The age of Adaline dress diy project – part 1

How time flies… Our fifth anniversary is coming up! I am planning a surprise for my husband for the night he proposed to me five years ago. And because I am a maniacal glamour puss, I have set my mind on making a dress for the occasion. Myself. And not just any dress. O no. That would be WAY to easy. I am determined to recreate the velvet Gucci dress from the Age of Adaline movie. Unleashing my inner Blake Lively in this 5’5 Asian body of mine, that’s right. If you don’t know this moving, just watch this clip and you’ll understand why I want to copy this show-stopping dress.

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Base pattern: Mccall’s M7047


I wanted to choose a pattern that would be relatively easy to make and would fit as comfortable as possible. So no zippers, no boning, no sir. Way to difficult. The Mccall’s 7047 fits the bill as it is a easy pattern for stretch fabrics.

The bodice consists of a boat neckline in the front and three different options to finish the back neckline: a simple boat, a mock wrap and a plunging cowl. For the skirt you can choose between a straight knee-length, a floor length a-line and a floor length with a puddle train. You can also add a cap sleeve, a 3/4 quarter or a full sleeve. And to top it off it has a pattern for a peplum too.


For the Adaline I chose the basic bodice (1), the floor length skirt (8) and the short sleeve (5), to each of which I made alterations.

Pattern alterations

To be honest, I never altered a pattern before. But I just love to get into the trial-and-error way of learning. So I just started. First, I drew the basic pattern parts on transfer paper. Then I transferred the parts onto an old sheet with a felt pen. After cutting them out, I put the parts together with some pins and tried the part on. With the felt pen, I marked where the Adaline alteration should go. Then I removed the pins and back tracked the alterations on the transfer paper parts.

front bodice dress pattern

Front bodice: The first alteration was a basic one. Because of my short waist, I took in the length of the bodice. Then it was time for the Adeline alterations. First, the neckline needed to be altered to a crew neckline. Then I marked the length of the key hole to a shocking 20 centimeters (8 inches).  Finally I drew the side cut-outs which sit just above the waist.

Back bodice dress pattern

Back bodice: The Adeline has diamond shaped cut-out low in the back of the dress. For the bodice, this meant shortening the back in pyramid shape. In the original dress, the lines of the side cut-out are aligned with the cut-out  on the back, so you need to go back and forth between front and back to check and get it right. Eventually, the upper part of this dress will so short, you won’t be able to wear a bra underneath. I haven’t worked out a solution myself for this issue yet. For now, I’m thinking fashion tape. At the top of the bodice, I altered the neckline to a crew line.

back skirt dress pattern

Back skirt: Because of the cut-outs in the front and back bodice, I added an inch to top of the back skirt part before cutting the lower part of the diamond shaped cut-out. From the waist down, I first measured how deep this part should be without being too trashy. This was the deepest point of the cut out. It probably depends on your body, but I took it up to about 8 centimeters (3 inches) above my tail bone.

Both the front and back skirt were shortened 5 centimeter (2 inches) for my shorter frame (I’m 165 cm/ 5’5”).

Sleeve: The pattern part for the full sleeve was shortened to a t-shirt sleeve.

Fabrics and notions

Fabrics can make or brake your sewing project. I have a natural talent to pick the most expensive things available, and it goes for fabrics too. For a sewing project that requires a lot of yardage, that is just way too much. This is why I cancelled my Madeleine dress project – the icy blue satin gown that Lea Seadoux wears in Spectre – that I wanted to make in the first place. Affordable stretch satin in the right color just wasn’t in my budget.

Fortunately, I did find a nice deep burgundy stretch velvet online. It has a nice jersey feel to it and it cost around 13 euros a meter. With 4 meters of fabric it’s still no cheap project, but still cheaper than finding a ready-to-wear dress that only slightly looks like it. It’s quite a heavy fabric, so I chose a thin stretch lining at another online fabric store. I’m worried that the fabric will hang heavily from the cut-outs and the low back cut-out. If so, maybe that some interface will do the trick to keep form, but we’ll see how it goes. I found a fancy black rhinestone button to close up the keyhole neck but I yet need to find the right ribbon to finish off the cut-outs. I’m hoping the market will help me out!

Putting the plan into action

I’m still waiting for my lining and yarn to come in so I can really get the plan into action. The project will call for the summoning of the deadline junkie, as our anniversary is end of next week!

So wish me luck! Hopefully I can soon post some glamorous shots of the end result.

xoxo – Irene


9 thoughts on “The age of Adaline dress diy project – part 1

  1. Right.. so now I have to check my e-mail every day to see if you have posted an end result, because I am soooo curious of the outcome! I really admire your way of working here, starting from scratch and just diving in the project. Please do post the end-result! I’m sure it will look fabulous on you! 🙂

    1. Another incentive for getting the job done, thank you! I expect my other fabrics to arrive any day now, so if all goes well I should be able to post a progress blog post soon.

    1. Work and family needed attention and I just couldn’t find a way to write about it, I guess. Thought about quitting blogging altogether, but I’m here to dust myself off and try again.

      1. No way! I hope you know we need your voice. Glad to see you back and at it. And I hope things are a little more balanced for you right now.

    1. I’m reading in here… I really hope you will keep blogging, I love your posts! Maybe less frequent with your schedule, but hopefully no stopping altogether.

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