Me meeting Minnie at Epcot, 2017
Minnie's dress is so simple, is brilliant. Even though she used the same style of dress for 39 years, it has been altered over time. In 1978, Minnie debuted a new look with her new dress. The fabric used for her new dress was previously used for Practical Pig's bandanna; which debuted in 1969.
Practical Pig at Disneyland, 1974. credit
Minnie Mouse at Magic Kingdom, 1981. credit
Her dress pattern is made up of a basic bodice with puffed sleeves and a circular skirt; made up of 3 panels. The fabric used for her dress was polyester. The bodice and sleeves are lined with white cotton fabric and the skirt with polyester lining. The white trimmings are made up of white canvas fabric. The diameter of the dots are roughly 2.25 inches and 1 inch apart from each other.
Using the website Spoonflower.com, a company that allows you to print your design on fabric, I was able to understand more about the pattern on the dress. I measured carefully Minnie's dress (I happen to own a vintage Minnie dress) and created a single white dot, placed over a red background. I used Photoshop to do this. Then I uploaded the design to Spoonflower and use their software repeat the pattern on fabric. Spoonflower offers numerous fabrics for printing, but they don't have the correct polyester fabric used on Minnie's dress. I ordered samples of the pattern on two types of fabric , Basic Cotton Ultra and polyester Eco Canvas (the closest one to the original.) When compared to the original dress, Basic Cotton Ultra matches perfectly and Eco Canvas shows up a bit brighter than the original. In theory, one can use this information provided and have it printed on Spoonflower.
Someone asked me if the shade of Minnie's dress and Mickey's pants match. They don't, very close though. Mickey's pants are solid red, stretchy gabardine and Minnie's dress is printed on fabric. Minnie's dress is brighter than Mickey's pants.
The closest shade of red of Minnie's dress Spoonflower offers, color hex CC4400
The repeated pattern used for Minnie's dress, half-drop pattern
Spoonflower samples compared to Minnie's dress
In 2008, Minnie's dress was updated, to look the same as before. The bodice's neckline was made more circular, the sleeves became slightly bigger, the white trimmings are now gaberdine and the skirt became one large panel. The biggest change was made on the seam on the waist. Now is full dot is created on the middle of the waist seam. It's formed by connecting two half dots on the bottom of the bodice and the top of the skirt.
Also, the back of the dress was redesigned were the dots would either: match the flow of the pattern on the adjacent side of the zipper line, or the dots will meet on the zipper line, like on the waist. Before this update, the dots on the dresses made for Minnie did not align on the waist or back. The costume department just sewed the dresses and let the dots fall wherever they land. In Tokyo Disneyland, before the '08 change, the Minnie dresses were carefully made where one, or three dots aligned at the waist. Tokyo Disneyland's costume department is more careful and persnickety about the small details on the character's and cast member's costumes.
Comparison of the old style dress (left) and the new '08 updated dress (right)
Close up of the dot at the waist line.
Minnie at Tokyo Disneyland, late 90's.
She wears a dress were three dots meet at the waist, instead of one
Dots aligned on the zipper line, Disneyland Paris. credit
(left) Dots aligned with the polka dot pattern, Tokyo Disneyland.
(right) Minnie's new dress, designed were there's no dots on the zipper line or back skirt seam, Disneyland.
Last year, I had the opportunity to meet with another collector, who owned a modern Minnie dress. I visited him and took my dress along to compare. It was interesting seeing the difference between the two. His dress was made in 2010 and mine is vintage. Joking with the collector, I said "my dress looks like a thrift store find compared to yours." Because his dress was modern, it was higher quality and less worn than mine. He also had Minnie's bow and bloomers. He offered the dress to me, but I couldn't not afford it. Let's see if another one comes along for my collection.
New Minnie dress (left) & my vintage Minnie dress (right)