Making a dress (part 2)

Sorry for this horribly long two-part post around the making of my sister's dress...for me it justifies two posts due to the magnitude of the project. While for others whipping up a dress may be something they mention in passing at the end of a post relating to other things, for me it is an occasion similar to the birth of a child that requires endless photographs of the newborn and the eating of chocolate eclairs to celebrate.

Well, my sister arrived and tried on her dress...and it fitted, which was such a huge relief and I thought she looked wonderful in it. When I had phoned to let her know that it was ready she joked about whether she would be able to get her arms through the holes...which made me laugh and I felt comforted by the fact that she had asked me to make it for her, half-accepting that it may well be a disaster. It is a sign that she knows me well that she knew that aspect of dressmaking may prove troublesome to me (it requires small amounts of mathematics...I shall say no more) and how lovely it was to confess that the eventual arms on her dress were not the first pair to have graced the arm holes.

But the arms did fit and with room to spare for at least another quarter of an arm in each...should that strange need arise.

We were both pleased with the detail of this shiny button and the keyhole opening...but if I was ever to make something similar again I would use a lighter-weight interfacing for the dress facings as it took some work to reduce the bulk around the keyhole.

And here it is on the inside...I can see why there was a passing trend for stitching to be visible on the outside of t-shirts and I'm sure it was all to do with the rampant egos of machinists (possibly those new to the field of garment construction)....something along the lines of 'mmm, my seams are so satisfying that to turn them inwards to the body seems an insult!'

There's something lovely about covering buttons and I taught Zebra-girl how to do them while I made these ones...she was amazed at how the material is drawn up around the disc as you pull on the threads - the possibilities with such an activity are endless...

And finally here it is about to be wrapped to give to my sister. A couple of days earlier when I had been about to show her the new Moo cards I'd received for my shop (it's taking so long it's beginning to feel like it might be a figment of my imagination...but apparently late September is looking hopeful), she had stopped me from showing them to her and said she wanted to see them as part of the opening of her dress...attaching your first Moo card to something is a little like opening your very best new has that 'ahhh' factor of loveliness...even Mr Teacakes has been coveting much so that he has now placed his own Moo order.

Despite the fact that this dress was my sister's belated birthday present, somehow in all her muddled up loveliness she felt the need to buy me presents to thank me for making it (and that was before she'd even seen the finished could have been such a sticky situation had I been forced to hand over only the shreds of butchered material)...the most perfect little pot for putting my rings in at bedtime:

And some spice pots that we had seen and coveted in Habitat last year on a day out together...

...filled with buttons, rather than spice, some of them are handmade ceramics.

There. I feel I can stop talking about the dress now. I won't mention it again. I shall instead tell you, in case she sees it here herself and is horrified by it, that my sister's hair is not really a strange greyish-blue colour, nor is her skin so anemic-looking. I have adjusted the colour levels a little in these photos, as red and black are such tricksy colours to capture, but that has had a most unfortunate effect on the other elements of the photo. In reality Laura's hair is the most lovely golden colour and I had the fun of cutting it on her visit home last week, which is one of my favourite things to do. She asked me to take three inches off, but I think in the end it was closer to four...but over the years I have come to realise that she always tells me a little less than she would actually like in order to leave room for inevitable error. For cutting hair is a little like installing arms onto dresses...but less repairable...but I'm not meant to be talking about dresses...


  1. Phew. I am so happy! I've been waiting for this (a bit like when you're waiting for news of the new baby) the dress is a resounding success - and beautiful too. Well done - I am in awe (because I can't grasp the concept of dressmaking, and probably never will)

    so don't apologise - some of us were really very excited to hear how it all went!

  2. That is a fantastic dress! Well done and don't apologise for going on about it. I'm glad to read all about it.

  3. The dress is beautiful! Beautifully constructed and I love the fabric.

  4. WOW!! That dress is AMAZING!!! the fabric is gorgeous too. I am intrigued though, how did you make the pattern? Did you just smooth out the original dress and cut round it? I have a few clothes I would like to copy this way. x

  5. it's a beauty!!!
    well done perfectly made + no wonder you're a proud mum : ) i love the front seam detail and the buttons. will you be stocking dresses in the shop??! happy monday to you xxx

  6. The dress is truly stunning! That fabric is gorgeous. I can't believe that you made it from a pre-existing garment. Bravo!

  7. It is just lovely! Big pat on the back, that is just impressive.

  8. wow, the dress is gorgeous, the fabric, design and fit! So well done!
    ~Emily in Norway

  9. That looks really wonderful! Such gorgeous fabric too.

  10. Congratulations on a beautiful result to your endeavors. I also appreciate your sharing your feelings of trepidation as you went through the process. It's a lovely dress and I'm positive your sister will wear it with pride.

  11. Oooh it's gorgeous! - on the outside and the inside! I love the little bound cap sleeves, and the yoke front - lovely style. Your sister must be thrilled.
    You know though, you are just adding to my overlocker envy!

  12. How you constructed this gorgeous creation by simply taking a pattern from another dress leaves me in awe. I too suffered from Overlocker Syndrome, but I now love it - except when there are corners or curves involved.

    And what a lovely sister to reward you with those beautiful gifts. I am sure she realised what an Everest you had conquered!

  13. oh florence it's just so lovely! xx

  14. I recently finished a dress for the first time in a lot of years..but without the aid of an overlocker..I must say it looks better 'with' on yours.

  15. Keep up the good work.


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