The making of the Ascot dream dress!
The Ascot idea begins to form! 💕
HOPE YOU ARE HAVING A WONDERFUL DAY CREATING SOME FABULOSITY 💕
I left home this morning, and now I'm working my way across London and off to Suffolk, to see more brides over the next two days for fittings!
Oooooooo today I have a burning question, please. I am off to the races in a couple of weeks. I have decided to make this gorgeous piece of fabric up into a dress. I bought it at The Sewing for Pleasure show a month or so ago.
So I was trying to decide shall I buy pink or orange accessories to match. After too much thought, I was now running out of time. I had this niggling thought I am sure I have something, somewhere that will do.
These shoes I bought a few years ago and have never worn...Perfect! Then all of a sudden I remembered I bought a handbag last year at an outdoor market in Madrid. So after doing ‘The everything flying out of the wardrobe trick, it’s in there somewhere’ 💕💕. There it was!
Can you believe that print?! It is almost the same flower. But it is the same size print and the exact same colourway. What are the chances of that 💕? The Ascot fairies are in my wardrobe, surely. Now all I have to do is to entice them over towards the sewing machine 😆😆.
Ok. So I had two choices of dress. Which one? Vogue 2401 is the pattern I used for the dress with The Freida Kahlo sleeves, and the other one is my usual ‘going out’ dress. Without the collar, and I will add a draped middle section. To hug in around the waist.
The HAPPY SUNDAY! 💕💕
Today I am having a sewing day...The Ascot dress! Providing all goes well I shall be attending Ascot next Friday. Ideally, I would like to have it finished this weekend.
Here is the fabric all laid out, ready to go. There are a few obstacles to get round. Such as I really don’t have enough material. But I am not going to let a little thing like that get in the way 😂😂
And it doesn’t help when the seams are in such prominent areas such as the centre front and back. Which will cut right through those roses! So I need to deal with that too.
It’s never easy, is it? 😊 But now I have thought it all through. I have made my decisions. I am sticking with it. The rest should be easy.
I will show you my journey of the dress. How I fixed, cheated and completed using some little unauthorised tricks from up my sleeves. But hey if it works! Nothing is going to stop me now from having that dress and truthfully... I love a challenge!
HOW TO CHEAT YOUR WAY THROUGH THE RULES! 💕💕💕
When I have made my mind up, I want to make something, and I don’t let a little thing like ‘not enough fabric get in the way’ of me having a fabulosity dress 💋💋💋.
Here is a list of the alterations and why they could have been a problem. I will explain ‘how’ in bite-sized chunks over a couple of days. So that it doesn’t get too confusing and too much writing 💋
1. Seams in prominent areas such as...
*centre back on the skirt
*centre back on the bodice
*centre front on the bodice
2. Needed extra facings on the front skirt. (Will explain)
3. Cut down collar size
Individually these were all quite easy to fix. But my two biggest obstacles were the big pattern match and not having enough fabric to play around with.
So very quickly, I needed the answer to two very important questions.
1. Have I enough fabric to move things around?...NO!
2. Is the pattern facing both ways (not one way)...YES!
So for today, let’s eliminate the easy stuff first.
1. The seam in the centre back skirt.
The pattern piece is quite large as it’s an A-line and calf length.
I could not afford to cut one side of the skirt out. Then find the same pattern repeat elsewhere in the fabric (there wasn’t any) and cut the other side as you would in couture. Then join back together to achieve a perfect pattern match.
Also, the centre back seam is straight. So actually by placing it against the fold; instead, there is no need for a seam solving two problems in one — no cutting or stitching. The pattern has not been interfered with, and it is taking up slightly less fabric in width. Although only a seam width, this made the difference for me to be able to get the front and back skirt patterns side by side.
This was a lifesaver as I definitely would not have enough fabric without doing this. So take off the centre back seam (fold out of the way) and place against the fold of the fabric. You can see in the photo at hem level. I sneaked off even a bit more. So that I could fit those patterns on, don’t worry, it’s not a lot. Just make sure you straighten the hem up again, and it doesn’t start to go up in the middle.
Please note this was all made possible because the roses face both ways. Looking up and looking down 👀
EASY RIGHT? Great, no problems.
I have the same issues with the bodice. Now, these are slightly different to deal with because the centre back bodice is shaped. And it needs to be. It makes it far more flattering and gives it the 50’s look.
The centre front bodice has to be cut because it forms a collar.
If it’s ok with you, I will address this tomorrow as I would like to explain in more detail.
So for today...One last thing!
I have made this dress before. Remember The Frieda Kahlo dress. Same pattern. It is, in fact, a wrap over more like a pinafore. There’s no zip or buttons. It’s completely split on the sides. I have shown a pic of the Freida dress to explain. If you make this dress, I would like to advise you to add side facings to the centre front panel
Follow the shape of the edge and cut a piece approximately 3” wide. Stitch these on like facings. So usual stitch, trim, fold back, press and then topstitch down. It helped the dress to fall so much better and align at the hem. I felt it really needed it. Obviously, mine are in a contrasting fabric. Why... not enough fabric 😂😂boring. But really that doesn’t matter. It’s worth doing, and you can’t see them. 💕
The photos below are all to do with eliminating a straight seam only and placing on the fold instead. And creating an additional facing.
