On occasion I have heard some of my women friends say that they  wished they could just wear a uniform, to make daily dressing and getting out the door easier. Something flattering and easy care, that they know will look good and of which they have a never ending (and preferably perfectly ironed) supply. I personally could live in silk harem pants and loose tunics, although I wear all sorts of other things too.

But I heard of an artist, a sculptor, who literally wears the same dress, in different colours and fabrics, all the time. Apparently she once bought the original dress in a shop and liked it so much that she kept getting it copied from then on. Her name is Michele Oka Doner. Here is an article about here and her work.

She looks pretty good, doesn’t she? I love her work too, you should google it and have a look. While I don’t think I would have the discipline to stick to one perfect dress for years and years, I wouldn’t mind just one copy of her dress for myself.

As luck would have it, I had just the right pattern in my stash. I found it years ago in an Italian magazine and have used it several times, but the mag is probably in pattern mag heaven by now.  If you want to get your hands on something similar, the StyleArc Toni Designer dress below is very close.

The tutorial on how to shorten it shows the pattern pieces:

To make the Michelle Oka Doner dress you need to take out the centre front seam and make a simple round neck instead of the collar. You also need to add the arm scyes and sleeves from a pattern that fits you well in that area. Here are a couple of my own previous versions.

For the cowl I made a trapeze shape, self lined, about the width of my shoulders at the bottom and considerably narrower towards the top. The fabric is an off white ponte. It will show the dirt like crazy, but winter white is so dressy and a good colour for me too. I wore the dress for a big zero birthday party and felt very chic.   🙂

After I published this post Harriet Snow commented that the Tina Givens Iris pattern is also very close, or a ‘dead ringer’ as they say in Australia. This gives anyone wanting to make it another option. The sleeves are cut on in this version, which by necessity makes the bodice looser at the top. I prefer a closer fit in this area, but the Tina Givens version is undeniably closer to the original.


And a look at the pattern pieces: