The All-Nighter Dress

OK, it wasn’t technically an “all-nighter”, but it was definitely a night-made dress. As I mentioned in my last post, I made this at the last possible opportunity on Wednesday night last week, just before swanning up to Haverfordwest to see my Dad getting wed, and I did the finishing on the night before the ceremony. Thinking about it, this pattern of last-minuteness is a reflection of most of my Sewing For Weddings experiences. I finished the hemming on my own wedding dress the night before the ceremony. When I was matron of honour for my next-one-down sister, and we made all her four bridesmaid dresses, my skirt in the bridesmaid fabric didn’t get hemmed until the morning of the wedding when we realised that each of us thought the other one was doing it, and it had to be wundawebbed. So it seemed kind of fitting that this dress should turn out to be another last-minuter.

I fully intended to photograph the makings, originally, but given the lateness of the make and the speed I had to work at, that just didn’t happen.

The dress was made from a gorgeous stretch sateen, given to me by the lovely Stevie of Beebee’s Handmade Dress. I couldn’t believe how perfectly me those colours were. It’s a gorgeous mix of lilac, pink, teal, navy and cream. I’m not sure whether it’s dud lighting that’s making it look so blue in the photos, or whether that’s an accurate rendition of the overall net effect.

I was using my trusty Belcarra pattern, and hacking it by adding a skirt. I only had about 2.5 metres so I didn’t have so much fabric to make a full skirt for it, so I put in two box pleats, front & back, and made the sides slightly A-line. I was using my experience on the Dress Of Many Colours, to inform this make. I shortened the length of the blouse a little, so that I had a drop waist, but wasn’t dropping it too far. I took a lot more care over the hemming of the skirt, because I wanted it to be right. The skirt is my standard length. but I was measuring it from my natural waistline, so I had to mark my natural waistline on the bodice first, and then measure down from that mark. I think it came out ok.

It seemed churlish to insist on getting nice photos of me & my dress at Dad & Hazel’s wedding, particularly as it was a very small wedding, and any “all about meeeeeeee” would have stood out a mile. So I wore the dress to work today, to get some pictures, in the glamorous confines of my office.

'Scuse the mess... There's never enough storage space in our office.

‘Scuse the mess… There’s never enough storage space in our office. And I appear to be colour-co-ordinated with our files.

I used some bought bias binding for the neckline, rather than using a self binding, like I have with all my other Belcarra makes. I didn’t want to waste fabric, because I wasn’t sure I’d have enough for the skirt, and the bias strip in the pattern is a bit of a fabric hog, and I didn’t have time to faff about piecing a strip together from the scraps. As chance would have it, I had some leftover bias in a perfect lilac satin from when I made the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! Skirt. Working within a limited colour palette really does pay dividends!

I was a bit worried that it would be a bit too cold for short sleeves, but actually it was perfect- although there was a spot of rain (and frankly, if you visit Wales without expecting a spot of rain, you’re deluding yourself), it was sunny and mild, lovely for short sleeves.

I have ganked this photo from sister’s Facebook account, showing my lovely sisters and my lovely Dad.

(Also my lovely shoes)

Procrastination is the Thief of Time

It’s my dad’s wedding tomorrow morning, and I’m driving up to Wales in the next hour or so (technically, I’m driving to Hertford, then my sister who lives in Hertford will be driving us both to Wales along with her two daughters, but the point is, I knew weeks ago, that today was my sewing deadline for making my dress for the wedding.

Guess when I started it… Go on guess…

Last night at around 10pm.

I’ve got no excuses, I’m just really good at procrastination.

I made myself go to bed at 4am, and I finished the bulk of it this morning. But I’ve got the final hand finishing still to do, and that’s going to be a job for tonight, after the family get together. It should be perfectly manageable. However, I may stop off for some wundaweb, en route!


Hemming. Also, aren’t those colours fab?!

Just the last knockings left to do

This was the last bit of gap that I had to fill in, when I started this evening.

Just a teeny tiny bit left to cover in buttons

Just a teeny tiny bit left to cover in buttons

It didn’t take long.

And now it’s the last bits & bobs to do, lining, hooks & bars, that kind of thing. But before I do that, I need to make a frock…

Ongoing project

I’m bringing my costume making skills into play on my next project.

Pinterest is very good at making you see what your obsessions are. It turns out that I love a bit of button embellishment. As soon as I saw this pin, I knew I was going to have a go at it. Mine would be different of course- no-one likes an out-and-out copycat.

I bought a shedload of buttons on Ebay, in shades of black, grey & white, and last night, I made a start.

Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

I’ve got the base made & covered, and I’ve started sewing some buttons on. I don’t know how long this one will take. I’m not even sure whether I’ll have the right number of buttons, or whether I’ll need to order a stack more. I’m trying to take photos as I go along, so that I can do a proper process post, but I may lose patience!

This make is definitely reminding me of my Pink Confetti dance costume which I made a couple of years ago.


And yes, I did put my name in big diamanté letters on my hip belt, so that my name is splashed right across my backside! I still love this costume, because the confetti beading is so rich and textured. I’m hoping that my Button Belt will have the same vibe. Though I’m kind of sad that it won’t have my name all over it… I’m also a tiny bit sad that I don’t have a stash of buttons all ready to use, like my grandmother’s button jar or my mother’s button jar. One day, one day…

Massive Fangirl Squee!

I went to the Thread Festival at Farnham Maltings today. The top highlight of the day was definitely meeting the lovely Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons fame. She was doing a talk about how she wrote Love at First Stitch, which was *really* interesting. Not that I ever have any intention of writing any sort of book, but it was fascinating to hear how it all came together.

Love at First Stitch

Love at First Stitch

I’ll confess, I’ve read Tilly’s blog for as long as I’ve been reading sewing blogs, but it had not prepared me for how jolly *nice* Tilly is. I am now officially smitten.

I had not anticipated buying the book, I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before today, that there would be copies there for sale, but there you go, the thought hadn’t even flitted through my head. But as soon as I saw it, of course I was going to buy it. Why would I not? It’s a beautiful, not to mention useful, thing, and I spent the next half hour after Tilly’s talk, in the café poring through it and trying to work out what I want to make from it first, and surreptitiously sniffing that lovely new book smell. I’m definitely up for a Delphine skirt, and possibly a Megan dress. It’s a very inspiring book.

And look, it’s autographed and everything!



The other cool thing was chatting with one of the ladies from Gather, about how I really would like to buy their Mortmain dress pattern, if it weren’t for the fact that I’d have to do such a massive grading on it, and how they’re aware that there *is* a market for larger sized patterns. I know it’s so much more difficult/expensive for the independents to do the grading for larger sizes, but it’s nice to know that they are thinking about it.

I was also fascinated by the ladies from the Guild of Silk Painters. I could have watched them for hours!

Hand printed fabric swap – the other side

I posted about the fabric I sent to Louise, a couple of days ago. I’m very happy to post now the fabric I received from her.



Louise took her inspiration from some genuine fifties fabric, and only flipping HAND-DREW all those flowers! They’re beautifully even and I swear you’d never think they were done by hand if you didn’t know they were.

Thank you again, Louise, for a beautiful piece of fabric, and for the additional extra treats!