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Have you ever gone to a party or a wedding and spotted someone else wearing the same dress? That’s unlikely to bother a confident woman––unless she is someone who truly cares about originality. If that’s the case, there’s a clear, affordable solution. Skip mass merchandising and make it yourself. If you’re not a seamstress, take a class and have someone coach you through it. Or hire it done. You’ll pay a little more overall, but I’m convinced that Americans need to make peace with paying more for our clothes. It’s the only way we’re ever going to retrieve quality and keep more of our money here in the U.S.

Every since I finished making my two-piece suit, I’ve been eyeing clothes a little differently. On a walk through the mall yesterday, I started looking at how things are put together. I found myself thinking, “I could make that.” And so could you. Not only that––you can do it cheaper and it will fit better. Plus, it will be made right here in the good ‘ole U.S.A. and you’ll be the only woman in the room wearing that dress.

You’ve got just enough time to make a vintage-inspired party dress for the holidays. I found three great dresses from ModCloth and a comparable pattern you can use to make them. (Click on the photos to visit the ModCloth site.) One of the things I’m noticing is how very often the fabric can augment a very plain dress–which means you don’t have to be a master seamstress to have something truly original.

Buy ‘em or make ‘em—either way, I love these dresses.

Dress 1 ModCloth Golden Garden Dress

Golden Garden Dress
Make it with this Simplicity pattern

Dress 2 ModCloth Big Band Singer Dress

Big Band Singer Dress

Make it with this Simplicity pattern. This one was the most difficult to approximate. That keyhole neckline isn’t easy to find, but you’ll see that the Simplicity pattern shown here has some interesting collar details.

Dress 3 ModCloth Flare and Square Dress

Flare and Square Dress

Make it with this Simplicity pattern. Or even this one.

So, which are you more inclined to do? Buy or sew your vintage party dress? Which is your favorite?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.