Dress Obsession: Revolutionary Road and Kate Winslet

I watched the movie for the clothes.  I spent so much time analyzing the wardrobe and its wearability that I honestly can’t tell you what I think about the plot.  No idea.  The point is I *must* make this dress.

White works for me, I have an idea it’s the Tropical Answer to black.

 I like these pictures, if you click you can see beautifully human details on Kate like fine lines and freckles.  Maybe I’m nuts, but I tend to associate these “flaws” with beauty.  I also like the honesty of her physical proportions as revealed by this dress.  That’s what I like- the honesty.   She’s beautiful, yes, yet she bears resemblance to many other beautiful women I know.  Check out the link, it’s a series of paparazzi photos.  As someone who takes volumes of photos to come up with one fit to show on this blog, I can appreciate how she looks nice in every picture in the stream.

I see cut-on sleeves, big buttons (making them functional would be fun), a narrow scoop neck, and a fitted skirt.  I would probably peg it, though I’d leave the length.

Glammed up.  I love her un-made-up photos better”

(from The Reader, which made a bigger impact on me than Revolutionary Road)

I’m debating about fabric.  Medium weight linen springs to mind- it’s easy to sew, plentiful (here), and incredibly comfortable over a humid summer.  This dress is so distinctive, I feel it deserves a special fabric.  To me, simplicity of cut = complexity of fabric.  What about this bamboo/nettle?

I swatched this recently from bamboofabrics store.  Be still my beating heart.  It’s absolutely, 100% stunning, whiter than the picture and the stripes of nettle are about 3/8″ apart.  The ethics of production are exceptional and bamboo is insanely comfy. This fabric is the perfect weight and body for this dress.  The problem?  They’re out of stock until 2012.


That’s not so far away, but I would have to wait a few months.

I could use ordinary cotton sateen, but…. why?  Blah.

The same shop carries this bamboo, but compared to the nettle it’s rather meh.

I’ve been eyeing this hemp from NearSeaNaturals for the better part of a year, but the color holds me back. I swatched it and except for the oatmeal color, it’s great.  Off white makes me look ill.

I want to use an “ethical” fabric with a beautiful texture.  I find hemp, bamboo and silk work well in our climate, so prefer to use them for garments I want to wear for a decade.

How would you approach this dress?  Any ideas for gorgeously textured natural fibres?  I’m sure there’s plenty I haven’t seen.  Should I wait for the bamboo/nettle, or hurry up and make it already?  Don’t you love Kate’s pretty crinkly eyes?  Such a shame there’s not more photography of “beautiful people” that show those physical attributes.

And I have yet to begin obsessing over the buttons…..  I’d appreciate leads!


  1. I like the second fabric best because it has texture but subtle. On my figure type the first one, though lovely, would show up as horizontal stripes or add bulk to my figure because the texture would read as a pattern distracting from the lines of the dress – but I have a prominent belly. You've a thin waist, so your experience should be different. Can't wait to see the dress!

  2. It's a stunning dress. Timeless too, I wouldn't think anything of it to see some one walking down the street in it, beyond "wow, what a great dress!"

  3. I would order the dream fabric, make it up first in a linen lined with a fine batiste for body and to reduce the linen wrinkle. this will look great on you!

  4. I love that dress, it'd be stunning on you. And I agree about your first choice of fabric—it's amazing.So here's the question—how many versions of this dress do you need? Can you make up a first one in a different fabric, for immediate gratification, and wait on the out-of-stock fabric? Maybe in a blue or purple colour, so the two dresses don't end up identical?

  5. What an absolutely fabulous dress. It would be stunning in any colour. I second Tanit-Isis's idea: order your dream fabric and make it up in a completely different colour for a completely different dress!

  6. I get dress envy in that movie too! You know her pale blue dress with cutouts at the neck? In the only scene where they are actually happy? Yeah, I want it. But my sewings skills are not advanced enough to make it! Sob. I can't bear to watch the film again because as much as I loved the clothes, it is just too depressing.

  7. Hold out for a cool white, whichever fiber you end up with. I think that you could cover the buttons in whatever fabric you choose. Make a yo-yo (Suffolk puff) big enough to cover the button. Pull the gathers firmly in the back and stitch it closed. That way, you can buy any set of buttons, in any color, whenever you want, whenever you find them, and be certain that they will match your garment. I used to do this on big buttons for toddler clothes made from unusual colors or wild prints.

