Festive sewing part 1: Party Dress!

Warning: This post contains an excessive amount of sparkle.

For the first time in six years, I get a holiday over The Holidays! I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve worked either Christmas or New Year for the last several years (the joys of working in a 24/7 job!), but now that I’ve sold my soul and gone to work in the private sector, we get to close for several weeks over the festive season. We also get invited to a big Christmas cocktail party, which has caused me some anxiety. I’m really not the small-talk-and-mingle type, and I find these sorts of social occasions can be stressful and exhausting! Of course, they can be lots of fun too, which is why I’m going. I’ve even made a new dress for the occasion!

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Now, this dress is outside of my comfort zone for a few reasons…its relatively short, its pretty shapeless, and its GOLD AND SHINY. But, I’m kind of loving it anyway! I modified my Deer and Doe Datura blouse pattern into a dress by just lengthening the side seams and straightening out the hem, it was super simple! I also cut the back on the fold, rather than making it button down the centre back, even though that would have been cute. i just felt like there was quite a lot going on with the fabric already!

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The fabric…holy crap, what a nightmare! I fell in love with it at The Fabric Store (of course) at the end of last summer, and knew I wanted it to be a Datura immediately. Its silk, with gold metallic threads forming the pattern of polka dots. I used what I decided was the reverse (gold with cream polka dots) for the yoke, and the ‘right’ side for the skirt. Unfortunately, it was the most stressful fabric I have ever sewn with! My needle kept catching on the gold threads, which were wider and firmer than the silk theads, and would pull them out of the weave and through to the other side of the fabric, leaving an empty stripe in the warp. You can kind of see what I mean in this photo…

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So that made things seriously unfun. It shows up more on the gold side of the fabric, of course, so I could see just how many flaws I was causing as I sewed! I also had a bit of drama trying to get the clever lining origami thing to work with the shoulder seams, I couldn’t match the instructions and the picture with what i had in front of me, which made for an irritating and frustrating 10 minutes. I got it eventually, and have written myself out detailed instructions for next time! I had a similar struggle the first time I made the Datura, so I should have learned from that! I hand sewed as much of this dress as I could, uncharacteristically, just to avoid the thread pulling. The lining is hand stitched down, and the hem is hand picked. All of the other seams are french seamed.

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Looking at this photo, I am forced to accept that I need to learn how to do a sway back adjustment. I can fudge my way through fitting the back of a garment which has a centre back seam, or a waist seam, but I have no idea where to start when its a seamless shift! I’ll add it to my list of fitting issues to resolve in the new year. I like it anyway, I can deal with a few back wrinkles and flaws in the fabric! I think it has quite a 60’s feel to it, which I like for the party season. Now I just need to convince myself that it isn’t too shiny and sparkly and short and gold to wear to my work Christmas do…

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One last photo, silly face but I want to show off my new favourite earrings! I asked Monsieur to take some photos showing some of the detail on the dress while I was wearing it, but I just ended up with photos of my arm pit (the armscye), and my neck and chin (the neckline), so I gave up. Sweet of him to try!