Mostly I sew from patterns. Vintage ones, Burda ones, any of the big-four, independent ones, any that take my fancy, really. But when it came to finding a pattern befit of a significant birthday party dress, I was stumped. I searched through the hundreds I owned, I trawled through plenty more online and still I didn’t come up trumps until a visit to the hairdressers presented this beauty in one of their glossy mags.
Who was I kidding?! But a girl can dream right?!
With a couple of months to go and so many people asking what I was going to wear, the pressure was on and almost too much to bear. I even considered RTW as a get out clause! But following more procrastination and now only 6 weeks to go, cool words of advice from Sally of Charity Shop Chic, put me back on track and sold it to me as a simple circle puffball attached to a bodice of choice.
I just needed a prompt, a bit of pressure and some added faith, obviously!
With all that poompf in the skirt section going on, the quest was for a simple bodice. One I could toile and fit with not much time on my hands. It also had to fit in with a busy work load leading up to Christmas, and be sewn in the the evenings so black was totally out of the question too!
I remember ear-marking this vintage Weldons pattern as a potential party dress some time back and when I rifled through my patterns for the umpteenth time, it shouted out all the reasons it should be chosen. Simple to fit, no sleeves to insert, flattering neckline, small amount of fabric required and a perfect yoke for a string of cockerel feathers!
The small amount of fabric issue was quite an issue at this point as I’d already decided that silk was the only way forward. The only way I was going to get a classy, crumpled look and not just wind up looking like a discarded crisp packet!
The skirt section is a greedy full circle with an added 16 inches around the waist to accommodate 4 box pleats: Two at the front and two at the back. The full hem is then gathered onto an a-line, mini underskirt which I self-drafted by closing the waist darts on a self-drafted skirt block, and adding a little flare. Both are attached to the waist seam.
The wonderful Sew Busy Lizzy gifted me the polka-dot taffeta some time back. I love that it found a special use. Not so shiny that it caused static, strong enough to support all that silk whilst adding a cheeky secret air of Moulin Rouge!
Having toiled the whole thing in calico beforehand, it transpired I needed 5 metres of dupion silk. Pricey at £25 a metre if one shops in Broadwick Street, London. But £12 if you’re lucky, in Goldhawk Road. I say lucky because I pretty much went in all the shops to get the right colour – a two-tone black & red. And the last one I tried had not only the best colour but offered the best price too.
For all my fretting, Sally was absolutely right of course. It really didn’t take long to sew. The indecision and worrying took way longer! And fears about working with silk were laughed off when I made the first cut. Literally like cutting into butter. And it behaved and sewed up brilliantly.
And so the finished article partied hard to the band and the DJ with a hall full of amazing family and friends. It went way too quickly though, and I so wish I could press replay so I could get round to spending more time with everyone who came. But I guess thats the downside of hosting ones own!
Mr O aka Daniel Selway took these amazing shots for me this morning. Nothing wrong with a party shot but lets just say there’s a definite improvement of photographic quality in the sober light of day!
Happy new year to you all. Wishing you a peaceful, healthy, and joyous 2017 xxx
42 Replies to “Significant birthday dress”
That dress is gorgeous!! Definitely worth doing in silk, and such a beautiful colour
Thank you Victoria. I didn’t realise there were so many variations of red until I started looking!
Your dress is so gorgeous! What an amazing creation. The feathers are the perfect final touch. Happy birthday!
Thank you, Justine 🙂
Beautiful dress and photos, the colours are fabulous!! Have a lovely significant birthday!
Thank you Helen 🙂
STUNNING! You look FABULOUS….Happiest of Significant Birthdays to you my dear! Your dress. Ah-mazing. The styling….brilliant. BRILLIANT! And the photography is magical! This is how to start the new year. Ginormous thank yous!
Thank you so much, Sue.
Beautiful dress my lovely. The colour is perfect on you and i didnt realise it was feathers round the neckline -i thought it was lace! Hope you had a lovely birthday!
Bless you. Thank you, Jo. Had a fabulous time!
Wow beautiful! Happy birthday.
Thank you 😀
Happy significant birthday my dear! Dress is fantastic, the colour perfect and the photography awesome! Hope the party was as fantastic as only you deserve.
Thank you my lovely. It was indeed! 😀
Wow, what an amazing dress!! I love the color you chose. Happy Birthday and Happy New Year to you!
Thank you Shirley. And a Happy New Year to you too x
Oh my word Janene! This is so inspired and just stunning…you’re such a talented and sultry lady!xxx
Awww… thanks Marie. Lots of love to you both xxx
Such an amazing dress, you look so glamorous!
Thank you, Cherie 🙂
Wow! What a beauty you are.
And THAT dress. A perfect fit, a perfect color, and a perfect dress for you.
Happiest of Birthdays, Janine!
The Renegade Seamstress 🙂
You’ve got me blushing! Thanks so much, Beth. And a happy new year to you xxx
Wow, great job. I saw this on my ipod touch and was quite impressed byit. After such a long time of complaints about the new beta channel designs for the desktop version, its good to see something that I am actually impressed by and like coming from youtube. Great job with this new mobile site!
sumptuous colour and shape – perfect ;o)
Thank you Colette 🙂
Stunning dress, your look amazing, you’ve done a fantastic job on it.
Thank you Lynsey 🙂
First of all, happy significant birthday! Secondly, what a spectacular dress. It really is stunning and perfect for celebrating a special birthday in. Is the inspiration dress Alexander McQueen?
Thank you so much Sam. I think it was Dior. But don’t quote me on that! 😀
Oh, it could be. I have seen similar at McQueen but it does look very Dior too.
gorgeous, and waiting and planning paid off so well. beautiful dress and divine colour.
Thank you Eimear. I was very excited to find that colour, I can tell you!
Fantastic creative dress…..live the feathers.
Wowsers!!! Your dress is amazing!! Love the colour and the feathers.
Wow, what a beautiful dress! And that skirt— no words. It’s absolutely worth all the meterage it hogs up!
Love it! Love the polka dot surprise from Liz. Sewing friends are the best.
Your dress is truely scrumptious. Happy big birthday too. the photos on IG looked like you had a blast xx
Wow, what a stunning dress – well done you! And perfectly festive for a big birthday. Wonderful with your shoes too! I hope you had a great party. Kx
As stunning in pics as it was in reality! What a cracker of a dress. I need to find an excuse to work with dupion, I absolutely love the stuff!
What a fabulous dress! I love that skirt silhouette 🙂
Best wishes for the new year!