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Dress/ Dressmaking/ Evening Dress

Gold & Silver Evening Dress

On a fabric shopping trip sometime back in the summer my husband spotted a gold/silver shimmery jersey fabric and suggested that it would make a lovely evening dress for a forthcoming festive dance, so who was I to discourage him! I purchased the remaining 3 metres left on the roll and took it home for deliberation. As Christmas approached I had a scan through my patterns, I found a suitable vogue design, but this dress needed a bit of lace adding to it. So armed with a sample piece of the gold jersey I set off to a local fabric store and found a lovely piece of border tulle lace fabric.

Vogue Pattern

Fabric & Lace















I felt that the shoulders of the design where possibly a little to narrow for me so I adjusted the front & back bodice pattern pieces at the shoulder line making them wider. 

  Bodice 1



The upper front lace inserts are cut along the border and attached to the lover front pieces.

The centre front line is gathered giving shaping for the bust.




 Back Bodice


I hand stitched a diamante trim at the centre back opening, back neck and around the armholes,




Bodice 2


…….and the centre front.

The bodice was stitched to an ‘A’ line skirt. Along with a ruched belt which defined the waistline.




With the remainder of the lace trim made this little bolero jacket to complete the ensemble.

Lace Bolero Jacket Back Bodice 2



Dress/ Dressmaking

Grey Jumper Dress

There seems to be a lot of jumper dresses in the shops this autumn so thought I would add one to my own wardrobe!

I purchased a length of a really good quality grey wool rib fabric at our local fabric store just recently. I am not normally a fan of the colour grey, think it can be a bit boring on its own, but was sure I could add something to it to brighten it up.  In amongst my stash in my studio I found a short length of grey polyester georgette with a silver design printed on, which teamed with the rib fabric perfectly.


I drafted my own pattern for this dress which has raglan sleeves, a ‘V’ cowl neckline and deep shaped cuffs. I made piping from the contrast fabric and added it to the collar and cuffs which highlight the design details.  I covered small 11mm buttons with the contrasting fabric carefully cutting the fabric to show the silver colour.

I am really pleased with the outcome with this dress, fashionable yet different from the crowd.

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Dress/ Dressmaking

Blue Sequin Dress

Needing a new dress for a ‘Black Tie’ dance I took myself off to the local fabric shop and purchased some blue allover sequin fabric.

Because of the beauty of the fabric it didn’t need a complicated style. I used a Butterick pattern 4778 which I have had for many a long year! It’s a simple princess line with a low cut front, a square cut low back and a sexy little split at the left front side! Not having used this pattern for some years (and put on a few pounds in the meantime) I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern to make it fit. To ‘bling’ it up, and you can always add bling for a ‘Black Tie dance’, I added a few bows with diamonte in strategic places. The dress is fully lined using a silk lining.

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Dress/ Dressmaking

Red Silk Dress

I recently made a gorgeous red silk dress for a friend of mine for her son’s wedding in the sout of France. The design was based on a Vogue jacket pattern by Belville Sassoon but I altered the pattern into a dress ………… like you do!!

Made from a silk dupion I created lots of ruffles around the ‘boat’ neckline and because this sat at the top of the sleeve/shoulders it needed a boned bodice to prevent the dress from falling off the shoulders. 

Made from a silk dupion I created lots of ruffles around a ‘boat’ neckline and because the dress sat at the top of the arms/shoulders it needed a boned bodice to prevent the dress from falling from the shoulders. The back of the boned bodice was shaped to a ‘V’ and attached to the dress with yet more ruffles stitched into the back neckline and shoulders. The bodice fastened with hooks & eyes beneath the zipped back of the princess line dress. The back vent at the hemline of the dress was echoed in the ¾ length sleeves and highlighted with simple bows and adornments. The dress was underlined with a silk organza and lined with a silk habotai.

This dress took much deliberation to work out both the design and the construction process but was worth it in the end as she looked absolutely fabulous!

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Dress/ Dressmaking

Spotty Frock

I needed a new dress to go to the Valentines dance, and as usual ‘I simply did not have a thing to wear’ she says. I needed a dress that wasn’t overly dressy up, but looked smart and would give me room for dancing in. I used a Butterick pattern 5710 and some blue spotty fabric with plenty of drape. The dress is cut on the bias which allows the for a beautiful drape over the body, whilst the cowl neckline is added to the front of the dress by way of an additional pattern piece. It has little ‘cap’ raglan sleeves to which I added a small pair of shoulder pads. I know lots of people shy away from these things, but they really did give a lovely finish to the shoulders. The dance was a success and my husband loved the dress.

