Anyway, today’s blog offering is the Simple Sew English Tea Dress. I wanted a black dress for the Christmas Party, which I could customise and make nice and Christmassy with this beautiful gold trim – note, I can’t actually go to my Christmas Party so I actually joined my sister-in-laws!
I bought a lovely, drapey black viscose dress fabric from the local market and 2 metres of it just covered this dress (luckily I wanted to have a go at the little fluttery sleeves that are featured anyway!).
The pattern came together quite quicky, there’s darts in both the front and the back pieces which gives it a really nice shape. I stuck with the facings for this and soon remembered why I usually avoid them. They just don’t sit right… As this was my Christmas dress I used gold ribbon as a binding on the facings before sewing them in place. As usual, they were far too eager to pop out so I settled for some tacking stitches at my shoulders and moved on.
I thought that would be my mission complete, however it was too tight on the chest… Not unheard of, sadly. So in my determination, I opened up the side seams and inserted a triangular panel at both sides to give me a bit more room. This makes the shape of the sleeves look a little more wide but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I had left the dress very last minute, I’ve had it cut out for ages but the party date just crept up on me! Anyway, because I was rushing slightly, I didn’t have a long zip so I had to use a 9 inch one… luckily I had cut the back piece on the fold; it meant I didn’t have to cut in in half to insert a zip. and it does make it look smoother. It does mean I have to wiggle in to it a bit but it’s no big deal.
The picture on the pattern shows a V-shaped dip at the waist but I found the pattern doesn’t allow for this as much as it suggests. I inserted the cute little tulip shaped sleeves (it comes with 3 options) and then hemmed it, which was an absolute nightmare; it seemed to press nicely and then it stretched and went wonky as I was stitching. Luckily I was adding my gorgeous gold trim to the bottom so I wasn’t too stressed about it… I think I would have done some unpicking otherwise.
Anyway, I pinned and sewed the trim along the hem with the design slightly overlapping the edge. I toyed with the idea of adding the trim elsewhere and pinned it along the neck and the waist to try it but decided against it in the end… I think my hubby’s words were ‘you have issues with simple being better don’t you?’ I do think it looks effective and more classy and not too OTT this way.
I styled in with black tights and these gorgeous festive gold T-bar shoes… Another reason I didn’t go mad with gold trim- I knew I had gold accessories!
The party was a mardi-gras theme and my sister-in-law and I went all out and had my lovely friend Ann do our make-up professionally.
I felt really glam and was so pleased to be wearing something I made when I didn’t even know how to sew clothes this time last year. Also, just to add, I borrowed my friends chopstick curlers and oh my God, I’m in hair love!
We had a fab time and danced the night away! I even bagged myself a matching gold mask, which has since made it’s way on to my Christmas tree!!