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 🙂


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