A Tale of a Christmas Dress – Part 2

Disaster. That about sums up the fitting from yesterday. I started out all enthusiastic. I prepped the bodice pieces for a test piece:


I then sewed them together:


Pressed the seams and tried it on my dress form, then myself. No matter how I tried it just didn’t fit well. It was gaping under the arms, and the side seams under the arms were off 3/4″ each, which is a lot (3″ or roughly 16cm) around the bust – right where you don’t want extra room especially in a strapless garment!. The neckline was wardrobe malfunctioningly low. In other words, not good.

I took my measurements again and I’d lost 1.5″ off my bust and 1.5″ off my waist in the space of two weeks (don’t underestimate how much you can change post baby). So it meant going back to the drawing board. I redrafted my bodice pieces last night and will trace off the bodice pieces from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book to see which of the two bodices fit better and then work out where I’m going wrong from there…

A Tale of a Christmas Dress – Part 1

Who doesn’t love the Christmas party season? Here in Australia, with Christmas falling at the start of our summer, it’s the time of barbeques, super cold craft beer and ciders, boutique white wines, and of course mozzie repellant.

This year I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to two separate Christmas parties. One is in just over two weeks and the other in a month (on a boat!). Now given that I’ve just had my second (and last) child, I really wanted to make something special to wear to both.
For some time I’ve been eyeing off the “Fringed Cocktail Dress” in Gertie Hersch’s Ultimate Dress Book. So I decided this is the time to make that dress. I brought myself a beautiful cotton sateen red poppy on black fabric:


I also bought a really pretty trim and fringe to go with it. Colour me excited!

I did start off by tracing off Gertie’s pattern from the book, and the fitting went well, but I really wanted to try my hand and making the garment from scratch using a personal bodice sloper. For me, patternmaking is as much about the process as it is the result. I want to understand how to get from A to D.

So for the last week I’ve been finalising my bodice sloper in between looking after two sick kids.


I finished copying the sloper to card today (giving my eldest the offcuts to practice cutting and colouring). I always feel pretty nervous and insecure about what I’m finishing, but I went ahead and drafted the princess seamed sweetheart neck bodice off my sloper.


Tomorrow I’ll start the fitting process and start drafting the pencil line skirt (where to finish? Calf? Knee? Go completely sassy and make it above the knee?). Then once that’s fitted, I’ll put the two together and that’s when the magic begins! But I’ll keep you updated on my progress!