About this far! One metre of light wool fabric that cost R10 on a sale, an old(ish) Burda magazine pattern, and several hours of sewing by the rules.
These are really really bad photos, I know, and I'm sorry, but there's so little light indoors at the moment, and I was too cold to take off the shirt I'm wearing under the dress.
It's the simplest pattern I could find: just 1 front and 2 back pieces, the sleeves not being cut separately. The original pattern had a long straight skirt, but I made a mock-up in calico (gasp!). Once I'd checked that that fitted, I just drew lines outward from the hip shaping to make a more A-line shape.
It's exactly what I wanted. Given how long it can take to sew a dress*, buying clothes is usually cheaper than making. But I never find things I want in shops. Or, if I do, I'm disappointed at the fabric, the lack of lining or proper hem, and I always, always have to take things in at the back of the waist. The only clothes I ever really want to buy cost as much as I earn in a very good month. So sewing ends up cheaper.
*specially if you press all the seams, and tack the zip in rather than just pinning it, and measure seam allowances instead of guessing, and mark pieces with chalk. Yes I did.