Frills and (potential) fails

I have a big weekend this weekend! Its the Wellington annual swing dancing extravaganza, and its going to be awesome! Four days of classes and workshops, four nights of themed balls and all night after parties. The Saturday night ball has a 1950’s theme (the theme of the whole weekend is Back to the Future, because its October 2014, of course) and I realised last week that I hadn’t put any thought into what I was planning to wear to any of the events. So…

Complete with Stepford smile!

…before you get too excited, I didn’t make the dress. I borrowed it off one of my lovely friends. I did, however, make…


…the petticoat! I know, its a bit of a soft option, but last week I was stuck at work late every day, and my last assignment was due of Suday, so I didn’t have much time for sewing. And I was really hopeful that I might have my Malu coat finished, but I’ve hit a bit of a block with that, so no joy (more on that later).

I’ve never sewn with tulle before, and I don’t think I’ll be in a big rush to do so again! What a pain in the arse! At one point, it looked like I had exploded the Royal Ballet in my sewing room. Monsieur wandered in to see what I was up to, looked around in horror and then slowly backed out of the room again. Anyway, I used a pretty basic petticoat ‘pattern’. I measured the length of the skirt (25″), decided I would make life easy by having a 5″ wide panel of chiffon around the waist, and cut 10″ wide strips of tulle for the floofy part of the skirt. I found the blush coloured chiffon in the scrap bin at The Fabric Warehouse for $5, it had some pretty major flaws in it but there was plenty of fabric to get the waistband out of it. I doubled it over, to strengthen it up a bit, and ran some elastic around the top. Each layer is twice as long as the one above it, so the chiffon layer is 1m long (sorry for the mixed units!) and the next tulle layer is 2m, and the bottom layers are 4m. Easy peasy!

It was really difficult to photograph, its so…ephemeral

I decided that I needed two layers of tulle in the bottom layer, as the cotton of the dress is quite heavy, and I wasn’t getting the fullness I wanted at the bottom of the skirt. More gathering! I wanted to cry a little (I was very tired). Happily, I realised just before I started that Nana had bought a gathering foot for her machine, so that made everything so much easier. It has a hole through the length of the footplate which you thread a length of cord through, then sew with a zig zag stitch and it keeps the cord perfectly centred! It was brilliant, I don’t think I could have brought myself to do another layer if I was just sewing lines of basting stitches…

No petticoat….petticoat!

I’m looking forward to dancing the night away in my floofy dress! Though I must remember to wear a slip under it, that tulle is bloody scratchy…

Also, if anyone is interested in the type of dancing I do, this is it! Balboa, being danced by two of the incredible teachers we have coming to teach this weekend. Can’t wait for their classes!

So, sewing oracles of the internet, I need some advice. This is my unfinished Malu coat so far



I’ve done all the construction work, except for the sleeve cuffs, hem and topstitching, and I just feel like it isn’t fitting in a very flattering way! I’ve already shortened it to mid thing, as I looked like I was drowning in the knee length version. I would take the curved shaping at the hips, but then I’m afraid I won’t be able to sit down in it! Looking at these photos, I wonder if I just need to take in the the centre back seam and put some shaping in it? I don’t wan’t it to be too fitted, or it will be restricting to movement, but I also don’t want it to look like a ski jacket. Help, please and thank you!