Be warned for some serious sequin action….!! Well it is Strictly season after all!
It was never a serious intention of mine to make a Christmas dress. Why would I do that to myself at this time of year?! So many things to think about and dedicate time to, the addition of something that wasn’t absolutely essential would just stress me out for as of course I would want it to be perfect!
So how did I end up deciding to make one? Well we have a Christmas dinner party at home every year for a group of close friends. I have worn the same rotation of dresses for the last few years so this year was definitely time for a new one. I also started thinking about the dress in November which is most unlike me. I would normally get round to thinking about it a week before the event, think it would be the best idea and then bust an absolute gut to get it finished, be absolutely exhausted due to late night sewing and get completely stressed out as I have neglected all of my other life committments. Finally I was inspired by Lauren Guthrie’s party blog series in particular the sequin top and thought ‘I could try that’. Ultimately I ended up thinking ‘why would I buy a dress when I could make one myself?’ Well at this time of year I can think of many reasons why you would just go out and buy one but once I’ve got an idea in my head there is no stopping me!!!
With the idea planted in my mind, the only condition of me making a Christmas dress was that it had to be a tried and tested pattern. There was no way I was going to be faffing around with making changes to patterns, making toiles etc. Fortunately I had done the hard work on my toile for my Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress (you can see it here) and so a trip to Guthrie & Ghani to kit me out was all I needed! I was served by Lauren, she helped me choose the lining fabric to match the sequins and we used my pattern pieces to help plan how much fabric I needed which was really useful.
Well it was love at first sight with the sequin fabric! I had actually gone with the intention of choosing the silver version but after seeing the champagne colour I felt it was a bit warmer for my skin tone and a bit more ‘me’ for a whole dress made from it. I did feel it was a very brave idea doing a full dress with sequins but due to the classic cut and shape of the Megan dress I do feel ultra comfortable in that style. Also since making the dress, all I have seen in the shops and on magazine covers is sequin tops and dresses!!
Before I go into the details here is the finished dress…sparkle sparkle!!
In terms of working with the fabric the lining was quite challenging as it was so slippery. I used a walking foot to sew the lining which I think helped. The sequin fabric however was surprisingly easy and behaved itself! After cutting the fabric out there were sequins EVERYWHERE! Christmas was definitely coming! I found Lauren Guthrie’s video tutorial on sewing with sequin fabric incredibly useful. It is within the party wear blog post. I used a size 80 needle, pressed seams open by hand and did not need to finish the raw edges of the seams off so nice and quick!
Once I had made the 2 dresses (one in lining and one in sequins) it was time to sew them together. This was my first attempt at lining a dress so was exciting to learn a new technique. I sewed them together at the neckline and under stitched around the lining neckline to help make it lie nice and flat.
I then inserted the invisible zip. I treated the 2 layers of fabric as one to insert the zip. This helped stabilise the sequins to hold the zip but I think the inside would have looked neater if the zip was enclosed within the 2 layers….next time! I didn’t achieve a perfect match at the waistline seam but quite frankly it wasn’t that far off and there was no way I was going to unpick it. It matched well at the top of the neck so was happy with that. I also inserted a hook and eye above the top of the zip. The invisible zip works fine but it does catch a bit on the sequins and is just as well I won’t be wearing it repeatedly as I think the sequins would come off with frequent use of the zip.
For the sleeve lining I attached the sleeves to the main dress lining. Then when I tried to hand sew the 2 sleeve hems together the sleeves didn’t lie flat so I unpicked it and left the 2 pieces separate. I think what I should have done is sew the lining piece to the sleeve piece at the beginning and then insert the 2 together into the main dress.
To finish the hem I did a regular double foldover machine sewn hem. I’m not sure whether I stretched the hem out slightly when doing this as has a very slight wave to it.
Now for the accessories! I used some leftovers to make a matching clutch bag using the New Look K6723 pattern. I think it might have come free with Sew Magazine (Issue 79/Dec 2015). I lined it with a regular cream cotton which I applied a firm fusible interfacing to in order to give the bag some structure. The button was a gift from a friend that I had in my button box so was lovely to use that for this project.
I then got a bit carried away and made a bow tie for my other half using a pattern from Love Sewing magazine Issue 13. I was kind of doing the bow tie as a bit of a laugh but actually it looks really good and he loved it!
Well I hope that has made you feel really Christmassy! I absolutely loved wearing the dress to our party, didn’t want to take it off! The gutting thing is I don’t have another occasion to wear it this festive period. Bit OTT for Xmas day I think!! Sure I’ll find an opportunity somewhere!
One final one – oh how I love this fabric!!!!
Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for reading!
Lorna x 🙂