Shades of Grey

Not anything to do with 50 Shades of Grey, but the contemporary reference was simply too good to pass up!

For Christmas, I received a dressform and a money from various relatives to buy fabric with. And I did. I went online, and kinda splurged on Plush Addict without thinking about what I was going to use the fabric for. So I ended up with 3m of ‘slate’ fake silk (that looks rather blue to me, but since it is such an amazing colour, I am not upset) And 2m of red embroidered taffeta. Like I said. I have no clue why I bought those too fabrics other than ‘THAT IS SO PRETTY!”

The fake silk however, I have found a use for! I was bored, just throwing fabric at Mabel trying to learn about drape and especially how to dart big busts so they lie properly. I ended up throwing the silk on the dressform and used a ribbon to tie it on at the waist. Then I stepped back. A few tweaks and I was nodding happily to myself, “I could wear that dancing!”. I know you are supposed to start with the toile stage, but I went back to that bit after I had worked out the drape of the fabric.

After a few tries however, I decided to use a pattern to achieve the full skirted fifties look I had been originally aiming for. A while ago, Love Sewing magazine’s free pattern was a Sew Simple Ruby Dress.

The pattern is, quite simply, amazingly simple. I was making this for my dance weekend in Blackpool for the Uni Ballroom and Latin Nationals competition, and on the second day, we attended a Tea Dance in Tower Ballroom (WHICH IS AMAZING). My intention was always to wear this dress to that dance. Unfortunately, University and life got in the way, so I was frantically handstitching a zip in the night before, and hemming the day of. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish it in time, so I wore a dress-turned-skirt I made a long time ago.




I had wanted to make a lining from white polycotton, with a bit of a petticoat, and a silver belt to go with it. However, I didn’t have time to run into city centre and find some silver fabric, and the zip I ended up using was a 8″ concealed zip in pink! With my newfound extra time, I decided that I didn’t want a petticoat, and that a pink belt with a big bow looked extremely childish.

In fact, the most time consuming, and most difficult part of this entire project was the hem. As a circle skirt, it is, of course, five times more difficult than it needs to be. So this is a call for advice! How do you make the underside of the hem lie entirely flat on a circle skirt? I always end up with periodic ‘bumps’ in the fabric on the underside, even if the top is smooth.
I originally rolled the hem to even the skirt, and then turned it up an inch. In the end, I gave up with the original turn up, and just pinned it and trimmed it after I had sewn it. In fact, I am really struggling with hems in general. I decided to machine sew so that I could wear it for Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately, as much as I love the back, I was about a mm out on the eye part of the hook and eye, which means one side of the fabric is looser than the other.


Given the dress is made of fake silk, it looks quite dressy. Therefore, I want to find a more suitable location to take proper photos, as opposed to the poorly lit photographs I take in my room. I am planning on wearing this to the Dance Social at the end of the month.




6 thoughts on “Shades of Grey

  1. Love it with the beads, the colour is great.
    I think you need to spend a lot of time pressing your hems before sewing. I turned my Ruby up 1cm then another 1cm and hand sewed it. It took a long time but it was worth it!


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