Saturday, 7 December 2013

Project 38 and the start of the party season!

This fabric has been in my stash for about three years.   

It wasn’t that she didn’t speak to me – because she was always intended to be a dress and we both agreed on this from the start.  I was a little unclear about the exact dress pattern, but she was always going to be a Christmas dress, so every year, when I failed to sew her up for Christmas, she returned to the stash for the following year.  Unlike a lot of the fabric in my stash, she wasn’t cheap and I was determined to make her into something special.  

My original idea for her was a bustier dress, and under that guise she was project 38 of my 52 projects.  Despite several muslins I am still not happy with the fit of the bustier dress top and when I gimped her she looked great as Vogue 8648.

I bought this pattern as part of the craftsy couture dress course and had been through the muslin process for myself and my daughter, (with the daughter’s help).  I had to abandon the couture methods for my daughter’s dress when the deadline was brought forward six weeks, and I was delighted with the result.  I was determined to make 2013 the Christmas that I finally got this dress from the stash into the wardrobe.  I laid her out on the spare room floor, and pinned her pattern pieces to her, 

...and then procrastinated for a week.  The fact that I had invested more money in her than most of my fabrics made me hesitant to actually cut into her.  

When I gave into a cheap fabric that wanted to be jeans I left her on the floor and worked round her while I was cutting out jeans.  If I put her away I’m sure she’d have ended up deferred to 2014 Christmas! 

As soon as I finished the jeans I was determined to actually sew her up.  Having started using the couture methods it initially seemed a shame to abandon them, but I really couldn’t face interlining this dress.  She’s a medium weight cotton with just a hint of Lycra and we are experiencing a particularly warm spring at the moment, so I wanted to keep her as light as possible.  I have a wool mix in mind for a winter version of this dress, so I’ll use interlining on that one.  I did go with the hand-picked zip, and put the (cotton) lining in by hand, but I used the overlocker to finish the edges as she’ll by machine washed.

I am pleased with the result.

I didn’t get around to putting Susan Khalje’s bra retainers in, but I should have.  I’ll retro fit them before her next wearing.

I was a little concerned that she looked a little too innocent, so I added a flash of black lace in the back slit in an attempt to sort of vroom her up a bit.
Susan Khalje lifted the back of the dress up, and when I make a work appropriate dress, and/or a sleeved version I will do the same as this dress is inclined to slip off the shoulders.

Despite not using the full couture methods on this dress, I learnt heaps on this course and will have used most of the techniques already, just not all on a single garment.  

As my first dress for the Christmas season I wore it last night to a cabaret and dinner with friends.  We saw “In Flagrante” at the Galatos Ballroom in Auckland.  It was only on for one night, so there’s no point in recommending it, but it was hysterical and if I ever see any more shows by this group I’ll definitely be keen to see them again.


  1. Your dress looks amazing and will be ideal for Christmas Day. I have that dress in my stash from doing the Craftsy class but haven't actually made it up yet. I've used other patterns for my couture dresses and like you I don't use all the couture techniques all the time but pick and choose depending on the garment. I love a good hand-picked zipper now - my favourite :-)

  2. I love that "gimped" is now a thing :) Your new dress is great, yay for Christmas dresses