Sewing: accidental overdose on dressmaking.

So there’s this dress pattern. It’s a Vogue pattern (V8280), and it goes up to a maximum of size 14 in the one I managed to get hold of about eight years ago in a tearing hurry somewhere in South West London. 14, which contains a digit that is also my actual dress size but is significantly smaller than it. Also, I don’t really like the lower part of the dress pattern because it is designed to emphasise the hips on women whose hips are not already so emphatic that they tend to drown out everything else in sight, like explosions and so on.

However, the top part of that pattern is well-fitted and looks fancy, and is also a piece of cake to make: two darts in the two back pieces, four darts in the front piece, all marked out, and then attach the weird handle things and their lining, fold over and sew the sides together, insert zip if necessary (not always necessary).

Faced with the problem of a skirt I didn’t like I remembered that I have recently totally mastered the art of making full circle skirts in the flash of an eye, and in one instance that I already had a skirt made of two skirts knocking about and waiting to be made into something I might one day wear.

The results would have me scolded off the Great British Sewing Bee with my tail between my legs… then again no one on there makes things out of the arms of a coat cut out on a folding picnic table and sewn amid the continual snapping of sewing machine needles.

First attempt

Test run using cheap-o green all-purpose polycotton and, when I’d run out of that and could only make a pitifully tiny ruffle instead of a skirt at the base, a valance. The same one I used to make the sleeves of the insane jacket. The cheapo ribbon from the land of magically cheap sewing supplies (E17) has proven only a minor distraction from the fact that the back is far too broad and needs to be taken in at the top, but mistakes are pretty much the name of the game with the first one anyway.


It may look a bit rough, but this entire thing is heavily recycled and I feel that excuses it. The skirt is made up of fabric originally bought for a Maenad costume I made in 2005, as is the ribbon waistband. The underskirt is from a dress I made in 2006 to go to a wedding in. The top and the fishtail, the zip included, are the remnants of the coat I made for a thing a couple of years ago. As I get marginally better at making things I see no real problem in hacking up the stuff I made before which wasn’t as good and using it for other things.

So, at some point in the future, most of these will probably be turned into something else.


Rather better: this was actually the last of the green dresses, and is made of taffeta. There’s nothing particularly funky in its construction, and I will be happy to wear it this summer if the summer weather ever happens at all. 

DSC_0234 DSC_0235

Lacing is, as always, my answer to “this garment isn’t wide enough and I don’t want to make extra panels” and in this instance also my answer to “I don’t have a zip of the right length and colour but I want to finish this thing”. As a result, weirdly, the back looks better than the front. Fabric is lining satin from a bargain in, which means this entire dress cost £4.

Tune in at $ERROR_DATE_NOT_FOUND for a blog post where I intelligently discuss something rather than just showing off stuff I’ve made and running away.



2 thoughts on “Sewing: accidental overdose on dressmaking.

  1. Question: do you cinch your dresses to accentuate your frame or just follow the pattern and make it loose fitting for rioting purposes? Just curious, cute dresses btw i envy your sewing skillz

    1. Mostly I just follow the pattern and size it up so that it actually goes on my body, although as you can see it’s a rough science. The skirt part is a completely different matter & is very much loose-fitting for rioting purposes.

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