Crazy Barbie Doll Dress (Vogue 8280) & Abakhan fabric giveaway

The  £15 Pound Aussie ReturnsAbakhan fabrics

Hi there! After the By Hand London Anna Trilogy weekend (Rose, Blue, Jungle) I dropped off the face of the earth! Thank you for the overwhelming positive feedback – you sure know how to make a girl feel good 🙂 mwah.

Today I bring you the Crazy Barbie Doll Dress, courtesy of the  £15 Abakhan Challenge project. I’ve been running so behind with everything lately. I should have blogged this a couple of months ago – I’m sorry Will. Life seems to have been so out-of-control chaotic this year, I seem to be running at full pace and the finish line never gets closer…

So to atone for my blogging sins, I’ve decided to give away the piece of Abakhan fabric that I have left from this dress, it’s about 1.5m. So this dress actually only cost less than £7.50 in fabric – I’ve smashed the £15 – together we can make a £15 Challenge. BARGAIN!

I totally get that this is fabric that will have you squealing or groaning in horror. Me? I’m of the squealing variety… wait for it…

Awesome fabric from Abakhan Fabrics

Awesome fabric from Abakhan Fabrics

I know. All kinds of awesome. It’s a collision of plaid, paisley & floral – visual madness but it just sings to me… it’s like grandma’s rocking chair on acid.

I had planned to make an Elisalex from this fabric, it had a little more drape than I expected so I pondered what to do. Yes excessive amounts of fabric patting followed. I did so love patting this one…

Then suddenly I thought “I know Lizzy, let’s make us a sexy dress – a nice fitted one”. Note: I sometimes talk to myself like there is another person in the room – simply because I’m beginning to suspect there are two of me! – ‘normal’ Lizzy and the mad obsessive sewing Lizzy who owns a drunk monkey that does exceptionally bad topstitching some days… and when he’s not doing that he’s throwing empties at the wall and howling for popcorn… he’s a very naughty monkey but immensely entertaining… if you think I’m being delusional – it’s simply my excuse when sewing does not go as planned – it’s the drunk monkey in my sewing room taking control – never me – never…. I digress…

If you follow my blog regularly you will probably notice that I don’t wear/sew fitted dresses often, I feel very self conscious – rather like I did in my Gertie’s Littlest Wiggle Dress. I’m just awkward. Yes I know I can hang my legs out of a By Hand London Anna – not just once but twice! I can’t explain why, I know I’ve got the figure for a fitted dress but I just don’t feel like ‘me’ in them (maybe it’s the drunk monkey sniggering at me in the corner as I sew “Lizzy, oh Lizzy, people are going to ‘look’ at you in that *snigger*”). I like to think I can choose to find my legs in a maxi – but in a fitted dress – there is nowhere to hide! Perhaps it’s lack of opportunity or confidence because I’ve always been the small skinny girl and not felt I had curves to parade… fret not, I’m OK with it. In fact blogging has made me more confident about ‘me’ – me as a person (albeit a slightly loopy but actually happy person) and my appearance. This dress was more than a £15 challenge – it was a body confidence challenge!

Which sexy dress did I try? *deep breath* I chose this one… the Vogue Options 8280, the infamous Galaxy-style dress.

Vogue 8280

Vogue 8280

OK I know it’s not actually ‘out there foxy lady’ but it’s a departure in style for me. I do actually have some sexy girl dress patterns stashed… I’m just building up the confidence… be patient people… I’m still bashful when I look at them…

I’d read several reviews about the puffiness of the sleeves – and since my arms transform into toothpicks when topped with a puffball, I decided to make the sleeveless version…

Vogue 8280 - sleeveless

Vogue 8280 – sleeveless

And since it’s a tribute to Grandma’s rocking chair on acid, I decided to pair it with a little swatch of upholstery suede I had hanging around. Perhaps not the ideal choice but it seemed fitting… and that trim on the neckline? It’s upholstery trim as well 🙂 and the belt? Op/charity shop my dears.

