18 May, 2014

Linen Birthday Dress

Here it is, the belated birthday dress post!

Before I get into details, I want to pose a little scenario for you:

You have three days left until the event when you realise that the fabric for your original dress plan isn't going to arrive on time. You are left with three options:
1. Give up and wear an older self-made dress that's nice enough but doesn't fit quite the way you'd like it to.
2. Give up even further, wear an RTW dress and quietly feel like a failure all evening as people ask "Ooh, is this the dress you made??" and you reply "Nope."
3. PANIC and make a completely different dress with the three remaining evenings you have left! Screw the dishes!

 As you can probably guess, I picked option 3, and will be using your responses to determine my own level of sanity.

So, the dress.
This thing was made entirely from my fabric stash, and I actually like it far more than my original plan.

I cobbled together my own pattern, half copying the bodice from a RTW dress that I love. The skirt is pleated in front, and gathered around the back and sides. The black sash was added last-minute for a bit more waist definition. I promise it's not covering anything wonky!

The skirt is this amazing cream linen I bought for no reason from the remnant warehouse. It's now my favourite thing in the world. Super durable and so opaque that you can't even see black tights through one layer, but still so soft and buttery that it almost feels edible...

The bodice is made from a single upholstery sample square. It was literally the only thing in my stash that complemented the linen. The edges frayed pretty fast, and there was terrifyingly little to work with, let alone pattern-match. In the back of my mind, my 8th grade Home Ec. teacher was folding her arms and frowning. You can't make a dress out of upholstery fabric! Go to the principals office!

But you know what, Miss? You can, and it's awesome.
In fact, my favourite thing about this dress is knowing that, somewhere in the world, there's probably a couch made from this fabric.

 Each bodice seam is top-stitched open using cream thread. I put an exposed metal zipper in the back (the longest jeans zipper I could find), and used a little coordinating necklace clasp to hold the top closed.

The bodice is lined using the same cream linen. Nothing could be more luxurious! I closed the lining by hand-stitching around the zipper and at the waistline. The skirt hem is also hand-stitched. It sounds like an insane decision, considering how little time I had to make this dress, but it meant that all the finishing touches could be done in the living room when the family was arriving. It was actually pretty relaxing.

I don't have any pictures of the dress in action on the night, but I can assure you, it was comfy, and the dishes didn't even notice their neglect!

I'd love to hear what you think. Even if it's just how badly you now want some linen :P
Hope everyone has had a great week!


Curvy Tam said...

Holy wow that is gorgeous! I love that you've used materials that belong elsewhere, gives it such a uniqueness.

After looking at your original design I really do prefer the one you made! I hope it made your birthday even more enjoyable xx

Zoe May said...

Thanks Tam! :)

Lindsay said...

Gorgeous dress - and so unique! You look fantastic in it!

Etemi said...

Ohmygod!! I love this! And you've guessed it right, I want some of that linen. I would have never thought of putting those two together, and I think nobody would. I think this is what's awesome about making your own clothes, developing ideas from scratch. And of course those stories behind most garments, all that frustration and excitement!

Beth – Sew DIY said...

This is really cute! I love the mix of fabrics.

Zoe May said...

Thanks so much, everyone! :)

Samgoose said...

Wow, this is just gorgeous! The fabrics couldn't be more complementary. I think the drape of the linen just works with the slightly rough (maybe not quite the right word...) finish of the bodice fabric. I reckon only a sewer would even clock that was upholstery fabric anyway! Really great project :-)