How do you like my dress?
I am as yet undecided. Not because of the overall look of it – I love the fit (although it could do with a few tweaks), the shape, the material – and the way it looks (and makes me feel – like a classy bird, for once). But because there are several places where I bodged this dress, and this dress does not deserve a bodging. It deserves careful handling and perfect execution.
But let’s start from the beginning. This was a challenge set by my Sewing Bee several months ago – we decided we would all make a classy cocktail dress in time to go out for pre-Christmas cocktails together, which was such a lovely idea I couldn’t resist.
It took me ages to decide what dress to make – I ummed and ahhed about what made a dress a cocktail dress (not helped by the fact that my usual cocktail attire is not unlike my usual attire – i.e. holey jeans and New Balance), before remembering I’d bought Burda 6043 – a vintage style shift vintage reissue a while back which fit the bill perfectly. I love the early 60s silhouette and the way the ladies on the front could have walked off the set of Mad Men with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other.
The next decision was fabric. It needed to live up to the elegance of the dress, but also comfortable enough to move in. As we all know, one too many cocktails can often lead to dancing. Shameful behaviour.
When I saw this “Annalotte” dress from Kathryn at Yes I Like That, made in the self-lined Prada stretch crepe from Minerva Crafts, I thought that this was the one. I was originally going to go with black for the LBD, but something about the modest cut of the dress made me worry it would look a bit funereal, so I went for the purple “Aubergine” colour. I rather riskily bought it sight-unseen, and didn’t bother with a sample, as the reviews I’d seen convinced me it would be ok – and luckily it was! The fabric was £11.99 a metre. I bought 2.5m (am still beginner enough to plan for major balls-up in my cutting), but I think used less than 2 in the end.
The fabric is gorgeous, as you might expect from something with Prada in the title. It’s matt on one side, with a silky lining. I decided to use the silky side for the bodice, and the matt for the skirt section of the pattern, which makes for a lovely contrast.
I pretty much followed the pattern as is – cutting out a size 14 I think (this was before Christmas, and my memory is not so good after the “Christmas Cheer”). I shortened it by about 4 inches, as it says it’s drafted for a 5’6’’ tall woman. I am not that woman. I ended up with a very small hem, but I like the length on me. I only lined the bodice, as I didn’t think it needed a lining in the skirt, especially with my fancy-ass self-lined fabric. The fabric is also quite thick, so I thought two layers in the skirt would be too much.
- The little point in the bodice won’t sit smoothly – despite me resewing it several times – I can’t work out how I would fix this in the future, but perhaps it was just inaccurate cutting from the start.
- I don’t like finishing the armholes with a bias binding, but I’d already sewn in the lining and zip so had left it too late to finish them another way (this is why you should always read a pattern from start to finish before you start wielding the scissors I guess!)
- The back bodice doesn’t line up properly at the back and I don’t know why!!! I ended up having to hand sew this to fix it. It’s still not perfect but it’s not so bad that anyone else would notice unless they were intently watching me walk away.
- I used some bad bad interfacing. It’s probably not the interfacing’s fault, but more that I need to learn about interfacing and what kind to use, as the stuff I’ve got is so stiff it’s like paper. This doesn’t actually bother me when I’ve got the dress on, luckily, as I can’t really tell. It’s more that I know that it’s there.
- I could do with pinching a bit of fabric out of the front bodice as it has the tendency to gape a little (one of these days I will probably make a toile. But not today). It wouldn’t need a huge amount taking out, and again, no one else would probably notice – I just found myself fiddling with it a little while I was out. Until the third cocktail, and then I didn’t give a cr*p.
But at the end of the day (or the start of the next), none of the bodging really mattered – we all had a great time at the Hide Bar in Borough, which has some of the most interesting cocktails I’ve come across in my long history of cocktailing.
So I guess the moral of the story is, if you have something you’ve made you’re not sure about,
get drunk and wear it anyway.
Although technically this post is all about the cocktails, not the bubbly, I couldn’t resist this quote from Dorothy Parker from her poem Inventory.