Wow! Time flies when you’re having sewing fun. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I was asked to join in with Vogue Patterns #SipandSew blog hop at the beginning of the year and I was like ‘september is ages away!’. I admit I had a heart flutter when Rach Wain sent me a picture of her finished garment and said ‘you’re up next’.
So what’s The Cocktail Hour about? It’s a blog hop charity event. 26 awesome bloggers have chosen one of the 20 vogue evening outfits on offer from here and then made them their own. (see Portia’s jumpsuit hack for instance)
We are supporting The Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research into the five gynecological cancers – ovarian, womb, cervical, vaginal and vulval. They are passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding our lady bits and changing the conception that vagina is a dirty word. HERE HERE!
The choice of garment patterns for the event where very varied. I ummed and arred about what I wanted to achieve with this make. I decided to take on a challenge, because it reflected the nature of the charity we’re supporting and gave me the excuse to skill up. I went with this beauty. Vogue 1428. I was happy to find that vogue had shared some interesting shots of the inside on this dress, which helped me get my head around its construction. MORE OF THESE PLEASE McCALL’s!
The list of fabrics needed are slightly (very) daunting. Taffeta, scalloped lace, sheer fabrics, silk organza, satin….. and the skill level is expressed as ‘expert’. HAND ME THE GIN! Luckily I was invited to Crafty Sew and so Dress Makers Ball earlier in the year and I used it as an excuse to make a ‘mock up’ of the trickier elements of the dress.
Although this dress is not strictly all 1428 (the bodice is self drafted and the skirt is a simplicity hack) It was the first time I used lace/sheer fabric for a top and it gave me confidence to tackle this more tricky fabric. I dipped in and out of two classes i’d previously purchased from Crafty, The Essential Guide to Sewing With Sheers with Sara Alm and The Couture Dress with Susan Khalje which helped me achieve a more professional finish. Using french seams on the sheer fabric and swapping my needle out for a microtex 60 helped AMAZINGLY.
For the official cocktail dress I decided to do something I never do. Try and replicate the cover photo. I’ll be honest that I’ve never done this for a few reasons.
- Budget. We can probably assume that the fabrics on the models are super luxurious no expense spared fabrics, not Cupro I’ve found down the market.
- Sizing. I am no size 0 model. In fact I struggled to fit into the size 14/16 and almost needed to buy the bigger size pattern. I hate comparing my body to the usually slimmer and taller humans on the packet, and copying the dress can leave me feeling low.
- Creativity. I just love making my own versions of things. It’s why I love sewing!
BUT I’ve never loved ‘a little black dress’ as much as the one shown on the cover and I wanted to prove to myself that even on a slim budget, this plus sized body can rock a cocktail dress. So here she is!
With 5 different types of fabric, 2 weeks of careful short burst sewing and lots of interfacing and reading blogs/books/online classes I constructed an evening appropriate dress that I am pretty proud of.
The back is the only bit I will make changes to. I ordered some lovely cover buttons but sadly they didn’t show up on time, and the gapey bit isn’t my thing. I managed to salvage one button from a RTW blouse so check back at christmas when I’ll of rectified the issue.
I made three minor changes to this dress.
- Instead of the box pleated skirt suggested I actually used the lining skirt pattern pieces as the outer skirt. I used the Colette method of sewing down the pleats, which gives a more sturdy shape for my rounded belly and also helps keep the silhouette neat. When you come to sew the sheer bodice down it helped having the pleat secured down, otherwise it could have caused stretching of the lace fabric.
- I stitched the over bodice to the under bodice at the zip edge so as to help it sit right. Without it I had some super gape going on.
- I used black elastic for the underbodice straps. My liquid satin would have been a nightmare to make little straps from and I’d rather be drinking gin and not worrying about fraying fabric.
Speaking of fabrics here is the list of where I got them from with links incase you want some 🙂
- Black skirt made from Cupro from Rainbow Fabrics.
- Silk organza skirt underlining from Sew Essential
- Under bodice liquid satin in Antique Gold from Minverva fabrics
- Over bodice lace from Unique Image Ulverton of Etsy
- Eye lash trim from FashionTrims of Etsy
- Skirt and bodice lining: black viscose from Barrys Birmingham
Although geared up to be ‘expert’ I think many of us could achieve a lovely dress from this pattern. If you use interfacing on the bias cups of the satin bodice instead of stay stitching, swap your needles between microtex 60 and 70 depending on the fabric your sewing and take your time. I didn’t have any hair pulling moments so I am pleased that it was a pretty chill make. You could even make a ‘dress down’ version with jersey top and ditch the underbodice. I am considering doing this to make a work dress, SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY TO WIN YOUR VERY OWN COPY OF THE DRESS.
So what do you think? Let me know below and you could win a copy of the dress pattern. Please leave your instagram name if you have one too, as it makes it easier for me to find you and also see what you get up to! 🙂 Competition open to UK residents from now until 1oth October 2017.
You can also get involved with The #sipandsew by making your own version of one of the 20 patterns listed. Monies raised from the sale of each pattern will go towards helping The Eve Appeal achieve better detection and prevention of women’s cancers. You can find out more about the work of The Eve Appeal charity here.
As the year progresses you can see what everyone else is making by searching for #sipandsew (hehe!) on Instagram and Twitter and of course share your makes too. Post a photo with the hashtag #sipandsew and copy in @McCallpatternUK on Twitter or @McCallpatternUK on Instagram. Find out more details from McCall’s about Cocktail Hour here.
Big thank you to the organisers for including me in the line up and thank you sewcialists for reading. xxx
Location shoot: The mockingbird, with thanks.
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