My brother is getting married in a couple of weeks in Brisbane. I wanted to wear something nice, given the dress code is "cocktail" but I also wanted to wear something in cotton. Sure I could go and buy a nice frock - but everything in the shops for the spring racing carnivals or a cocktail party is polyester or a derivative thereof. And I don't like wearing polyester, especially not on a warm Brisbane day.
One Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago I was reading the newspaper and there was a whole page devoted to tea dresses in the fashion section. And I thought "Michelle, you can totes make one of those".
So I went straight to the stash cupboard, and pulled out this prized length of embroidered cotton from Tessuti.
Then I went through my enormous collection of patterns. And came up with zilch. Seems there are few tea dress style patterns out there for bigger girls, and if there are, I certainly haven't found them.
I'd just had great success with making my Not Sorbetto top, also known around some parts as Simplicity 2938. And I came up with my second not-so-brilliant idea of the morning. "Michelle, you can totes make up your own pattern and base the bodice on the Not Sorbetto. Because you are a freaking genius. Yes you are."
I knew this
I cut and sewed the bodice first.
Then I had to adjust the seams quite a bit to get the snugness I was wanting in the bodice so that it could take 2 metres of fabric skirt. I also had to shorten the top by about 5 inches so it came to my waistline. I cut two widths of fabric about 25 inches long, sewed them together and attached the resulting skirt to the bodice by gathering it.
Disaster. It didn't look much better with a belt.
While all this was going on and I was despairing my ability to make a wearable muslin without a pattern, there was a Twitter consultation taking place. Several people suggested pleating the skirt. I also wanted to make the bodice shorter, so I did both. Here is a photo with the skirt just pinned to the waist. I'd say "ouch" with all those pins around my belly, but I have no nerve endings in my stomach area anymore and can't feel a thing. Lucky, eh?
I was onto a winner, I thought. So I sewed it all together, inserted a side zipper (my first! I can't believe it took me 20 years!) and wore it today to a birthday celebration - High Tea at the Hyatt.
(These photos were taken after High Tea. I am looking very crushed and very cold, mainly because it was FREEZING. Also, I may or may not be in a cucumber sandwich coma.)
(I actually wore brown tights to High Tea but took them off for the photos. Fool me.)
And a gratuitous photo of my
I cut out the dress for the wedding this morning, and I'll be making that a little longer than this one. However, I'm so happy with this dress that if the black and cream one doesn't work out, I'll be wearing this to the wedding instead. It doesn't scream "cocktail", but it does holler "Michelle", and I'm more than happy with that.