Happy Hippo Dress

happy hippo kat dress 4

I know that just about every time I sew a new dress I go on about how it’s my favorite. And I totally recognize that the sillier the fabric I use for the dress is, the more I rave about how it’s going to be a wardrobe staple (e.g. my Farm Animals dress, Southwest Eyeblinder dress, orĀ Baseball Staple dress). And, recognizing my behavior patterns, I’m going to repeat them. Because OMG look at this dress! It’s my new favorite thing and I’m going to wear it all the time!! For serious!

happy hippo kat dress 3

So where do I find all this amazing/ridiculous/awesome fabric? The thrift store. All of those amazing/ridiculous/awesome dresses were sewn from fabric I bought at the thrift store, most from Granny’s Attic, the thrift store on my island. When I lived in San Francisco I didn’t have nearly such good luck finding awesome fabrics at thrift stores because everything was always so picked over (although I did occasionally make awesome scores for my kitchen). But I end up buying fabric at Granny’s waaay more often than I should given that I’m kinda pretending to try shrinking my fabric stash instead of growing it :)

toucan on kat dress bodice

The dress is from the Kat pattern by Grainline Studios (currently out of print). I made a version last summer and absolutely adored it as I think it’s a very flattering cut on me. To make this version, I combined the top contrast panel with the main fabric bodice piece, I dramatically lengthened the skirt (keeping the same width at the bottom so that it would fit on my fabric) and combined and lengthened the two contrast pieces at the bottom of the skirt). All were simple changes but it makes for a pretty different dress, which is always fun!

happy hippo kat dress 2

I seem to have settled on the name Happy Hippo dress because it’s the hippo on this print that made me fall in love with it, even though there are plenty of other adorable animals as well. I didn’t really have any leeway in cutting my fabric if I wanted the dress to be a maxi, so it was a pretty great coincidence that the Happy Hippo (does he remind anyone else of a hungry hungry hippo?) ended up front and center. I did fussy cut the toucan onto the bodice since he was the only animal small enough to feature there and I was careful to focus the small bodice panels on flowers so that I didn’t end up with any partial animal butts in awkward places.

happy hippo kat dress back

happy hippo dress view from the top

Comments 8

  1. So cute! Don’t be surprised if little kids come up to talk to you when you’re wearing it. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to hang out with the cool girl in the hippo dress!

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  2. I salute you for your fabric choices!!
    Besides, salvaging fabric is legit and doesn’t count in the stash-balancing thing ;) It’s like donating money to charity, you wouldn’t call that spending. Right? Right :D

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  3. Yes! That’s all I can say to this fabric and this dress. I love thrift store/op shop fabric and pattern finds, and it’s so great when you know the one store to go to that has a good range, and they do seem to be the best places to find awesomely quirky fabrics. Honestly, if I’d been in the store when you found it I’d probably have fought you for it!

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