Amanda vs. Gorman House Tea Dress Pattern

Let us begin today with a familiar song, shall we?

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong…


Can you tell me which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?


While these two bodice pieces look innocuous enough in these pictures, let me share with you the true horror that was the super awesome free Gorman tea dress pattern of TERROR!

Late last year a dear friend/sewist/derby lady let me know that Gorman (an Australian fashion label) had released a free downloadable pattern of their ridiculously good looking Backgammon Tea Dress. All my tiny sewing obsessed brain could focus on was “Free Pattern” as I filled in all the details required to grab a copy of this and basically sold my soul to a shopping centre’s marketing people. But hey- free pattern! Greed sated, the download sat in my inbox waiting patiently.

Fast forward a few months and it’s Easter Sunday and this sassy lady is looking for something to sew up quickly. So I line up all my pieces, cut and tape like a mad thing and then take a moment to reflect upon the pieces I cut out. And that’s when it hits me.

These bad boys are made for freaking oompa loompas.

I suddenly felt the urge to be shrunk down, gorge on chocolate (oh wait, it’s Easter and I’d already done that) and book in for a hideous spray tan. Concerned that I was losing my mind (or just a sense of size and/or depth perception) I pulled out a bodice piece from Colette’s Peony. And lo and behold the oompa loompa frock pieces were indeed TEENY! Miffed, I made myself a sidecar cocktail, sipped away at this while gazing disdainfully at the tiny pieces and imagined life in tiny overalls working for cocoa beans. Magic times.

Determined not to give up, and inspired by my coincidental selection of Peony for comparisons sake, I came up with a plan. What if I hacked the Peony pattern and made my own version of the Gorman tea dress? And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when magic started to happen (and also warm and fuzzies from the bourbon content of the aforementioned cocktail)…

I present to y’all the “it sucks to be you stupid oompa loompa pattern pieces lying on my sewing room floor dress”…


Oh yeah. This frock has turned into one of the things I am most proud of making. I mean, look at it’s sweet polka dotted little shape.


I used Peony as a starting point for this dress and manipulated things from there. The front of the bodice remains virtually unchanged (lowered the neckline slightly and shortened the darts) but the fun bit is with the back. I haphazardly shaped a rear panel but when I sewed it up it gaped behind my shoulder blades. In a rather dodgy move I ended up creating a diagonal dart that solved the problem and made a cool feature.



I also tailored and shaped the rest of the bodice to create a more fitted top to balance out the floof of the skirt.


For the skirt I made two big rectangles, gathered them up and fitted it to the bodice. For next time I think I would like a bit more floof (I never thought I would ever use that phrase)

Whilst this is not quite the same as the Gorman tea dress pattern, I think it is a pretty good attempt and my first real go at going crazy and altering patterns (even more so that my wacky colour band in The Ginger Hack). And I have to say I’m proud. A year ago I could not have imagined making something without a clear pattern, let alone making up darts as I went and creating my own bias binding.
So I guess, to summarise, I need to be thanking Gorman and their oompa loompa sizing for making me test myself, drink some cocktails and ROCK IT OUT!


  1. Your posts always ALWAYS make me smile. And also feel rather in awe of your amazing skills. Fabulous save here (that pattern is whacked) and no fake orange tan in sight. I love this dress.

  2. Thanks, Ellen! I must say I prefer it as well but then I am totally and epically biased… and also can’t afford a $249 dress. Oh how I wish I would win the lotto… or gamble really well on monkey races!

  3. Bec- thank you very much! Your tea dresses changed the way I look at clothes and I am now obsessed… Though the Gorman pattern is a poor substitute for a Naughty Shorts original!

  4. Ha you showed that free pattern how to suck eggs! Love me a good polka dot dress, sadly i have enough fabric to keep me going until Christmas but if something should just jump in my shopping basket…..

  5. Vintage pattern + polka dots + purple = swoon, I love it!

    And if by oompa loompas you mean, i don’t know, someone who’s 5′ and around a Colette size 2-4, weeelll, I could help you with that pesky download pattern, you know *wink*

  6. I tried to download the pattern, as I love this look and have been trying to find a pattern just like it. Please let me know if you have a way to post the download… As I adore this dress and want the pattern oh so much!!!

  7. Hi Victoria, I am afraid I no longer have the pattern on my computer anymore- after my attempt to make it I got rid of the thing. I ended up using Colette’s Peony dress and adjusted the bodice and added a gathered skirt. Good luck with your quest!

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