Sunday, 10 July 2016

Lady In Red

Soooo, sorry for my absence recently, but this is the reason why, or one of them, anyway:

This is the prom dress I have made for my friend, Katie, who had her sixth form prom to attend on 1st July.

She asked me to make this back in January/February when we were rehearsing for Panto (she played principal girl) but the only specifications were red and lace.  Katie is not a frou frou girl so I envisaged a slinky Jessica Rabbit-style number and initial signs were promising for this.  However, when it came to sitting down and deciding on the dress, Katie went for an entirely different dress.   I would have loved to have made that Jessica Rabbit number though.

The final decision was a fit and flare style dress with an open back.

No, I didn't make the boyfriend to go with the dress.
I'm not that good . . . . yet!

We spent some time going through my patterns and magazines (of which I have a lot) to find a pattern and in the end adapted New Look 6143 from my stash (which I believe had now been reissued as 6392 now and I now teach as a Haberdasherholic class). 

I kept the front as per the pattern pieces but hacked the back.  I've hacked the back previously for my favourite flamingo dress, but this was another level of hacking.

To hack the back, I basically left nothing there.  I cut the back as per my flamingo hack and then drew a diagonal from the centre back top and bottom to the seam line at the sides.  This gave me my basic pattern pieces.  I added a bit of overlap at the centre back as I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing with them, then it was time to cut, cut sew.

The front bodice and skirt were lined with red satin, so those pattern pieces needed to be cut out, then everything needed to be cut out in red lace, which I ordered from White Tree Fabrics.  There was no scalloped edge on the lace I chose so I could just cut away without having to think about that and then think what to do with the hem next time.

I've made this dress a few times now, so sewing up the bodice front and skirt was fairly straight forward.  I underlined the bodice front pieces with the satin and treated them as one piece, I then decided to fully line it too.  I treated the skirt lace and satin pieces separately, then joined them for pleating at the top and sewing to the bodice.  I also added a single layer of red tulle to the skirt to make it stand out a little and a little swooshy . . . I love a good swooshy skirt . . . I also like the word swooshy . .  .

Not too much to say about this process really.

I chose to go with a button and loop fastening at the back in the end, as well as a short invisible zip in the skirt portion.  I'd just been teaching some of my sewing students how to do a thread loop so I must have been feeling inspired.  The buttons are some cute hearts I found on eBay.

So, when Katie can  to trying the dress on, we were struggling a bit with the bottom of the back portion.  She has a bit of a sway back and I just couldn't figure out how to do that alteration on a dress with an open back like this, so we decided to do away with the bottom bit of the back altogether.

To finish, I spent hours searching for some red lace trim - do you know how difficult it is to find the correct shade of red?!!!  I couldn't find any lace at all.  In the end, I found some ribbon with a scalloped edge in Samuel Taylors in Leeds, but they only had 2.5m.   I was at desperation point by now so took it and hoped for the best.  Luckily, I had just enough to do the hem, phew, but not enough to do the lace edges, so they were turned under and sewn down.

And that is it.  

and the open back . . .

I think Katie liked her dress - it did stress me loads - but sewing for other people always does and I should learn this and either say no or charge a fortune for stress money - I do neither.

Now, I'm on with another prom dress - a Disney Descendants inspired number for the eldest niece.  I'll share that with you once I've finished it and got some pics.  I hope that it is going to be (in the words of the niece) Epic!!!

Happy Crafting!


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