Do you know the feeling when you fall in love with a designer dress and you just can’t let it go? I was dreaming about it day and night until I realized – I can make that! And so I did, my handmade RED Valentino copycat dress!
Falling in love with designer dresses… Who doesn’t? If I could choose and wear exclusively the same designer over and over again, I would never regret going for Valentino. Valentino couture dresses are dreamy, and the little sister of the main label, RED Valentino, is an endless source of inspiration for me. RED Valentino targets a playful and younger audience, twisting the classic styles through the addition of romantic and feminine details. Think babydoll dresses, shorts and mini-skirts, and bows, a lot of bows!
Last spring, I laid my eyes on this gorgeous pussy-bow mini-dress, at the time retailing for approximately €450. It’s a designer’s dress, so I wasn’t surprised at the high-end unaffordable price, but I really, really loved the dress nonetheless. I admired it for so long that eventually, I decided I needed to have it. And by this I mean, to make it!
I started by collecting the pictures from the retailers and take note of the details, fabrics, proportions.
Then I looked for sewing patterns with a similar shape that I could hack to make it look as similar as possible to the original dress. The pattern I picked was the Marshmallow dress by CocoWawaCrafts. For the fabric, I choose the Crepe Powder by Atelier Brunette, which I bought from Maçãs d’Amor.
Despite having a similar shape, I needed to make several alterations to the Marshmallow dress pattern in order for it to look more like the Red Valentino dress. I explain these alterations below. As for the construction, I have followed the instructions from the Marshmallow dress, which were clear and easy to understand together with the available schemes and diagrams.
Pattern – Marshmallow dress by CocoWawaCrafts
Inspired by – RED Valentino pussy-bow mini dress
To achieve a fit similar to the original dress from Red Valentino, I have altered the original dress quite substantially.
The first alteration I made regards the neckline. The Marshmallow dress has quite a wide neckline, while the original dress has more of a tighter neckline, similar to a regular blouse. I have altered the neckline by merging the pattern with an old pattern from a Burda Style blouse. Re-shaping the neckline also requires a fitting Peter Pan collar which I traced from the same Burda Style blouse, that included a Peter Pan collar. The pattern suggests using facing to finish the neckline. I self-drafted the facing to take into account the new shape of the neckline.
The bodice of the Marshmallow dress is in the shape of a trapezoid. I made the trapezoid considerably less wide to match the original dress and reduced the width of the flared skirt accordingly. The back is finished with an invisible zip, just like the original dress, contrary to the Marshmallow dress which is finished with buttons at the back.
Regarding the sizing, I have made the smallest size and reduced some centimeters in the bodice, the skirt, and the sleeves to account for my petite frame. To finalize the collar I self-drafted a stripe matching the fabric of the Peter Pan collar to embellish the dress with a pussy bow.
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Shot by C.E.; Edit & Concept by The petite Cat
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After cutting my fabric pieces, just before sewing, I used my overlocker to finish the raw edges of the fabric for a neater look on the inside. I finished the skirt and the sleeves with a rolled hem, which seemed appropriate for this fabric.
I’m really pleased with the fit and the overall look of the dress. It turned out exactly as I had it in my mind. My designer dress made by me, at a small fraction of the price! Given that it is fall already I only managed to get pictures of it under the rain, but I promise to share some proper outfit pictures next spring. And for that, I will perhaps even make another bow. I think it could be bigger and more fluffy! What do you think?
Update: Super amazing news! This year I’m taking part in #DESIGNINDECEMBER hosted by Linda (more info on her blog). The idea is to sew the garment you fell in love with at a store, online, or in the runways. This dress is the perfect entry for this challenge! I couldn’t buy it for obvious budget reasons (the original is an actual designer dress after all), but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Making this dress was one of the greatest sewing accomplishments of 2017. I love designer fashion and sewing has given me the power to make and wear my favorite pieces, perfectly tailored!