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Blue Mullet Dress

Have some business in the front, party in the back, with this ultramarine-blue “mullet” dress I made.

Business in the front, party in the back!

Mullet dress in the Wellington summer wind

I’m ambivalent about many manifestations of the mullet or high-low look, but it’s a good one to sew at home to get it just right for you. I wanted it as a flexible summer run-around dress, solid, flowing, and sleeved.

Notice the pasty whiteness of my unsunned limbs

Skirt differential: about 12 inches between front and back.

The fabric is a midweight viscose from Global Fabrics in Wellington. This dress is based on an older Butterick pattern, 4972 – from the mid-90s! I used its Petite option, and altered it further as follows:

  • Nipped in the shoulders at the back by a good 2 inches to match my back measurement – A great alteration for other petites.
  • Reduced the fullness of the skirt by 1 – 2 inches per side/back panel – To reduce the weight of the knit fabric.
  • Reinforced the shoulder seams inside with non-stretchy cotton twill tape – To support the remaining, still-proportionally-substantial weight of the knit fabric.
  • Added a strip of elastic at the waist in the back – Further support for that big ol’ skirt! A knit mullet skirt, supported by its waistband, wouldn’t have the skirt-weight problems.
  • Made the neckline an inch and a half higher – This made the neckline fall where it should on my short torso. I also faced the neckline.
  • Added sleeves – These elbow sleeves make it very flexible in temperate Wellington.

The valuable core of the pattern was the main dress structure, based on princess seams, which is hugely flattering, especially with the petite alterations included in the pattern.

Hi, boys

Naughtiness at sunny seaside Shortland Park, Island Bay, Wellington

Both this dress and the photos had their genesis at a lovely friend’s craft afternoon in Island Bay, Wellington.  One Saturday, I cut the dress out (and learned how to copy patterns, too). While I sewed at home, an experienced friend watched and gave me valuable advice. When it was done, a third friend (her photo journal is here) volunteered to take these stellar shots.  A crafting community supported project that left me with a summer dress and pleasant memories. Thank you, everyone.


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