Prom 2016

It’s been a little hectic since I got back from holiday.  It was countdown to Prom which meant final fitting time for the dress I have been making.  It has been an absolute pleasure working with Jess and her mum.  I particularly love that Jess always gives good feedback, what can I say, I like a client that knows what she wants ❤

This journey started in February when Jess sent some pictures and asked if I could make “this”.   “Sure” I said, “why don’t you come in and we’ll have a chat”.  It is of course never that simple, before the appointment I found some patterns that were as close as possible so we could talk details.


At the meeting we agreed how the dress would look; style details, colour, materials, length……  But more importantly I got to know Jess and her mum.  I feel when making a custom outfit it’s important to know who I am making it for and that they get to know me because they are trusting me with something really special.  In February it seemed a very long time until June, Ha!

Normally if I’m making for fairs or for me I buy fabric quite happily online but this time it seemed more prudent to get some samples.  While I waited for the sample to arrive I got busy customising the pattern (I did say it’s never that simple didn’t I).  I could use the pattern for under-layer of the dress, however, to create the top layer I need to graft the sheer panel onto the main body, yup that’s as confusing as it sounds!   Still it wouldn’t be fun if it was easy 🙂

The next few months were a blur of cutting, tacking, over-locking, sewing, fittings, discussions.  And for Jess, shoes, underwear, jewellery and unfortunately exams 😦

I will admit I am very very proud of the end result and Dot is still sulking that she can’t wear the dress anymore!  In fact she’s sulking so much I’ve included her in the gallery below but undoubtedly Jess is the star of the show.  Thank you for asking me to make your dress for such an important day.


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Emma’s Festive Frock

IMG-20151104-WA0000Do you have one person in your life who thinks you can do anything? The consequences are amazing and oh so challenging. My person is Emma my sister-in-law. We’d been talking about her Christmas dress for about four months, yup she’s that Christmas loving person that starts in September! When this magazine popped through my door

We both agreed that neckline was stunning but a fuller floaty skirt would look better. This meant I could split the top and bottom and we could have fun with fabric contrasts. Many screenshots and much debate later I found this….IMG-20151110-WA0001

It’s glitter stuck on a backing with fish-scale lace over the top (in case you were wondering) and I had slight misgivings when I realised I was ordering from a craft supplier not a fabric supplier (!) I waited for it to arrive before trying to match a fabric for the skirt. It was certainly worth the wait but yep it was meant for card making not for sewing……

We had a client meeting (this is business after all) and I’m fairly sure she dared me to try to make a dress out of it anyway. Or perhaps that’s just what I heard 🙂

On with the search for the skirt fabric, welcome to my life a beautiful midnight blue moss crepe, yum. At the client meeting we agreed the full dress would be made from the skirt fabric and the sparkles as an over top. That meant if it all went disastrously wrong we could simply add jewels to the top of the under dress. I like to have a backup plan when I’m at the crazy end of the creativity scale.

There was no doubt the fabrics looked 20151126_150910awesome together so time to cut and stitch. Except it’s NEVER that easy with anything for Emma, did I mention she’s tall, slim and not in a million years a standard size. So first job was to lengthen the pattern, remove the skirt, find a suitable transplant. Done! Well not quite that quickly I’m using artistic license.

Things quickly took shape for the underdress. And after some wrestling and persuasion for the bodice too.

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So how did it turn out? It was stunning, the structured bodice really contrasted with the floaty skirt and the whole thing was perfect for Em’s figure and personality. RESULT! Worth every risk, worry and broken nail 🙂


Busy busy busy

Unusually for me this is a post without pictures.  Please don’t think I haven’t been busy, or that there isn’t some thing to show for it there is.  Here are my excuses….

  • I’ve been doing some alterations and I won’t post someone else’s work on here even if I’ve tweaked it slightly.
  • We had a great Appliqué workshop on Sunday but nobody finished anything!  There was a lot of progress and I can’t wait to show you what’s been created but you’ll have to be patient, just like me 🙂
  • I made some gifts and I can’t show you till they’ve been opened because that would spoil the surprise. Because we all wait till our birthdays to open our presents, don’t we…….
  • I’ve been setting up my company (accounting records, yaaawn) and sorting out some training (yay).  And I’ve now got an online shop, no stock yet but one step at a time.

OK I fibbed about the pictures here’s my shop, if you click on the picture you can see it for real.  Why not put it in your favourites it won’t be empty for long……. 


