While not to quite the same calibre as ‘s AMAZING dresses, I do like to make myself something to wear either for Christmas or, in the case of this year, New Year’s Eve. (As you may have noticed over the years, I really do love Red).
I will admit, I am selfish sewer, and more often than not, the finer items in my wardrobe (like my two balldresses) get worn once. Bearing this in mind, I wanted this project to be something I could wear over and over. I wanted it to be simple, but pretty, and pretty me.
I bough two meters of embroidered red taffeta last summer in the Whitetree fabrics summer sale, and its just ben rattling round my sewing box for a year and a half, waiting for the appropriate project. I decided, rather impromptu really, that I wanted to spend the day sewing. I had no plan, and I hadn’t fully prepared (so, my material hasn’t been laundered and the zip is white).
My plan for the dress was that it had to feature a fully gathered circle skirt, and the bodice had to fit. Pretty wide parameters if I do say so myself!
I cut a rectangle the length of the fabric (2m) at approximately 60cm wide to make the skirt. I also cut a further 3/4m from the remnants, and cut a matching piece from the 2m rectangle to sew to make a much longer skirt piece.
I used french seams because taffeta frays like you would not believe and I wanted a nice, smart finish! The seams measured 1cm at the end and were not that bulky, unlike some of my earlier attempts at french seams.
The top of the skirt measured a little under 3 1/2m once sewn. I handgathered the top, about 3/4 of an inch from the edge, to a 74cm waist and machine sewed it to a waistband.
I then did a rolled hem 1.5cm from the bottom edge. The skirt was almost finished. All I needed to do was attach the planned net underskirt, and fix the waistband.
However, once I had pinned my new taffeta skirt to Mabel (mannequin) and was pinning other fabrics to create a draped bodice, I realised that I like the skirt just how it was. It would mean that there wasn’t (as much as I am loathe to admit this is even a thing) too much red, and would mean I could mix it up and wear a beautiful skirt with different blouses. Increasing the likelihood of my wearing it again exponentially. I also decided against the net, because the amount of gathering for this skirt meant the net wasn’t really making much of a difference.
So I secured the waistband, inserted the zip (poorly, I didn’t have a concealed zip around and I forgot to change the machine foot to a zipper) and added a hook and eye.
And I love it! It’s fun, dressy but not overly so. And I have a few different long sleeved chiffon blouses I can wear with it to change the style! And I just love the pattern. The embroidered flowers and vine pattern on the skirt was what made me choose it in the first place and I really do think it was the perfect choice for this skirt. Maybe I will make a separate top piece to go with the skirt, but as it stands, I’m more than pleased!
I’m also more than pleased with the fact I have been able to sew! I’ve been so busy with university and work and applications for the future, and dance, and I haven’t had two minutes to sleep let alone sew anything. Its been an … interesting… semester! Next semester isn’t likely to be any easier with dissertation and Nationals approaching. I am trying to do a little of Project Belle whenever I can. But as it stands, I’ve only just finished the boning channels for the stays, and I’m not even sure if they will fit!
I didn’t wear this to New Years in the end, I found a dress in the next sale that made me feel like an absolute goddess so I wore that instead, so I don’t have any pictures of my wearing the skirt, just Mabel rocking the red!
Happy New Year!!