Happy Valentine’s Day!
For once I made something that I’m at least 80% happy with. I thought this would be the most confusing thing I’d ever have to make because I just couldn’t imagine how all the little pieces would be drafted and put together, like the loops for the tie back and the slit down the centre back. But I prevailed and I succeeded. I’m genuinely proud of myself for this sexy little number that I made.
The tutorial to make yourself one of these cuties is also available and it’s pretty straightforward because I show you how to do everything, from drafting the pattern to putting the dress together.
I’m quite surprised because it is so well put together and I’m actually wondering how I achieved such level of perfection. I’m such a messy sewer that the fact the stitches are straight is even a mystery to me. But I did well and I’m glad it looks good and fits.
To be honest, to draft a bodice that wasn’t too revealing but looked sexy and fitted well was a bit of a challenge. I made no less than 10 toiles to actually get that part perfect and once I had created a flawless version, I was ready to sew!
My toile looked so good that I couldn’t wait to see how the real thing would look. The toiling fabric I used is from Minerva craft. It really did help give me some insight as to how the dress would potentially look.
The steps I’d take to create a finished garment, without any instructions but the ones I’d create for myself, was something I pondered over extensively. I wrote done bullet points of the process and pictured the progression in my head to check if what I was thinking would work or not. Many questions went through my head, “Should I add the lace trim after or before I stitched the bodice together?”, “Should I create a separate facing to hide the loops behind?”, “How will I even get into the dress, should I add elastic?”
Eventually I settled on something that would work for everyone. The back ties meant that even if you got your measurements wrong you could always fit the dress around your body by tightening the ties. So now fit wouldn’t be an issue. Getting into the fabric, however, was something I was stuck on for a long while. I eventually went with a little slit that would leave a little peekaboo at the back, which only adds to the sexiness of the dress.
Putting the dress together was very straightforward. I’ve never used lace or lace trims to make a full garment before but I loved making this. It was so fun and so easy. Even the chiffon behaved! Ok, I struggled to cut it out because it kept moving, but apart from that, everything was brilliant. I even found a non-strenuous way to hem it!
There was also the added the pressure of getting everything right first time because I was recording the whole process for the tutorial, but I made no major errors except for when I accidentally stitched the lace trim on upside down, but that was a minor. Having dabbled in a bit of bra making, I was familiar with how lace is used in lingerie, so that helped.
I even used my overlocker! Albeit badly, but I still used it!
I was so nervous for my photo shoot. I’m not so keen on exposing my body but, to my relief, it was actually a little less revealing than I thought it would be without taking anything away from the sexiness.
The bodice is pretty. I really like the lace trim I used, I think it really helped in covering up more boob than what would have been if I hadn’t added the trim. I used the same trim for the waistband (can you call it a waistband? It’s more of an under-bust band, but anyway), leaving it unlined so some skin could show through, to obviously up the sexiness levels.
One of the finishing touches I added, because detail counts, were little bows to cover up the stitches from the straps. I used the same ribbon found on the back of the bodice, which means, yes, I tied those cute little bows myself.
The back of the bodice I love. The whole tying concept and the gorgeous lattice I created, which stands out brilliantly across an exposed back, are my favourite. Even that cheeky little slit plays its part.
I added sew-in interfacing at the centre back to keep the loops strong and secure so that the pull from tying the dress up wouldn’t rip my oh-so delicate fabrics. The best decision I ever made. I even included some of the interfacing to the join between the dress and the straps – you can never be too careful.
As a pattern drafter and designer, its things like this you need to think about; the functionality of what you are making, because there are no instructions to tell you these things. I knew the back tie would apply pressure to the fabric, so to combat that, I added stronger material.
I hate hemming. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it even more. I hate hemming. I’m actually really bad at it, and that’s even with crisp cottons that iron flat. Now add a sheer, slippery fabric to the mix and we have disaster. There was no way I was going to hem by rolling the bottom of my chiffon inwards. It just wouldn’t work for me and I’d end up ruining all my hard work.
So I found an ingeniously lazy way out of it – a tutorial from Threads, which allowed for sheer fabrics to be finished with some zig-zag and blanket stitches. Amazing! My hem looks professionally done and that is why this project will easily get a 9/10 from me.
It was successful. Being able to practice by making toiles really helped and actually having a plan meant that what I was doing was well thought through and could be executed meticulously.
If there’s anything that I learnt from this, it would be that nothing is impossible. I had a vision but I didn’t know how it would turn out, either way, I gave it a go and it worked out!
I’m really excited for my next projects now. I get anxiety when I sew because I have to produce something that I need to basically show to the world, but now I feel like I have the ability to create anything that I feel may be beyond my abilities.
So here’s to successful sewing projects!
Thanks for giving this a read. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this project. It’s 100% one of my favourites, so I hope you like it as much as I do!