Vogue 8280 front view - bodice

Vogue 8280 front view – bodice

So what do I have to say about Vogue 8280? It is all dead easy with the exception of those sleeves – or ‘flanges’ if you like fancy words. They are NASTY little fellas to stitch in – beware. Read the instructions carefully and go SLOW. The drunk monkey was in stitches (the laughing sort) watching me trying stone cold sober attach them to the bodice.

Vogue 8280

Vogue 8280

I don’t mind how this looks on me. I’m not completely in love (except with the fabric) – I wish I had made the flanges (that word makes me feeling like I’m going to flap my arms and fly away) in the rocking-chair-on-acid fabric instead of the contrast fabric. Ah, you live and learn.

Things I don’t love about the pattern:-

  • Only the bodice is lined: easily fixed, lining a skirt is easy.
  • The skirt doesn’t have a kick pleat: easily fixed, just needs some basic drafting.
  • The skirt could do with being pegged: easily fixed.
  • The flanges are not stitched down to the bodice so they flap a little when you move your arms about: easily fixed – just gotta keep the drunk monkey busy with popcorn for a bit.
  • I should have put in a longer zip: I never ever learn, I make this mistake ALL THE TIME. I think it’s the proportions of my waist to my shoulders & hips but I need a long zip, everything is a wiggle to get in and out of! Or perhaps I should make less fitted things?? Maybe sack dresses are me?? Maybe my bone structure IS trying to tell me something.
Vogue 8280 - back view

Vogue 8280 – back view

Things I do like…

  • I do like how this design has the potential to broaden the shoulders, particularly with the sleeves (just need to figure out how to minimise the puff). It reminds me of the effect of the Elisalotte back – which makes my shoulders look like an Olympic swimmer!
  • It makes my waist look smaller which in turn increases the appearance of other… lady lumps
  • Once you figure out those ‘flanges’ it’s a easy sew.


So why have I called it the Crazy Barbie Doll Dress? Well the fabric is definitely slightly mad I think you will agree.

Vogue 8280 - Crazy Barbie Doll

Vogue 8280 – Crazy Barbie Doll

LOOK DAD!!! Mum looks like a Barbie Doll !!!” is what my youngest daughter shrieked out when I walked down the stairs in this dress. I asked her why (given I’m currently a brunette and not very tall – nothing Barbie doll about me). “Well because you look skinny and your boobs stick out”.

OK thanks for the clarification my darling child – I shall not feel self conscious at all when I wear this…


Ok the fabric is from Abakhan Fabrics. Remember they sent me that massive box of ‘stuff’ to give away at the Epic Bloggers’ Meet-up organised by the gorgeous Rachel of the House of Pinheiro.

I know. Huge right? This box came up above my waist!

The HUGE box Abakhan Fabrics sent me,

If you went to the Epic London Bloggers’ Meet-up in April, you probably went home with something from Abakhan Fabrics (huge thank you to Will) – and a huge thank you to all the lovely girls who helped me get all of that stuff to Goldhawk Road!!

I have about 1.5m left, enough for a sheath dress, a cropped jacket, a waistcoat – lots of options. I’m crazy about this fabric but I think the love must be shared… it’s 50% polyester, 50% cotton. It doesn’t press crisply – so keep that in mind when choosing your pattern.If I was to keep this, it would become a By Hand London Victoria blazer (with a contrast lapel) or a Charlotte skirt with the hem frill. However I’m handing its fate over to you!

So if you would like to be in the draw – leave a comment and let me know.

Fret not if you don’t win – you can pick this fabric up from the Abakhan Fabrics website for just £1.33 a metre now! Go on, I know you want to *nudge nudge wink wink*…

I think I need to sew some more fitted dresses.

And tell that drunk monkey to SHUT UP.

Fabric: Floral Printed Check Jaquard Brown 145cm
Pattern: Vogue 8280

To win the fabric: just comment below, letting me know you would like to try some of this crazy fabric (you can just comment about anything and let you know you don’t want the fabric – I’m nice like that). Open internationally and closing on August 18, 6pm (my time, Sydney Australia). Winner has three days to respond, otherwise a redraw will take place.

