Sewing Adventures: Patchwork Malvarosa

By Susan | Comments: 16 | February 9, 2015


Sometimes you have an idea and you know it’s either going to be brilliant or an epic fail. This is one of those times.

I picked up this fabric at a Garage sale, along with a bunch of other, I really liked this piece but it just wasn’t big enough to make a dress. So taking this Gorman skirt as inspiration, I thought I’d try an experiment?

Gorman patchwork skirt

I used the Pauline Alice Malvarosa dress. Cutting the floral on the top and the band for the skirt. Using the scraps of the floral, some blue and black from the stash to create the other panels.


The panels were calculated out by dividing the rectangle that creates the skirt up and cutting the number of triangles needed. I didn’t quite have enough of the floral so there is an uneven pattern happening but I don’t think it matters that much.
Attaching it all together using my overlocker, I used  bias binding for the neck and armholes.


So after all that maths and cutting and drawing the dress is well, ugly. It’s really a bit weird and not in the good quirky sense. Oh well you live and learn and it’s only fabric.

Pattern: Pauline Alice Malvarosa, made before.

Alterations: Eliminated pockets, eliminated facings, added centre back seam, turned skirt into patchwork panels.

Fabric: Garage sale purchase and from the stash.


  • Pips Splatt
    February 9, 2015

    Looks great! Apparently that was too short, so “Looks Super Great!”. I love the inter webs…

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 9, 2015

      ha ha I didn’t know it told you a comment was too short? too funny.

      Thanks, I’m still very meh about the dress but am glad I tried the experiment.

  • Marilla
    February 9, 2015

    I don’t think it’s as bad as you think! If you swapped the floral triangles in the border out for another contrast colour or a contrast floral even I think you would have cracked it! As it is it looks pretty and a belt at the waist would look fab to break up the top and bottom a bit.

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 9, 2015

      A second floral might’ve worked? good thinking.

      Thankfully my to do list of sewing is now looming so large I can leave this one as a house dress and get on with some new pieces. With summer being so long I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be dress weather for some time yet!

  • Robyn
    February 9, 2015

    Hmm, it certainly is different! It kinda seems like the beginning of an idea, I wonder if adding another band of blue or black around the bottom would help it look more complete? The dress is a cute shape on you though, if this one is scrapped, I hope you make another in different fabric! 🙂

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 9, 2015

      I do love a drop waist dress, find that they hide all manner of figures and are cool in the summer time too! Win!

      The concept is kind of there but as you say it’s like the beginning and then the rest just didn’t work out? Thankfully it’s functional and I’ll wear it round the house at the very least. Sometimes trying the experiment is the bit that kick starts another idea so I don’t consider it a loss which is good.

  • Fabric Tragic
    February 10, 2015

    I agree it’s not quite the triumph you were looking for but I really think you’re not too far off salvaging it….. If you ditched the triangles, and added a solid colour for the skirt part (say in the grey or another colour from your floral) salvaging the top of the dress and ending the skirt in a floral band then you’ll gets similar look to the Gorman skirt sans triangles….. I’m sorry your original vision didn’t pay off! It can be so frustrating!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 11, 2015

      While I think this one is a bit Meh, I’m mostly ok when things don’t work out. It’s all part of the process and I like that just as much as the end product.

      I do like your idea of a second floral (there can never be too much floral!)

  • Juliette Williams
    February 12, 2015

    Could it be the direction of the triangles? I think a cute bunting necklace in the same colours might balance it out. But yes I think it’s the direction of the triangles and I think they need to be narrower like the Gorman skirt.

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 12, 2015

      Yes I really should’ve paid more attention in geometry class all those years ago, it would improve my sewing now! ha ha, am sure my next attempt will be much better now I’ve had time to process what went wrong and all these great ideas on how to fix it.

  • Emma
    February 12, 2015

    I agree, maybe a couple of contrasting colour bands at the hem would tie it all together. Great work on all that maths and sewing!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 12, 2015

      thanks! I’m just going with the flow and storing up all the cool ideas for the next attempt.

  • Catherine
    February 18, 2015

    ooh i reckon it could have worked with red tone fabrics! From far away you notice more pinky red tones… so maybe that might of worked. I guess if you try it again, try it with some plain fabrics and then add a matching floral? its a bit tricky, all those colours and patterns!

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 18, 2015

      ohh good pick up, amazing what you try and make work when you’re trying to use up the stash!

  • Vanessa
    February 21, 2015

    I really like this dress. I think a belt would help break up the ‘block’ of floral. Great experiment 🙂

    • Susan Goodwin
      February 22, 2015

      Thank you, A belt would totally help! I think once the weather cools I might experiment with a belt, tights and boots and see if I like it better then?

Comments are closed.




Hi, I'm Susan. A designer living in Sydney, Australia.

Here I share tales of my sewing, my pattern collection and insights into what it's like to work as a professional fashion designer.

Other recurring themes include cat photos and an ever changing hair style.



Friends and Affiliates

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository