I have been designing this dress in my head for quite some time. I design a lot of things in my head –in the shower, on the bus, when I’m meant to be doing something else and when I’m nodding off to sleep – it’s a busy old head!
Anyhows, an invitation to the gorgeous Rhonda’s 30th bitthday party was a great prompt to put some of these ideas into action. I met Rhonda’s mum, Tina many moons ago when we moved next door to her and she soon became more than a neighbour. More confidante, great friend and the most wonderful childminder to my son. So this party was really a family affair and I needed a dress.
I’ve got real issues with buying clothes from high street shops nowadays. I haven’t bought anything new (save underwear and shoes, of course!) in over a year and get much more satisfaction in making something myself or striking lucky in charity shops. I did think about making it a conscious decision when I started this blog but I know how flaky I can be and I didn’t think I could stick to that rule. Turns out I didn’t have to make it a rule. It happened quite naturally. I much prefer dreaming of what I want and making it or ‘rescuing’ from charity shops rather than settling for what’s out there. And now I really feel like I’ve moved on.
This is my first dreamt of, self-designed and handmade dress. And I am chuffed to bits. The bodice pattern is slightly modified from Burda Style’s Wedding Special, issue March 2011. It has a v-back, a high neckline and is perfectly fitted with waist and bust darts. Below is the bridesmaid dress as featured in the magazine.
The skirt section is self-drafted. It is a circle skirt with the inner circumference double the waist. The fabric is either silk or cotton, a silky cotton… or maybe a cotton silk! I did a burn test and it burnt to dust so its definitely void of any synthetic fibres! I had enough of it to self-line the bodice and it feels lovely against my skin and was cool enough under the flashing lights on the dance floor!
I made the sash from a 3 metre, double layer length of chiffon, tapered at the ends and top-stitched.
The rose print allowed for some interesting placement on the back. Quite happy about that!
The dress is worn over an organza petticoat, again, self-drafted, which although not complicated, was more of a test of my patience than the dress. I will blog the petticoat separately given that I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.
Unsurprisingly I didn’t get chance to hem the skirt by hand. And in a way, I’m quite glad I didn’t spend the time – can’t imagine how long it would take – I went for a machined baby hem instead. First I ran a line of stitching, a seam width, along the hemline. I used this as a pressing guide and it pressed up beautifully. I then tucked in the raw edge to the fold and machined again, using my quarter inch foot which made it really easy to keep a small and consistent hem. I was careful not to stretch the fabric as I went round so it didn’t pucker. I pressed it again… this fabric really is a pleasure to iron!
The most amazing thing about this dress is that it cost £3.50! £3 on the fabric – an incredibly lucky find in a charity shop – and 50p on the invisible zip. The sash cost much the same!
The fabric was a little slippery and needed lots of pins to hold in place. This is my first dress in a silky fabric and I anticipated it being troublesome. That said, I really worked fast on this dress. Mostly because I had a party to go to and I suppose because there was no expense at stake… apart from my time! It irons beautifully and hangs so effortlessly so I can forgive the grief it gave!
It took one evening to draft the skirt pattern, cut the fabric and assemble/line the bodice; a couple of hours to sew the skirt on to the bodice (I am really not a fan of gathering!!) and putting in the zip. I hand finished the inside lining, hemmed the skirt and made the sash the morning of the party.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I love the fabric and Im happy that a special stash piece got used for an appropriate project. It was just waiting for the right moment!
Thank you to Mr Ooobop! for the ‘action photos’ and lots of lovely birthday wishes to Rhonda x
51 Replies to “Ooobop! party dress”
Wow! You’ve made a fabulous job of that dress 🙂 I love the design and the fabric choice. Stunning!!
Thank you 🙂
This is the perfect party dress – swishy and swirly and fun!!
Thank you so much 🙂
That is absolutely stunning! Wow, well done! I particularly love the back – the way the flowers almost grow up to your shoulders. It looks like the perfect party dress! How long has it taken you to become good at actually designing stuff? I don’t have much of a visual imagination really and I think I would struggle to work out how to translate anything into a working pattern – and would feel like I might waste a lot of time only to come out with something I wasn’t happy with.
Thank you Sarah. I’m so glad you noticed the flowers up the back. My favourite bit about the dress too! My mum taught me sewing basics when I was a child but I didn’t really get the bug til just over a year ago. Just by making lots and lots from patterns and reading other peoples blogs will help you to improve your skills and get quicker and more adventurous. I feel like I can’t stop now!
This is beautiful! You really know what suits you and how to make it sing. Can I give those shoes some serious love? They are killer!
Thank you so much. He he… I do love a nice shoe. I didn’t wear these to the party. They were my comfy en-route ones. The heels I wore to the party were definitely a killer!
Oh so incredible! You are my inspiration. I hope to some day be in the place where you are now. Visualizing, self drafting patterns, using just the right fabric, and fitting perfectly! Well done, my friend!
Oh Beth. You are so there already. Your creations are amazing. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.
Just so you know….Inspiration Is A Great Thing!!…and you continue to Inspire. Sewing machine now out on its table, serger in place, bits/bobs sorted (except I can’t find the buttons for this jacket I need to finish)…so it’s a GO……thank you!! Great dress, by the way!!
What a lovely comment. Thank you so much. I’m very touched 🙂
Thanks Ella V:-)
This is a gorgeous dress – well done for self designing it! You’re like me dreaming about things to make – I usually do it when I can’t sleep. I also love your fabric – can’t believe it was from a charity shop.
Thanks Katy 🙂
This dress is absolutely stunning and fits you like a dream! Beautiful, beautiful job! I hear you with the shopping thing. Save for my time in Vietnam (I bought three pieces of clothing), I haven’t shopped for any clothes since picking up sewing last year. It was entirely unconscious – just something that happened.
Aw thanks Lizz.So lovely to meet like-minded people on here! I have Vietnam on my list too 🙂
What an amazing dress! I’m thoroughly inspired and can’t believe you found the fabric in a charity shop! (I’m from the States, so I’m guessing that’s the same as a Goodwill or Salvation Army store)
Thanks so much Anna. I think it is. I do get a feel good factor when I use it too! Just have to control the stash pile!
Reblogged this on Retro by Design and commented:
I found this today and had to share it with you all! Some dress inspiration from another designer/blogger!
Thank you Annabez. I’m so flattered that you reblogged it! 🙂
I’m happy to! Your blog is an inspiration!
Absolutely stunning! I love your self-drafted dress (and can’t wait to read about the self-drafted petticoat too). And only 3.50?? I love it when everything comes together for a fabulous creation! Have fun at the birthday party!!!
Thanks Debi. Must get round to posting the Petticoat… must get round to finishing it off neatly before I do!
Frigging unbelievable. You should be so, so proud of yourself. So beautiful! So cheap! And you seem totally unphased at just whipping up a dress.
Thanks Karen. I think I made it in my head 50 times at least before I attempted it for real!
It’s utterly lovely and suits your style perfectly too, good skills!!! I love big roses fabrics too, what a fantastic score to get it for 3 pounds!!!
Thank you MrsC 🙂
What an absolutely gorgeous dress! You’ve done a perfect job and you look stunning in it. I cannot believe you got that wonderful fabric for such a steal, excellent work all around ;o)
Thank you so much Marid e 🙂
Ow wow! Your dress is gorgeous. And how fortunate of you to find such a pretty fabric at such a bargain! I would totally brag about the price of that make. I love me a good bargain 🙂
Thank you mujerboricua. It was indeed a great find!
Amazingness, that super swishy skirt married to the wedding dress bodice is perfect!
Thanks Sigrid 🙂
Lovely! Love the action shots! So clever just whipping things up 🙂
Thanks Zo. I just have to sneak in sewing time whenever I can!
I so totally do the same thing… designing constantly in my head!
First self drafted pattern, WHOO HOOO!!! Beautiful pro job!! I love it! You look amazing; it is very much fit for partying and dancing up a storm! 😀
Thank you! Though I’m feeling a bit of a fraud for not totally designing the bodice… one day! It was fun to wear:-)
I so love this very special party dress, everything about it is perfect, and how brill that you self drafted for charity shop fabric 🙂
Thank you Scruffy Badger. Regardless of the price I do get a little buzz when I use Charity Shop fabric.
I love this Burda pattern. I made a red crepe version with three quarter sleeves for my daughter. Love your floral print. You’ll stand out in the crowd.
Thanks Gail. Just hopped over to see your daughter’s red dress and its gorgeous. I love it with sleeves. And I’ve added it to ‘the list’! 😉
That’s fab-u-lars! What makes it even better is that you lurve it, it’s written all over your face in the photos. I have a little shoe envy too 🙂
He he… doesn’t always happen that I love what I make… but good spot! Shoes are care of Irregular Choice, my favourites!
Oh my goodness! The dress practically looks like it was bought. Awesome! I wish I could make that! And are those Irregular Choice shoes??
Thank you so much! They are indeed Irregular Choice Shoes… good spot! 🙂
BTW I’m sorry I haven’t pop by as often as I should >.< Been busy with the house moving.
Hey… no apologies necessary at all!. Good luck with the house moving. I love those blinds by the way and your bunny is so cute!
😛 thanks Janene!