Can you hear that drunk monkey laughing or is it just me??


73 thoughts on “Crazy Barbie Doll Dress (Vogue 8280) & Abakhan fabric giveaway

  1. I can’t believe you would change the contrast detail! That’s my favourite part of the dress 🙂 that nice detail that makes it look more designer.

  2. Oh, that is gorgeous. No, don’t enter me in any giveaways, thank you. I’m still struggling to get any sewing done, so I fear it would be later this century – a lot later – before I managed to do justice to such fabulous fabric. You have certainly done it more than justice. And I actually like the contrast “flanges”. Makes the dress extra special.

  3. Fabulous! You look so good in this dress…
    It is one of my firat patterns I have bought years ago, I still like it – it has a lot of potentials. I have to make a dress out of it in the end.

    Farbric? no – thanks 🙂

  4. I just wish I’d look as good as you in a fitted dress! And I think the flanges (that’s really a funny word, never heard it before – I’m from Germany 😉 ) are looking good in the fabric you chose. It looks a little bit like you’re wearing a sleeveless shrug from the front.

    And I’m jumping in the fabric giveaway pool! I’m already wondering what I’d make out of it. Maybe some top to wear with plain jeans and a shrug? Hm…

  5. Fab dress. Love the mad fabric and great choice of pattern. I would love it. Hot pants for my daughters and maybe a matching Barbie outfit!

  6. The dress is gorgeous and the fabric is mad cool!!! I love your blog. Please ignore the monkey. No good could has ever come from a drunk monkey…

    Please count me in on the giveaway.

  7. I too think the contrasting flanges(!?) make the dress – and gotta love kids for their honesty!
    Love the idea of that drunk monkey hopping around your sewing room. I think I could do with a monkey of my own, because even drunk monkey sewing would be better than the no sewing I am doing at the minute (so, I’ll leave the fabric for someone else, even though it is pretty awesome!)

  8. Love your dress Lizzie, and you are so funny – drunk monkey indeed! Don’t put me down for the fabric giveaway, it’s not my style but it certainly suits your colouring and looks fantastic on you. I made this dress with sleeves but not those puffy sleeves because they do indeed look a bit over the top

    • Thanks Kristy – I keep thinking about our chat in Sydney and your advice about this dress and the flanges & bodice. I’ve got some great black/blue sateen I want to try this pattern with. It’s not hard at all – it’s just those sleeve things that are tricky the first time.

  9. You look fantastic in your new dress, nothing like Barbie. I love the contrasting flanges and the unusual fabric. You have such a talent for matching the fabric to a pattern. I would not have looked twice at this fabric but you have really made it shine.

    Count me in on the giveaway too.

  10. Wow, that looks FABULOUS on you!!! I actually really like the contrast “flanges” too… Crazy but oddly beautiful fabric too.

  11. You look stunning, and that fabric is crazy awesome. I like the contrast flanges; they provide a frame for your face. And I think I have a drunk monkey here as well; it explains much. I’d love to be entered in the giveaway.

  12. I can’t actually say the word flange without giggling. Sorry, I’m incredibly childish. Anyway that fabric is awesome and so is the dress, it looks like a designer number. And you look fantastic, lady lumps and all 🙂 This is one of the first patterns I ever bought and I still haven’t got round to making it even though I have the perfect fabric. I need to bump it up the queue. And I think I may have the brother of your drunk monkey hiding in my sewing room.

  13. This dress looks lovely on you! It looks just like a designer dress. As for zips, well, I grew up with my mom making all my clothes, and she had to put longer zips in everything due o the fact that I am a bit “hippy”, so I understand completely. Short zips equal pants that I cannot wiggle into no matter how hard I try. I think it’s just that pear shaped figure of mine. So, I suspect that you have plenty of company in that regard. Lizzie, you have outdone yourself here.

