The All-Nighter Dress

Hooray! This is my first post, after I don’t know how long of reading the Monthly Stitch. At last, one of my makes fits in with the month’s theme. I managed to Frock Out for Frocktober.

Sorry for the office pics – it’s too dark to photograph when I get home.

This dress had been in my head for several weeks, but I am a champion procrastinator (mea culpa, I started another project), and it took a deadline to get me to make it.

I’m extremely fond of Sewaholic’s Belcarra Blouse pattern. I’ve used it for four blouses and a summer dress. And when I wanted a nice new dress for an Occasion, out it came again.

The dress was made from a gorgeous cotton sateen, given to me by the lovely Stevie of Beebee’s Handmade Dress. The colours are totally me! It’s a gorgeous mix of lilac, pink, teal, navy and cream- they fall well within my personal palette. The cotton is pretty substantial, and holds its shape well. It’s slightly stretchy too, which gives added comfort!

I was hacking the Belcarra pattern by adding a skirt. I had my traced pattern, which is already graded and incorporates an FBA. I made a couple of small amendments to my pattern to make it suitable for adding the skirt- I wanted it to be drop-waisted, with the drop hitting at hip level, so I shortened the bodice pieces a little. I also shaved a tiny bit off the sides at the bottom of the bodice pieces, because I didn’t want the dress to flare out at the hips so much. I didn’t use the self binding strip from the pattern, like I have with all my other Belcarra makes. I didn’t want to waste fabric, because I wasn’t sure I’d have enough for the skirt, and the bias strip is a bit of a fabric hog, and I didn’t have time to faff about piecing a strip together from the scraps. Fortunately, I had some leftover bias in a perfectly matching lilac satin from a previous make, so I used that instead.

Matchy matchy bias binding

For the skirt, I only had about 1 metre of fabric left after I’d cut the blouse pieces. I cut it in two to make a front & back. I wanted a bit of flare, so I made the sides slightly A-line and put two inverted box pleats in each piece. I made the two skirt pieces separately and added them to the front & back bodice pieces before sewing up the sides of the dress. I’d had that idea in mind, before I started this make, because I wanted to be sure of the seams matching, and was delighted to read on Helen’s Just Sew Therapeutic blog, that this is a Thing, and that it’s ok to use this method of construction. I also made sure I added some bias binding to the seams attaching the skirt to the blouse, for reinforcement, as obviously that’s a pressure point and I don’t want the seam ripping there. It also keeps that seam nice & neat.

Look at the box pleat!

I’m so happy with this dress, it really is a delight to wear. The colours are ideal for my co-ordinated wardrobe. I’ve got at least three cardigans, in purple and navy, to wear with it when it gets cooler- we’re currently enjoying a wonderful warm spell here in the UK and I’m loving it, but I know it’s not going to last, and I’ll be ready for the cold when it comes.

Finally, the occasion I was sewing for was my Dad’s wedding (at the age of 78, he finally persuaded his lady friend to make things official!). I have stolen this photo from sister’s Facebook account, showing my lovely sisters and my lovely Dad.

For a bit more info, click on over to my blog post about this dress.

7 thoughts on “The All-Nighter Dress

  1. Pingback: Top 5s post – Reflections & Goals | Béa's Sewing Adventures

  2. Great dress. Wonderful pattern hack.
    Gosh I like me some cotton sateen. I think it’s the weightiness of the fabric. There’s not unattractive clinging, but oh the stretch is a lifesaver after a big meal. 🙂


    • Thanks Jenny, I do like bright jewel colours! And yes, I was in my 20s for the 1980s, and it must have been a very influential decade for me!


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