Spotty top

Dress/ Dressmaking

My Christmas Dress

My dress for Christmas this year is made from a dark red Broderie Anglais, but not quite like your ordinary piece of fabric. This one has quite a large embroidered design with gold threads and a bit of diamonte bling. So because it is such a lovely fabric it really only needed a simple dress design.

I used a very simple shift dress pattern with a ‘V’ neckline. The fabric has a ‘cut out’ border along both edges so I used this to my advantage placing the pattern pieces along the borders for both the hem of the dress and the sleeve hems. 

I did not want to interupt the design of the fabric down the side seams so instead of just sewing ordinary seams I overlaid the front and back pieces and appliqued them together. (To do this it is imperitive that a toile is made beforehand as adjustments to fit are just not possible.)

I cut a strip from the border, gathered it up and added it to the neckline. The addition of a little extra diamonte bling to gave it a wow factor!

Sleeves Neckline

Dress/ Dressmaking

Red Jersey Dress

Not done a lot of sewing of late as I have been working on my new sewing studio, however I have just made up this Little Red Dress.

I used a Mc Calls Pattern M7016 and a red double knit jersey from my stash. It is a very simple design with a roll collar neckline, but I decided to give it a little personality by adding a couple of rows of double stitching along the front collar and the sleeves. This is very easy to do, you simply use a twin needle in your machine and 2 lots of thread.

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Dress/ Dressmaking

The Power of Straight Stitching

I am singing in a choir concert tomorrow evening and of course like most of us ladies I absolutely ‘don’t have anything to wear’ for the occasion… ha ha!! We have to wear all black, long skirt and long sleeve top, so I consulted my ‘stash’ and came up with 1.5 metres of a lovely wool fabric, not quite enough fabric to make a long dress from so found a silk satin to go with it. I used an old Simplicity pattern 5591 again from my stash but made alterations to it along the way!

The entire dress was underlined using a silk georgette, I like to underline my garments these days as I think it adds quality to the finished garment and it also means that hems etc are not visible from the right side. 


For the front bodice I used the silk satin, but as this fabric is considerably lighter in weight than the wool fabric I backed it using some left over brushed cotton I had used on my wedding dress. I ‘quilted’ the two fabrics together simply by stitching straight lines from the centre front outwards, I used a black embroidery thread to do this to add a bit of shine. I also replicated this for the turn back cuffs.  


An invisible zip is inserted in the centre back seam and i used the satin for the sleeves and cuffs.

For a final bit of ‘bling’ I stitched black buttons with swarovski stones in the centre to the cuffs, centre front and down the back split.

I made a little poppy from some red organza for the night as the theme of the music is about remembrance and the sorrow of war!


Dress/ Dressmaking

Double Piping

Had another fabric buying ‘fix’ just recently and purchased this blue and pink stretch cotton. I used a Vogue pattern V1353, made it a little longer in the skirt, (I don’t have the legs for short skirts anymore!) and added a little more to the bodice length to accommodate my longer back measurement. 

Whilst constructing the dress I thought about adding a little piping around the neck and armholes thinking this would enhance the finish of the dress and pull out the colours, but I couldn’t decide whether to use blue or pink for the piping? 

So, I used both!! 

Bluepinkdresspiping V1353

Dress/ Dressmaking/ Jacket

Sue & Ted’s Wedding

About 18 months ago I got engaged to my wonderful man, Ted, and since then I have spent many months thinking about and designing my own wedding dress. My engagement ring is an aqua marine and this was the deciding influence on the colour for my dress. 

The main body and skirt of the dress is made from a duchess satin with a lace underskirt decorated with pearl beads which just shows through at the front, I also used the lace for the 3/4 length sleeves and finished the edging around the neckline and top sleeve with more of the lace edging. The back has a laced up panel and by using 4 laces it created a lovely finish I think. It has a structured boned bodice with 12 boning channels and a hook & eye fastening at the back to keep it secure, it was very comfortable all day.

I was unsure of the weather and how warm or cold it might be on the day so I made a bolero jacket to go with it. I used piping to edge continuously around the collar and front and lower edges and also the shaped sleeves. I then added some lace inserts in the sleeves to reflect the skirt of the dress.

The dress and jacket is underlined with both silk organza and a brushed cotton for warmth and of course fully lined.

I also made some lace and fabric flowers which were added to my bouquet.