Are you feeling happy right now? By that I mean really happy. The kind of happy that has you humming a tune on your way into work and smiling even when you get caught in a shower.
If not, we may have the answer. The ‘happy dress’ is fashion’s newest darling, and with good reason. Inspired by the creations of Nigerian born designer Duro Olowu, the dresses are all over the high street.
They have the shape of a modern tea dress (some with sleeves and some without) which in itself is enough to make you smile. However the main feature is the colours and printed fabrics they include. Clashing florals and contrasting colours is key to this look. This dress should look happy, as well as making you feel cheerful.
We love the more relaxed style of this dress and think it fits into the ‘Happy Dress’ style perfectly. It is perfect for running about in at weekends, and we bet it will be wonderfully comfy to wear. This is an advanced beginner level pattern. The pattern images show this dress made out of plain colours, however you could easily give it a ‘happy dress’ feel by using printed fabrics to create the belt or the pockets. If you are feeling more confident, you could also use two different printed fabrics to make the dress.
If you do not usually wear patterns you could try a viscose print, mixed with a plainer fabric of a different colour. The colours you choose should clash, but in a complimentary fashion. Try going for all bright colours, or all softer shades with just one bright that will make the outfit ‘pop’.
Admittedly this dress is a bit longer than a standard happy dress. However made from clashing florals in lightweight floaty fabrics, we are sure it will be a very happy dress indeed! Skill level: Intermediate. We could imagine making this dress from a cotton lawn for the holidays, as it will help keep you cool. Cotton will also be easier to sew than some more delicate fabrics.
The cinched waist is sure to make this dress flattering on all body shapes, while it also comes with options for altering the neckline. Opt for bright printed fabrics to ensure this dress takes its inspiration from Duro Olowu’s latest collection.
Many Happy Dresses are more fluid in their shape, however it if you are looking for a more structured style this may be the pattern for you. Although not a typical tea dress style, we adore this Cheongsam dress. The clean lines will contrast well with busier bright prints and colour blocks. Why not try making it from one solid colour, and having the edges (shown in yellow on the pattern image) in a clashing printed fabric for a nod to the trend.
This pattern is currently not available from Vogue, however there are lots of copies on Etsy. This dress is easy to make, and sticks to one of the key silhouettes of the ‘Happy Dress.’ Use a lightweight printed fabric and keep your accessories in strong colours that compliment but do not match. Try using a slinkier fabric for this dress, like a silk or polyester satin.
We love that although this dress is quite relaxed the fact it is backless means it could easily be worn in the evening too. After all, once you have sewn your outfit, you should be able to show it off! choose a fabric with good draping qualities to get the right look.
One of our favourite happy dresses from Duro Olowu is this tunic style garment. It is made from two printed fabrics including silk and viscose. Though many lightweight and draping fabrics could recreate this look.
We think this Debbie Shore sewing pattern is perfect for recreating the look. Use a printed fabric on the hem, a key theme in Duro Olowu’s creations. Why not try making this dress in a lightweight cotton?
Another of Duro Olowu’s key desgins is the kimono style. This can be extremely easy to wear and never seems to go out of style. Again, you want to opt for printed fabrics in bright designs. As you can see from his kimono below, the more you can include the better! We’ve found a Stoff and Stil Kimono sewing pattern that closely resembles the designer garment. The pattern is aimed at advanced beginners.
All of these fabrics are available at www.croftmill.co.uk