  8. I completely agree. That's a beautiful dress, classic, timeless, worth the investment of good fabric. Kate is a stunning and real woman. I admire her in an industry where youth seems king and people go to rediculous lengths to stay young rather than be human.

  9. I third Tanit-Isis's suggestion. That fabric is gorgeous, but to wait that long? Yikes! Although personally, I like the second fabric too. Eek, okay, hard choices.

  10. ooohhh! I LOVE that dress! The buttons on the shoulder are such a great detail too! I think you'll look smashing and I love your fabric choice. bummer they are sold out till 2012??

  11. I drooled, really, I drooled. What a lovely dress and I too love your first fabric choice. Go ahead and make one in red while you are waiting for your gorgeous bamboo & nettle. It will be a show stopper. By the way, I think it was Kate that let the world see her post breast feeding breasts. I was really really proud of her. She is infinitely more attractive than the 'desperate to stay young' actors that are my age (late 30's) and up.

  12. I think if I had several versions of the same dress, it would be less special..Sewista- the lines of nettle are so fine, it wouldn't add the bulk that big fat stripes might. I think the "no horizontal stripes" rule is held too sacrosanct, I have seen with my own eyes larger women successfully wearing stripes. Karin- I don't know about London, but I think that dress would stand out here. If for no other reason, its color.Celkalee- that's my B plan. If I can't wait for the nettle, I'll do that. Tanit-Isis- So when do I expect to see your version? If I wait long enough you might do the pattern for me, too. ;)Tia Dia- Maybe I'll make a colored top from the upper half of the dress??Emmi- I know the dress, but I really really don't know anything about the plot. Someone had warned me how depressing the movie is, so I kind of tuned it out to watch the clothes. I should go back and watch it I guess. It's just that I try not to trigger being depressed if I can help it… Lin B- That's a good tip, I'll keep it in mind though I think I may use some kind of ridiculously exotic buttons made from narwhal horn or the crystallized laughter of leprechauns. ;);)Seraphinalina- I think she ages well. Have you seen her when she was quite young in the movie about the teenage girls in NZ who kill their mother? Ack, I can't remember the name.. She was pretty then, but raw in a way.Heather- The wait is ok if its a dress I love, that I'll take ridiculous pains to make well, and will last a long time. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.Debi- Bummer indeed.Pepper- YUCK. ;) I will say the idea of red is tempting. I have some gorgie red linen in my sewing room, all washed and pressed….Julie- The McCalls is a nice pattern (just looked it up) but I wouldn't know where to start with a McCalls pattern… Are you making it?

  13. I would be doing my Crumple Test on all the fabrics. With a skirt that's tight across the hips like that, your lap is going to wind up a mass of wrinkles the first time you sit down, if the fabric is prone to that sort of thing at all. My Crumple Test is to grab a handful of the fabric and squeeze hard for about 5 seconds. Some fabrics won't wrinkle at all under that treatment. Most will just get slightly wrinkly. But some fabrics (like smooth linens and some cottons) will show very sharp creases. These are the ones that look make me look like I've slept in them – unless I'm very careful about the style they're sewn into, such as a fitted bodice and full skirt that I can smooth out gently every time I sit. Even so they'll get a few wrinkles, but they won't look disreputable!

  14. This dress is so you, but for some strange reason I'm imagining it in a baby blue – no idea why, I don't even like that colour but on you it could be gorgeous.

  15. That's a beautiful dress, and I agree it should look lovely on you too. If I were you I would hold out for the dream fabric… I'm assuming you have lots of other possible projects you can conquer before then, but also I think the dress itself can wait because it's not trendy. I'll be interested either way to see what you decide.

  16. I would wait for the bamboo nettle. You could completely muslin the dress in the meanwhile. As for buttons, how about Dorset buttons? I love your whole concept with this dress. Kate Winslet is a NATURAL beauty. As for the movie, I HATED it. Profound negativity that had nothing to do with real love for your spouse and children. Yuck. The movie wardrobe I am obsessed with is Amy Adam's from Leap Year. LOVE!

  17. Gorgeous dress!I thought the movie was brilliant. Dark, so depressing, so not what I was expecting it to be. It really disturbed me a lot

  18. Oooooh….fabulous dress! I'm a huge fan of white too, though my white weaknesses are wool and silk. I have four different kinds of white wool crepe I keep meaning to sew up! I vote make it in something in stash, and if you love the pattern, make it again in the nettle bamboo.

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