I’m so excited to finally announce a new series I am bringing to Elle Apparel. Its called, The Monthly Dress Series. It will be one dress each month that I design and sew inspired by that specific month. And what better month to kick things things off than the month of October?! Here is my first dress in The Monthly Dress Series: The October Dress…

The October Dress: a dress inspired by the dark, eerie month of October. I added multiple layers of tulle on the bottom section of the gown, and added a structured tulle double overlay shorter skirt on top to create a full dramatic silhouette. I wanted to keep this dress feeling more like a gown rather than a costume, but it needed some good embellishments, so I added black raven feathers along the neckline and crafted smaller feather florets that I scattered throughout the skirt overlay. I polished off the look by outlining the bodice and tule skirt with velvet ribbon.

The October Dress by Leanne Barlow

Since this is the first post in my Monthly Dress Series, I wanted to give you a little background of how this series came about. I’ve included it all at the bottom of this post, along with a video, the tutorial for this dress, and my inspiration board. 

The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow The October Dress by Leanne Barlow

A few months ago I was approached by the producer of Project Runway about being on the show. I thought all of my dreams had come true! I was on cloud nine the entire day at the prospect of getting to show the world the kind of clothing I can create. A few days later the excitement wore off, and I thought about the reality of what being on the show would really mean. Months away from my kids was the main reason I couldn’t move forward, along with the stress and pressure that would come with signing up for that kind of production. I just didn’t feel right about pursuing the show, so I closed the door on that opportunity and put my focus else wear.

A few weeks later I got a message from a reader asking about where a dress I wore to church was from. I replied and told her that I made it, and she responded, “You made it? I didn’t even know you sewed clothing!” Then it hit me. How many others out there have no idea about the passion I have for sewing and designing clothing? I have years and years worth of sewing tutorials on my blog, and I have created an entire online video sewing course that teaches all about how to sew and design your own clothing. My passion for clothing design is what started Elle Apparel seven years ago. In the beginning days of Elle Apparel, I couldn’t afford to buy the clothing I wanted, so I taught myself how to sew my own clothing and designed clothes that I really loved. I set that passion aside for a while, but I decided it was time to start it up again, only on a bigger scale. The Monthly Dress series is something I created to stretch my own clothing design limits. I want these dresses to be hard, and complicated, and challenging for me! I had so much fun pushing the limits on what I could create with The October Dress. From the initial dress inspiration, to selecting the fabrics, to the shooting location and photo concept discussions with my photographer, I loved diving back into this creative world again. I really hope you like this series!

I wanted to give you a more in depth look at my Monthly Dress Series creations, so I filmed the whole design process as well. It really gives you the sense of how the dress is constructed….


Here is my inspiration board for the dress. I am a huge Marchesa fan, and I couldn’t get that bottom right navy and black dress out of my head, so I pulled most of my inspiration for the silhouette of my dress from that Marchesa dress.

I created an advanced tutorial for this dress as well. It is very high level because it is so complex, but I wanted to include it for those of you interested. If you don’t know how to sew but are interested in learning, make sure you check out my online sewing courses for beginner and intermediate sewers.


The October Dress Tutorial by Leanne Barlow


photography by Jordan Zobrist  |  makeup by Lexi Makeup Artist

Join the Conversation


  1. I love this dress and I’m so excited for this series! I have your sewing course and I’ve been following your and Merrick’s blog for years. You guys have basically taught me how to sew. My skill level and creativity are no where near yours, but I do get such a thrill when I’m asked where I bought my dress and I can say, “I made it.”

  2. This is amazing, I love it! I bought your sewing courses a few years ago and although I am far from your level, it was a great stepping stone to introduce me to sewing! Looking forward to the rest of the dresses you create!

  3. Yay! You’re sewing again! I bought your advanced sewing course and have really enjoyed making things from yours and Merrick’s tutorials. This dress series looks amazing, and I can’t wait to see what other incredible designs you come up with:)

  4. I am so excited for this. I’ve loved your blog for years and am excited to see your creations. Also! Props for putting your family first.

  5. I am so excited for this. I love dresses and I have put sewing on the back burner too due to being so busy in my life right now. I use to sew all my kids clothes and mine years ago. It’s my passion too and I want to start it back up, so love this idea!!

  6. This dress is stunning! I am in love with the way it turned out. And the photo shoot to show it off. All the *heart eyes*. Excited for this series!

  7. Amazing. You are so talented. A perfect dress for October. Looking forward to what else you have in store.

  8. Wow! This dress is gorgeous! You are so talented. I am a reader of your blog and knew you sewed and happy to see that you created this new series. Can’t wait to see what you create! Love it and I’m inspired!

  9. This is such a cool idea!! You have an awesome talent, and although I don’t know he first thing about designing or sewing clothing, I definitely appreciate the art, and love style! Can’t wait to see the dresses you make for the upcoming months!

  10. You blew this one out of the park! So amazing!! Seriously, it is absolutely stunning as are you. So excited for this series.

  11. So excited about this series. I don’t sew, but I so admire your talent. Love that you’re sharing all of your creativity!

  12. Seriously, so incredible. Your vision, talent, and end result are all STUNNING. Can’t wait to see more!!

  13. I absolutely LOVE this!! That is so exciting that you got asked to be on Project Runway, even though the timing wasn’t right that is still awesome in itself! I went to FIDM for fashion Design and you would never know it…I think the last thing I sewed was my oldest sons halloween costume last year and he was a cowboy, so some simple chaps and a vest! This new series is giving me an itch to break out my sew machine again!!

  14. This is amazing! I totally understand not doing the show, it’s too hard with those kids, but I would have watched the heck out of that! I found your blog years ago because of the sewing and love when you go back to it! I can’t wait to see the rest of this series.

  15. Wow! so good to see you creating and sewing again. I used one of your tutorials to make a t-shirt dress. Excellent.

  16. Omg I’m so excited about this series ? I can’t sew to save my life but I absolutely love seeing what others can do and this first dress is amazing girlfriend! Can’t wait to see what else you make!

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