Monday Outfit: The Gilded Recital Dress


Good morning! We had a much needed mellow break last week – a few play dates, an utterly stress-free Thanksgiving (This movie was unexpectedly moving and the food at Din Tai Fung was excellent. So excellent that the place was packed on T-day). I participated in a fun author event at Queen Anne Book Company, and K rocked her piano/voice recital.


Oh yes. Look at her, owning that gold dress. Work it, girl.


Since I had quite a few projects in progress (one of which is the annual Advent Calendar that is getting out of control in the usual manner), I briefly considered skipping out on sewing a recital dress. I mean, it’s not as though she’s sorely lacking in the wardrobe department and could have easily worn something I’d made previously.


When I casually mentioned this to K, her eyes widened so much I thought her eyeballs would fall out. “But you always make me a recital dress!! It’s a tradition!!!” Well, we can’t break tradition now, can we? Guilt is a powerful motivator.


In the interest of saving time, however, it had to be a knit dress. I was adamant about keeping ironing to a minimum. My infinite stash yielded just the blingy, gilded and stretchy fabric I had in mind. I flipped through several of my Japanese pattern books, and this drop-waist turtle neck frock seemed like a casual yet fun design to downplay the gaudiness of the fabric. I made the top version eons ago, and she loved it so much she wore it until it was stained to death. I traced the largest 130cm size from the book, and again, to speed things along I omitted the buttons on the turtle neck.


I’ve been batting 1000 with my sewing lately, and K practically awarded me a medal of honor for this dress. I actually think that by sewing less for her, she’s appreciating what I make more.


As for the recital itself, she was super nervous until the very moment she went up on stage (she followed a long-haired boy drummer who enthusiastically head-banged his way through two heavy metal songs — he was awesome, but it was quite the contrast). On the piano, she played “Morning” by E. Grieg, which was melodious and sweet. But it was when she cleared her throat, took microphone in hand and sang, “Rainbow Connection” — now that, as K’s music teacher whispered in my ear, “stole the show”.

Above she’s mock singing for the photo shoot, but something incredible happened when she belted out her first note on stage during the recital. Her voice wavered ever so slightly initially, and then you could see it: the inner calibration, the straightening of her spine and boom! As though someone plugged her in, all lit up, voice soaring. She crooned the last lyric and when it trailed away, the crowd erupted in wild cheers, and I gazed at my little girl in wonder. We all contain so much magic inside of us and here was irrefutable evidence of K’s. A musical child! Given that I have no aptitude for music, I never would have guessed I’d have one of those. So so good.

14 thoughts on “Monday Outfit: The Gilded Recital Dress

  1. Sanae, I am so in love with this dress. As usual, the fabric and style are perfect!! K knows that– maybe it inspired that extra confidence. Children are so wonderful at surprising. And I have always been wonderful at taking at least some credit for good performance. (haha).

  2. Amazing! What. performance that must have been! I love the dress too! She does own it! On the hanger in the photo it look kind of plain and perhaps even brown. Good job! And congratulations on finding that winning combination of making less and getting more appreciation.

    1. Isn’t that the fact of life? When things are more scarce, we value it more. And yep, the performance was one to remember!! Thank you, Max. 🙂

  3. Oh I love this dress pattern. I’ve made the dress and long sleeved top once each and I’m so happy to see that it fits well on an older girl. Phew, still time to revisit it.
    The gold is fabulous. Just the right amount of Shirley Bassey and not too much Shirley Temple. That’s a music recital I could sit through! 🙂

    1. I love this pattern too, Shelley! The buttons up the style factor, but for this fabric I felt like I could get away with keeping it plain. The generous proportions of Japanese patterns is one of the things I really appreciate. K can still fit into so many of the clothes I made years ago! I had to look up Shirley Bassey (am totally illiterate when it comes to music), and she sounds amazing!

  4. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant, too! My sis was going to host but got sick, so we indulged in an old family tradition. This gold dress is fantastic 🙂

  5. I love this dress and have been kind of eyeing this pattern for my daughter too. So a quick question. Does omitting the buttons make a huge difference. I.e–harder to get on? Or more snug around the neck? I would like to avoid the buttons too but thought I’d check first. Thanks Sanae.

    1. Hi Asmita! Omitting the buttons made no difference at all – of course, you’d want to select fabric with enough stretch to make sure the turtle neck doesn’t choke :-). Thanks for the question!

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