Summer of No Pants :: Inspired Novelty Prints for Dresses and Skirts


Oh friends! I’m so excited!  It’s a full cup of awesome being served here this morning for three great reasons: 1) It is my turn on the Summer of No Pants tour hosted by Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! and I’ve committed to wearing skirts or dresses at least three times a week this summer as a part of the challenge, 2) I’m highlighting my favorite novelty fabric choices for skirts AND dresses and generally drumming up great enthusiasm for busting out some awesome novelty prints for yourself to wear and 3) I’m completely geeking out about being involved in this tour! I love Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! and I’m sort of in awe of that fact that Marigold wanted me to be involved.

I realize #3 is a lot like #1 but I really needed to communicate how fan-girl, crazy honored I am.  Plus, tee hee, this graphic is so clever.  That Marigold, I tell you.


Now that we’ve established a high excitement level, let’s talk novelty prints!

With so many great places to get fabric from these days, such as Spoonflower where you can find all things novelty, and so many emerging designers with an eye for whimsical, playful design paired with sophisticated colors it seems like there has never been a better time to make amazing, grown-up clothing with novelty prints.  I got the novelty fabric bug after I made this Washi dress and my swan dress.  Thing is, I love flowers and everything but the world had lots and lots of flower dresses and striped dresses and solid colored dresses and just not as many playful novelty print dresses.  You know what I mean? It’s time to liven it up.

On top of that, so many modern novelty prints have an almost geometric-like quality that makes them far too interesting for just quilts or dresses for little girls or boys clothing.  They deserve bigger landscapes and worthier showcasing. Finally, the colors being used on many of the better novelty prints work beautifully for women’s clothing…they are more sophisticated and unusual making a dress or skirt interesting instead of cutesy or goofy.

I pulled together a Pinterest board of inspiration here including some great things others have already made like this, this and this.  But, here are the fabric picks that I think are the absolute best and are screaming out to live their lives as dresses and skirts.

For Skirts I picked larger scale prints that would look stunning with a simple black tee and boots or strappy summer sandals (maybe with a mojito in hand):


From Left to Right & Top to Bottom: Frolic Coral from Cotton + Steel; Flamingo Blue of Lulu Magnolia collection from Quilted Fish; Mustang from Cotton + Steel; Mexico Springtime from Sammy K; Elephant and Umbrella from Holli Zollinger; The Fleet in Grey from Michele Brummer Everett (Cloud 9); Slate Grey by Andrea Lauren; Charley Harper Knit from Birch Fabrics; Hot Pink Zebras from Alexander Henry

For Dresses I chose smaller scale prints but I think all of these prints would work for both:


From Top to Bottom and Left to Right: Kitty Dream in Grass from Lizzy House; Fly Aweigh Lobster Red from Riley Blake; August Hide + Seek from Cotton + Steel;  Red Umbrella from New Mom Design; Hopping Along Lotus Pond from Cloud 9 fabrics; Canning party in White from 1canoe2; Anchors in Navy from Dear Stella; Meadowlark from Heather Bailey; Red Balloons from Cloud 9

P.S. I tried, where I could, to link to the best place to highlight these fabrics but I can’t always get direct links.  And, I have to emphasize local fabrics shops as a great source too!

P.P.S. I’ve actually already made a dress in the Red Umbrella fabric up there but I’ve already covered lots of ground, I promise to share it soon!

2 Comments on Summer of No Pants :: Inspired Novelty Prints for Dresses and Skirts

  1. Audrey
    July 8, 2014 at 5:48 pm (4 years ago)

    Great selection! We love to make skirts from prints too.

    • Melissa Q.
      July 10, 2014 at 8:27 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! Skirts are such a great format to show off fun prints, aren’t they?


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