Dress · Fabric · Hand stitching · Pattern

Fancy a dancy

Back in summer I was at my local wonderland. I had a shopping list and was determined to stick to it, but of course that rarely happens. I found some beautiful delicate wine/raspberry lace (though it was polyester and has a small repeat pattern) it was (I think) $5 a meter.

Hey, I’d been wondering what to wear to my first formal dinner back at college anyway. So I bought a couple of meters and began to think.

I wanted to keep it pretty simple, yet of course interesting. And because of how delicate the fabric is I would be hand sewing it all, so I wanted to keep seams to a minimum.

In my mind I decided it would probably be a wrap dress that I would belt in, meaning that it wouldn’t need shaping (and of course I would be wearing a slip under it).

I put some jazz on and began experimental draping.

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Though a cowl would’ve been nice to try for the first time it would’ve taken more piecing than I was hoping, and I felt the fabric wasn’t heavy enough to give it a nice drape.

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So lets just make it a basic wrap dress!

In my wardrobe I had a very basic cotton wrap dress that I loved the shape of, so I put it on the mannequin, covered it with my fabric and began to pin them together. I realise this is a rather unconventional way to make a dress, but because it wasn’t to be fitted I didn’t need to be too fussy. I gathered it up around the waist and shoulders, then began to cut out the outline.

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This was all a little frightening for me as it could easily have gone horribly wrong and all that time would be for naught. But amazingly it did work! Below is the most complete photo I have of it, sorry.

But imagine I wrapped some more of the fabric around the straps at the front, so they stayed thick, but still gave it a sweetheart neckline. Lastly a couple of hook-and-eyes at each side of the front to hold it in place.

 

 

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On the night I wore it with a black slip that came down to mid-thigh (the dress is just above the knee) and was more skimpy (but still modest!) around the top, showing off the nice lace pattern on my skin rather than black. Instead of using the lace as a belt I wore it with a cummerbund, though next time I think I’ll try it with a satin sash of a similar hue.

 

Side bodies: The front-side and back-side pieces initially used in men’s suit jackets that give better mobility than one or two piece constructions. Used from the 1840’s onward.

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