A Tale of Two Dresses

My absolutely gorgeous niece (I have a few) was 18 on the 26th of May and what’s on a girls mind at this time. A dress, a fabulous dress. 20150521_114510So a few months ago we hunted down a Donna Karan dress pattern that was to die for, perfect.  We bought shiny green stretch satin, I wrestled with the pattern (plus difficile according to the packet). And then we had a fitting, one not very happy niece.  It just wasn’t right 😦 The fabulous dress didn’t make her feel like she wanted to feel.  So we started again, my family do like to make me fret about delivering on time!

Screenshot_2015-04-28-17-01-02This dress was more retro but still fabulous, and this time she would be the star not the dress 🙂

So we chose some more fabric, had some fun with pattern and texture.  And although this was an ‘easier’ dress it has more ingredients.  So in a few days we had, contrast fabric, boning, zips, grosgrain ribbon, thread, lining but no main fabric.  uh-oh.  Thanks Royal Mail for making me fret and wait and fret some more! 20150511_214218 While I waited I cut the lining which always helps you get to grips with the cutting layout. And I made up the “bra”. 20150511_211751 20150514_124029 And finally the fabric arrived, the last pieces were cut (and labelled of course, there were 7 skirt pieces and three layers!) 20150514_161040 I always find the most satisfying part of dressmaking to be the point where what was pile of fabric and notions suddenly starts to look like something you’d like to wear.  On this dress it was when the underskirt, skirt and bodice were pinned together for a first fitting. 20150519_105742 Which much to my relief went really well, whew! And cue much work to add the bones and the over skirt in time for the second fitting 3 days later. And here is the finished article worn by gorgeous niece IMG-20150607-WA0003IMG-20150607-WA0008IMG-20150607-WA0005 PS hopefully the fabulous Donna Karan will make an appearance soon….

In a time long, long ago, another wedding

I have mentioned that it’s thanks to Emma I have rediscovered my joy of sewing and dressmaking in particular.  But now it’s time to share the first set of bridesmaids dresses I made.  Before we go any further it was the eighties, OK, the eighties!

My sister was getting married and she loved me so much she thought she’d share the stress joy of preparing for the day.  I got to make the bridesmaids dresses, just the three thankfully.  And as compensation I would get to wear one of them….

20150521_085810 Imagine it yellow satin, yellow lace, BIG underskirts, puffed sleeves, yup all that plus big bows.  And still the cute (young) cousins managed to pull it off.  Although I think looking at Becca’s face she knew she’d regret the decision 🙂


Cousin It made an appearance in net underskirt with hoop (again it was the EIGHTIES).


I can confirm it was itchy, heavy and just a little over the top but we managed to smile through it.  OK maybe we didn’t.  In fact I am sure Victoria is actually asleep and the dress is holding her up!

I will confess at the time I though the dresses were wonderful and the gloves well they were just so, so, Madonna!  I loved the creative process and the technical challenge of a dipped waist gathered dress (we’re all hiding them with our flowers).  Here we are with the Bride and Groom.  I hope I haven’t traumatised you too much 🙂20150521_084026

Steven & Emma’s Wedding

It doesn’t seem a year ago that Emma first asked me if I could make the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses for her and Steven’s wedding. I was so honoured because it’s such a special day, I have also never been so scared of messing up! In the eight months to wedding we went from five dresses to seven and a “could you do the cake too”. What a roller coaster but so worth it the ladies and babies looked amazing.


So from the beginning…. the quote of the dress designing process “we don’t want no slutty dresses”, well no obviously 🙂
So we looked through some patterns and nothing was quite right. The best we could do was “like this but not that top, it needs more top”. So here are the patterns we started with for Bridesmaids and the Flower Girls. And this pile of cloth!

We had a few consultations, lots of shopping and we agreed on design, phew! Now there’s just lots of work but that’s OK you just need a plan to deal with that (and a project box of course). So a few measurement later we were ready to go.

And there was lots of work but we livened it up with fittings (alcohol fuelled), more shopping and cake tasting. My old dress-making dummy was brought out of retirement and Anne-Marie was quite jealous when she was told “Jenny” was wearing her dress.

I think at this stage it was still five dresses but not for long. It seems when you have cute nieces they just have to have dresses too! So I downsized the patterns and got creative for my tiny Pixie (she’ll grow soon I’m sure). No idea how you make a 2 year old stand still for fittings but we tried.

And so we moved onto finishing touches. We all loved the clean lines but it’s a wedding so surely we need some bling, don’t we? It’s fair to say this discussion lasted a few weeks, OK months. And in the end, No we didn’t need bling (I saved it for the cake which had it’s own diamanté ribbon). The only non blue things allowed were some pearl buttons and a string of pearls on silver wire for the throws.

And in the end seven beautiful dresses fit for a very special day.

I am so proud and I had so much fun I don’t want to stop. So I’m not! Professional shots courtesy of Karl and Kenny photography