Dress to impress, or maybe not …

The sewing bloggers meet up of a few weeks ago still brings a smile to my face , it was a great day, sunny and exciting, warm and inviting. I made a dress especially for the event, a bit last minute and a probably a bit rushed but I was determined to make something new. I bought the fabric in a charity shop on the Monday, washed on Tuesday, pressed on Wednesday, cut out Thursday then day off work and stitched on Friday. Finished by, oooh, about 11pm that night!


Look at that! It still had the receipt attached from 1966 and was originally purchased from the Landport Drapery Bazaar in Portsmouth. I did my usual ‘should I cut into this wonderful vintage find’ thing that I do, then I thought ‘how daft’ and snipped away.

I used my favourite pattern, Simplicity 2444 and so it wasn’t a completely silly challenge, even so, it had its moments!


To cut a long story short, the stripes were an absolute pain to line up and this was as good as I could get. The dark, diagonal line running through the pattern is navy so at first I used a navy zip (as you do), but it just looked completely wrong and when my trusty husband agreed that it would annoy me, I unpicked it and inserted a black one … nightmare! The stripes didn’t match, then the piping on the waist didn’t match but finally with lots of swearing deep breaths, I got there. I hand stitched the hem while watching Graham Norton with a glass of wine and it wasn’t until I wore it on Saturday that I started to notice its problems (that’s wine last minute sewing for you!). 

Photo by Digpal Singh

Photo by Digpal Singh

Here I am with the lovely Tamsin from Pimp my curtains and super Catherine from Catherine Daze at the V&A. Yes, that is a name label on my left breast, not an ill advised bit of applique (see more photos of the day here).

My dress as it turns out is a right creaser, the diagonals on the sleeves go in the same direction rather than mirroring each other as they should (I remember cutting them out as well!) and most annoyingly as the day wore on the neck stretched until it resembled a pelican bib – The more I fiddled with it, like an annoying pimple, it just got bigger!

Lizzie: "Look at that shocking neckline!" photo by Digpal Singh

photo by Digpal Singh

You can see it a bit in the above photo but neckline aside, whilst eating the delicious meal later that day, I realised that there wasn’t much room for food and began to wonder if the stitches would hold (they did, it’s fine!).

When I got home, my dress looked as exhausted as I felt …



but at least those stripes match!

As with many of my makes, this dress was in danger of joining the other fails in the box under the bed but, in my Me Made May pledge, I said that: I will revisit past makes and snip and stitch so that I’ll want to wear them. I do like this dress – I can live with the sleeves, I will eat less chocolate to be able to breath in it but that neckline really bothered me and would definitely stop me from wearing it. Today I unpicked it, pressed, stay stitched and re attached the facing with the piping but it still didn’t sit properly. I’m pretty sure my lack of experience is to blame here and I am doing something silly but in the end I gave up and took away the piping and …


now it looks much better. I’m a bit sorry that the piping couldn’t stay but at least now I will wear it … just not on long train journeys or when I’m eating a lot!

MMM is going just fine thank you very much. I am taking twice as long to get ready in the morning but I am sticking to my pledge!



Filed under makes

19 responses to “Dress to impress, or maybe not …

  1. Jenni

    I remember Landports in pompey from the late 70’s early 80’s, it’s a Debenhams now! But great dress even without the piping 🙂

  2. Maaike

    I think the dress is lovely, and lovely on you! Still, I laughed so hard at the pelican bib pimple bit I snorted. My beloved kindly pretended not to notice. He’s really good about that kind of thing. 🙂

  3. Your dress is beautiful! I think the matching on the back seam is perfect, it made say “wow” when I saw the photo.

  4. I didn’t notice the neckline at all, just the great shape and fabric! In awe of the stripe matching, I’d never have had the patience.

  5. I thought it looked lovely at the meet-up! Your stripe matching is awe-inspiring and I’m even more impressed you went back and fixed up the neckline that bothered you!!

  6. Wow! That stripe matching is breathtaking and you have this fitted gorgeously! Well done 😀

  7. what gorgeous fabric, the dress looks lovely.

  8. Rachel Pinheiro

    I was so impressed with you dress… I love it

  9. Lovely dress! Like Catherine I didn’t notice the neck on the day. I picked up that pattern at the swap!

  10. I am in complete awe of your pattern matching…. perfect alignment of all the diagonals.

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