  14. I would look like I died 3 months ago in that colorway, so I’ll skip the draw and see if I can find more in a different colorway on their website. 😉 Because seriously, we all need some of that fabric in our stash.

    Your dress, however, is FANTASTIC!! I love the way it fits, the contrast flanges, and the story about how it came to be named. All of those details are perfect. 🙂

  15. You and your dress look terrific. I agree that the contrast fabric looks great. I’m envisioning a skirt or jacket for my daughter. You did a great job!

  16. Barbie doll huh? Kids say the darndest things! You look very glamorous in your “crazy” dress! I think the fabric is gorgeous and it was very creative and adventurous to use upholstery fabric. ~Laurie

  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE this fabric & I would TOTALLY love to give it a home & a fabulous new life as…. probably a dress but I’d have to touch it excessively & let it tell me what it wants to be 🙂

    Your dress is awesome & aren’t you blessed to be able to pull off fitted AND sack like! I think it’s more rock star than Barbie but then again, you know you’re rocking it when kids say you look like Barbie – I’ve heard all too many horror stories of kids blurting out questions like “mommy, does that lady have a baby in her tummy?” lol

  18. Flanges. Lord the word sounds like something in plumbing or construction.

    Love the fabric but please don’t include me in the giveaway as I have more than enough stuff in the pipeline and it would sit in stash for far too long. Better go where it will be loved immediately! Lovely as it is.

    Ya know I like this dress on you, flanges included and hope you wiggle into it again for a proper outing. Kiddo comments aside (damned Barbie lol) 🙂

  19. Your dress is lovely, and it looks fab on you. I so agree with you about your feelings on more fitted dresses. I was nodding along as I read. That said, I made a more fitted dress last week. I haven’t blogged it yet though. Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, I don’t think I’d use it.

  20. You look smashing in that dress! Definitely ignore the drunk monkey. Funny, I used to love wearing fitted garments but now I have a thicker waist so I’m more self-conscious and find myself trying to avoid them. I would love to participate in the fabric draw. Thanks so much!

  21. This looks HOT HOT HOOOOOOTTTTT on you! Fabulously done! Seriously, though– I know it’s a departure for you, but it looks amazing! Oh, you can leave me out of the giveaway as I’m up to me ears in fabric, but I’m excited to see what the winner makes with it!

  22. Ha ha ha, your daughter’s comment made me laugh, literally, out loud!! Got to love them. Otherwise, you know, you’d be a bad mom and all….. 😛 I think the dress is super sexy fabulous on you!!! I like the contrast fabric ‘sleeves’ a lot, but actually now that you mention it, I kinda know what you mean, I do wonder how it would look in the main fabric. Either way, they came out beautifully, despite it sounding quite difficult to attach. Your zipper issue is definitely a long torso one, that’s my guess anyway. Looking at you from the back, my legs would come up to your waist as I am very short waisted. So, I always have to make the exact opposite nips and tucks than you. High waisted trousers are not my friend, unless during a rain storm as I could probably pull them over my head. 🙂 I do love this fabric, it actually does remind me of upholstery fabric, not the drape of it, of course. I would make a blouse with it, I have a Project Runway one with little cap sleeves, that I have not made yet, but think would look good in this fabric.

  23. Pingback: When Chuck met Cambie… or I knitted a jumper… | Sew Busy Lizzy

  24. I love the fabric, and I love what you did with it! The dress looks wonderful on you. It’s a lovely color palette, and it reads like a brocade to my eye. Very rich for all it’s components. Please enter me in the giveaway. I think I’d make a little jacket of some sort.

  25. The fabric is great and you look HAWT in the dress! Thumbs up for the contrast too. Keep me out of the give away, I’d feel so guilty if I won as it’d take me years to get round to sewing it up and when I did, it’d probably turn out to be a mess anyway! I will simply admire from afar!

  26. Great choice! This dress looks fabulous on you. You shouldn’t be self conscious because you look great. (You don’t have to enter me in the contest)

  27. Pingback: Back from the blog holiday… and a sparkly Vogue 8280 | Sew Busy Lizzy

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