DAY 3 OF MAKING! 💕
Already planning the next one. I need more places to go 😎💋
Ok, so today I am going to cover the seam in the centre front of the bodice. I am all out of options; what are we going to do?
The front bodice has to have a seam in it as it has a collar attached. In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be a problem because I would have to do a perfect pattern match. This means I would need two lengths of identical fabric. Cut the left side from one and the right from the other. So when stitched the pattern comes back together!
Today no can do! There’s only one place on the fabric for this bodice. This makes the difference of me having this dress or not. Hmmmmm...
So I decided to go with whatever is left, and I will fix it later as I have a little trick up my sleeve
Take a look at the photo below you can see the join in the front. Left like that. It just wouldn’t do. Now see the photo of how it looked after the ‘fix’
How?... Lovely appliqués 💕💕 I took one of the roses that were left (there were only 3). Backed it with Bondaweb and cut it out. Positioned it over the disjointed seam to hide it. Iron it on and zigzag stitch in place.
There you go. I could have added the other two, but I know the dress ties up over the top. So only part can be seen anyway.
Easy Peasy 💕
I hope you liked my little trick. 💋💋
So next you will see the dress. There is one more alteration to cover on the collar along with a little trick to give the collar a bit more fabulosity.
I will explain when you see the dress on the mannequin.💋
THE DAY BEFORE THE BIG DAY!!!
So here we are the day before, and the Ascot dress is finished! Phew, now I can relax...Enough time to run up a matching coat. JUST KIDDING 😂😂💕
I have to say I LOVE IT! 💕 one of those times when everything came together nicely. I am very happy!
One thing I would like to highlight is the collar. I have made this pattern before. So I knew what to expect. But just mentioning this in case anyone intends to make this dress themselves.
I am quite short (ok very short) and have narrow shoulders. So I found the collar was too wide for me. I took 1 1/4” off at the top of the collar and graduated it back into where it starts to roll back.
The other thing! I wanted the collar to stand a little more proud than my previous dress, as it fell a bit flat. It needed to feel a bit more glamorous. So I stitched in a small piece of boning to the centre back seam of the top collar. I think it worked a treat 🤩
So here it is. I hope you like it as much as I do. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed it...Such great fun 😊🥂
So tomorrow is the big day. Fingers crossed for the weather. My wonderful friend Natalie Gladman has prepared us a feast. Will show you the menu below. We are so spoilt. So bring it on!!!
Join me for more of my sewing stories on our fabulous Facebook group “That’s Sew Terry Fox” (There’s a link at the bottom of this blog post) . In the meantime I hope the sewing fairies come in and fold up all your fabrics, colour co-ordinate them and add an extra metre to all those gorgeous small bits. Which we have kept forever, but can never use because there’s never enough. Thank you fairies 😜😜💋
Teehee lots of love. xxx
HAPPY RELAXING SUNDAY EVERYBODY 💕
Well, I am not quite sure what happened to Saturday. I got back after the races. Pottered about, for some random reason, pulled out my complete stash of fabrics! Just because I can’t wait to start another project!
So do you do this too?
* Go through all your patterns and pull out a few you feel in the mood for making.
* Now go through all of your fabrics to find a suitable choice. But not so easy. You end up with several to each pattern.
* lay them all out with the pattern on top. Waiting for one to jump out at you. Then stare at them for several hours.
* Now and again jumping up and down with excitement as you team up a pattern with fabric. Hugging it to death! Thinking these are made for each other?!
Only to put it down an hour later because:
You don’t have enough fabric!
You have too much fabric!
It’s too colourful!
There’s not enough colour!
It’s too light!
It’s too thick!
It’s too special!
It’s too casual!
And the list goes on...
Now completely worn out. Because let’s be honest, this is something no man will ever understand. That right there...was a full days hard work 😊and with a bit of luck maybe just one, possibly two, will pass the test and make it to the Cutting table 😂😂
Well that was my Saturday 😜
I have a feeling I shall continue today. Along with some cutting out, preparation and a little sewing. But don’t worry I shall report all next week 💕
I am just going to finish with some of the highlights from Ascot. Then I promise that’s the end of it!
But most of all I would like to give a special shout out, and a massive heartfelt thank you to my superwoman friend Natalie Gladman. Not only did she organise the entire event. She cooked all of the food, and prepared the splendid table. Plus she cut those beautiful flowers that very morning. And this is something she managed to slot in between the high pressured lifestyle she already has.
I love you to bits, Mrs Gladman. You are one awesome lady! 💕💕💕