Go to content Go to navigation Go to highlighted projects Go to contact

The Fuchsia party dress

29 August 2012, 14:09

Ooh I am so excited to show off this dress to you, and even moreso because it has a great origin story!

Did you know there’s a new sewing, knitting, and jewellry-making social network in town – Kollabora? It’s from some of the people behind the original BurdaStyle.com and I helped beta-test their new site a few months ago.

As a big Thank You for sending in tons of detailed bug reports (a nice side-effect of my day job, which involves a lot of online testing, is that I can write a mean Steps to Replication!), they offered to send me any fabric and pattern combo from their shop! They stock loads of great independent patterns like Colette, Wiksten, and Sewaholic, but I thought I should pick something I wouldn’t normally buy myself. So keeping that in mind, I chose this very! bright! fuchsia stretch cotton sateen from Mood + matching thread + Simplicity 1873 (one of the Cynthia Rowley designer patterns).

I made View C – the low neckline & short hem option, but without the button tabs at the waist. I ended up making size 14 instead of my usual Big Four size 16 because 14 was the biggest size in the envelope I was sent, but it turned out just perfect in the end – nicely snug at the waist, but not overly tight. With a skirt this full and pleated, I really think it needs a nipped-in waist, and that’s another reason I didn’t want to add any bulk in the form of the button tabs there, either.

One thing I hadn’t noticed until after I’d made my dress is that Oona (she of Kalkatroona and I can play twins! She also made this pattern in this fabric! Just get over here to London already, and we’ll take our party dresses out of the town, okay girl?

The neckline isn’t as low as it looks on the envelope cover (I could easily go lower), but the skirt hem really is as high as it looks in the photo, eep! I made the hem as shallow as humanly possible, which mean using a lace tape I bought off eBay and hand-stitching that instead of pressing it under and topstitching like in the instructions.

It does make for a lovely hem though:

The instructions were surprisingly sane, offering a good method for lining the bodice, but overall, this pattern was lacking in any real designer touches, in my opinion. I mean, it’s a nice, well-proportioned dress, but it’s lacking the oomph of the Vogue designer patterns I’ve sewn.

Hello there, marathon legs! I knew all that running would pay off eventually (yes, I also have been sewing more lycra over the weekend, too…).

I lined with black, lightweight satin which was a gift from Claire. There’s just something so 1950s about hot pink and black, but I thought it was a nice combo and meant I could shop my stash!

The pattern doesn’t include facings so I opted to prickstitch the neckline and armhole edges for an added couture finish. Then the lining got severely caught in the zipper (twice!) while trying it on, so I had to go and prickstitch along the zipper edge, too. Triply couture.

The funny thing is, I hardly ever sew Big Four patterns anymore (for a variety of reasons), and when I do, it tends to be designer Vogues. So I went back and looked at the last time I sewed a Simplicity pattern, and here it was I haven’t sewn a Simplicity pattern since January 2010, and even then it was heavily modified!

Now I just need a party to wear this to (not to mention appropriate heels – I can barely walk in the wedges worn here). It’s certainly not a dress for wallflowers, that’s for sure!

Ooh – everything’s 30% off in the Kollabora store right now, too! Not that I’m enabling or anything…

tags: , ,


  1. Beautiful dress, you look stunning in it! If this isn’t a good reason to try marathon training, I don’t know what is :)

    IngeMaakt    Aug 29, 02:37 PM    #
  2. You are certainly very prolific and I’m sure you’ll get a party to attend somewhere. Good old Simplicity, I’ve just bought a couple of their bag patterns as I didn’t want anything too complicated and I practically learned to sew with them back when I was EVEN younger and more beautiful than I am now!!!

    — Patricia O    Aug 29, 03:20 PM    #
  3. It’s a great dress on you. The pictures are fun as well. The garden setting is lovely. Do all the barge owners help with upkeep or is there someone who comes in?
    Nice detailing and I much prefer a handsewn hem on something so dressy. Enjoy.

    Nancy Karpen    Aug 29, 03:27 PM    #
  4. That is one gorgeous dress. I love the pick stitching. I don’t think the black lining would have occurred to me – how clever. Yep, the marathon legs are looking mighty fine.

    Did You Make That?    Aug 29, 05:07 PM    #
  5. Beautiful dress! I love the hand stitching on the lining.

    Elizabeth    Aug 29, 05:40 PM    #
  6. You are rocking that dress. What an amazing colour!

    Catherine Daze    Aug 29, 07:47 PM    #
  7. Long-time lurker here! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, and have been loving the running/exercise gear posts, as I’m a new runner and just started sewing my own crops, tops, etc. The absolute first thought I had seeing these photos was, “Wow her legs look fantastic!” Great color, too.

    Tina B    Aug 29, 08:18 PM    #
  8. Fabulous! A perfect match fro those marathon legs!

    Katherine    Aug 29, 08:27 PM    #
  9. Wow! This is my favorite creation of yours to date! That pink is such a fantastic color on you…

    — Katelyn    Aug 29, 10:13 PM    #
  10. Wow – your dress looks so fab on you, and I would never of thought you’d select a pattern like that normally, but it really suits you well hun :)!!

    Claire (aka Seemane)    Aug 30, 12:02 AM    #
  11. That is a fantastic looking dress. Your running legs look great in that shorter hem.

    Sofie    Aug 30, 12:39 AM    #
  12. Love that dress. It’s perfect.

    velosewer    Aug 30, 01:23 AM    #
  13. You put in the needed details beautifully amd took the pattern to a higher level. Add the fuchsia and black and those great legs — par-tay time!

    anneinseattle    Aug 30, 02:26 AM    #
  14. So vibrant and elegant. You look like a girl ready to conquer London town.

    Gail    Aug 30, 04:26 AM    #
  15. Wow. You may not think the dress has a lot of oomph but get a load do those legs!!! You could probably wear a potato sack and we’d still all be saying great dress but look at the legs. Oh yeah, the dress. I think it looks great. The inverted pleats at the front a a really nice detail and you have got at great fit in the bodice. Love the prickstitching.

    — Rebecca Howard    Aug 30, 09:34 PM    #
  16. This sort of girly girl silhouette and bubble gum pink, aren’t what I’d normally imagine you going for. But, I have to say you look fantastic! It’s all incredibly flattering on you. It’s awesome to try something different as a lark, and find out you “scored a home run!”

    Karin    Aug 31, 09:00 AM    #
  17. LOVE this dress on you – if you’ve got marathon legs, flaunt ‘em! Also love your hair length these days. It’s just right! Pretty neat for an atypical project.

    — M Kate    Aug 31, 06:35 PM    #
  18. Gorgeous dress – the color is smashing!!!

    — Melissa    Aug 31, 10:21 PM    #
  19. You and that dress make a great team Melissa! Beautiful job.

    — Kerry    Sep 1, 02:07 PM    #
  20. Love this dress! And I can think of worse twinsies than Oona!

    Ginger    Sep 17, 09:07 PM    #
  21. Very nice dress!

    Sveta    Sep 28, 12:59 PM    #

Add a comment:

  Textile help