  5. Ussury says

    First I’d like polka dot dress (Pretty Woman), but my husband votes for the pink mambo dress :-)

  6. AnnieDee says

    I’d have to agree that this is a tough pick but in the end, I’d choose Rita Hayworths black sheath gown. thanks!

  7. Terry Kessinger says

    While each of the dresses are amazing and would make any closet proud, the fawn coat dress is a classic I’d love to undertake .

  8. Kim says

    Oh my goodness, what a difficult choice. It is probably the green evening dress from Atonement but gee, it was a hard choice.

  9. Lettetia says

    They are all beautiful dresses, but I have to say the most intriguing for me would be the black sheath gown that Rita Hayworth wore in Gilda. Good luck to all who enter!

  10. Denise says

    My fave always has been the polka dot that Julia wore. Looks like a great book!

  11. Nidia Yanez says

    This is a fabulous collection of classic dresses! Your dress looks perfect! My vote would have to be the Gilda dress, I read that Ms. Rita attributes two reasons they this dress stayed up ;)

  12. Katy says

    I would love to have the green dress from Atonement, but my body shape is a lot closer to Kate’s in Titanic, so I’d make that one first…..and then wear it everywhere. So pretty.

  13. says

    My favorite dresses are the Kate Winslet dress as well as the Marilyn Monroe halter dress. I always wanted to make that halter dress in red! I would feel like a million bucks in it. :)

  14. says

    I would LOVE to make the Keira Knightley Atonement dress, it was beautiful and ALMOST made it worth watching the movie!

    Thank you for the awesome giveaway

  15. Rina says

    Titanic Lace evening gown, closely followed by atonement and Audrey :)

    I would have to make them all :)

  16. Judianne says

    How awesome and what a clever idea for a book. Count me in! Your dress turned out just lovely, Pretty Woman!

  17. Jocelyn Jones says

    I would love to have this book!!! First I will make the Pretty Woman dress! I love love LOVE that look she had in the movie. Gorg!!!

  18. Judy says

    I’d love to have them all, but either the Marilyn Monroe or the Dirty dancing dresses would be first.

  19. says

    What a great post! Thanks for the valuable info you discovered while making your dress and sharing it with us. I just Love the dresses in this book and would Love to win!!

    Thanks Again,


  20. says

    I love them all. All of them.
    But if I had to choose, it would be the Audrey Hepburn.
    And the Marilyn. And the Julia. And … and … and. Oh never mind.

  21. Judianne says

    My daughter would just be stylin’ in these dresses and she adores Audrey Hepburn; I’d love to win it for her.

  22. says

    How fabulous would it be to make Audrey’s little black dress? Too bad I quit smoking – guess I’ll need one of those electronic cigarettes to pull off the look…Do they make those with the little extension thingy? :o)

  23. Judianne says

    Lots of fun projects. Your dress turned out lovely. My daughter would love this pattern book.

  24. Isabelle says

    I absolutely love the blue chiffon gown that Grace Kelly wore in To Catch A Thief! It’s stunning!!

  25. Sandy says

    Of course I have to love the iconic black dress that Audrey Hepbrun wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!!! it’s always beautiful!! :) thanks for the giveaways!


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