Special occasion transformer dress

With my brother’s wedding approaching I needed a dress. After a lot of deliberating I decided to pull my wedding dress apart to make some changes. Yes, pull apart my wedding dress! Below is a photo from my wedding, the original dress in this story. Blogged about here.

DSC_0053Since getting married I’d decided that the gathers on the skirt are more boofy than suits me. And what do us stitchers do when we think an outfit we made needs some changes? Well, we change it.

Taking the un-picker to my wedding dress felt really wrong at first and I was really nervous. Even though I was the one who sewed it in the first place.

I decided to keep the bodice intact and just change the skirt. I had a lot of fabric left over so made a whole new skirt. Several toiles later I went with 4 pleats front and back, and a modest slope on the side seams as I still wanted it to hang fairly straight at the side seams. I wanted the skirt to have an A-line shape but not be too full as I think this is what suits my shape the best.

The main (shell) fabric is an expensive polyester satin that is fairly heavy with lots of drape. The skirt is interlined with a silk organza. I’ve put hem lace on it and hand stitched it just to the organza interlining so there are no visible stitches at the hem. All of the internal seams have been pinked and then hand basted just to the organza. Then there is a synthetic lining on the skirt as well. The bodice is lined with the same shell fabric and has lots of boning in it.

After, option 1:

blue evening dress 2

But that wasn’t to be the end of it. I also decided that it would be good to have the dress not be strapless so I decided to go with a sheer over-dress. The most suitable fabric I could find was a black organza with embroidered daisies. This part was really easy to make. I used a bodice pattern I have used previously for a different outfit and then the same skirt pattern I made for the first dress. It is all French seams to make it neat and the edges (neck, arm, and hem) are all trimmed with a really narrow satin, bias binding. It secures just with tiny press studs at the left shoulder and left side seam. This means that these seams look exactly like the rest on the dress. A zip would have been obvious with all the other seams being really thin. I originally designed it be the same length as the blue dress but then decided I wanted more blue peaking through.

After, option 2:



These two photos above are taken at the same event. When I first got dressed I was too warm (excited probably) for the overdress but then as it cooled I put the overdress on. I took along different jewelry for just such an option 🙂

Left over from pulling the skirt off the original dress is a black mesh and sequin piece of very expensive fabric which was the overlay on the skirt. My plan is to attach this to a black satin band that I can just pull on over the basic blue dress and secure by tying it up at the back with a big bow. So then the dress will have three options! Basic blue, overlayed skirt, or full overlay. There is also the original blue skirt which I will make a waistband for out of the same fabric and wear just as a skirt. I will be totally sorted for special occasion wear then!

This project took quite awhile but I really don’t mind spending ages on one project, especially for a special occasion dress/s. Though my next projects will be some quick wins before starting a longer project I have in mind…


Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Wrap skirt heaven



I’ve been loving the black wrap skirt I made so much I just had to make another – with a few changes. 

This time I decided to do away with the tie closure and use large snaps instead so that I can wear a belt with it. I added belt loops and made it shorter than the last one. The original plan was to put the pocket on the front but I just couldn’t find the repeat in the dot pattern so it wouldn’t have blended in, then I just got over it and left it off.

The fabric is beautiful. It is a stretchy cotton with a lovely woven texture, medium thickness but good drape. A surprising find at a suburban fabric store (Russell’s Fabrics at Sandgate). It was a bit more than I usually pay for fabric ($30p/m) but the quality is worth it. 

The sewing came together pretty easily as there is nothing complicated about this at all. It looks super neat on the inside with it’s French seams on the sides and double fold hems and front edges. The pattern is a vintage find – picture below.

My sewing pace, and therefore blogging, has slowed dramatically these last couple of months which I’m very sad about. I have a lot of other things that I really need to prioritise. When I think back to the height of my sewing frenzy earlier this year I wonder how I managed to find so many hours in the week to sew. What else must I have been ignoring? The dishes in the sink and money making activities for a start!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Singlet upgrade




I’ve got a real fondness for singlets as I really dislike wearing any sort of sleeve in summer. I never bother sewing them as they are too easy to buy but lately I haven’t found any interesting ones. So in an attempt to make a singlet more interesting I added this lace to the front. It actually took longer than I expected as it really needed to be hand basted on first.

You might recognise the skirt I’m wearing in the top photo as being my latest favourite wrap skirt. It did turn out to be the perfect travel skirt as I had hoped. It didn’t crease even when I stuffed it into bags and long enough for conservative Malaysia.

Yes we went to Singapore and Malaysia for about two weeks to visit my sister-in-law. What a crazy city! A weird mix of Western and Eastern. Almost like a Western country that is mostly populated with Asian people. I loved the architecture. They have some of the funkiest contemporary buildings I’ve seen. All the people I met were lovely and strangers on the street were so helpful, even using their phone apps to point me in the right direction.

It is incredibly noisy, polluted, and hot though. It was nice to come home and be able to sit on our veranda overlooking lots of greenery, a bright blue sky, clean air to breathe, and only the noise of rosellas and kookaburras in our big gum tree.  Here is a couple of photos of Singapore and Tioman Island in case you are interested.






Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flannel cushions – yes flannel


When I saw this fabric I knew it was just perfect for cushions I wanted to make. Lovely print and flannel. Flannel cushions!!! Why haven’t I gotten into this before? Probably because flannel is usually only sold in pajama style prints which doesn’t make for a stylish lounge room. 

These cushions aren’t actually for my house. I made them awhile ago as a present for my sister-in-law and can only blog about them now that she has them. 

Pretty simple to make so not much else to say about them. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Brisbane sewing meet up

ImageOn Sunday a few sewing ladies met up for the first time at the Brisbane Marriott and very much enjoyed chatting, nibbling daintily on high tea, and swapping sewing goodies.

It was great to put IRL faces to blogs and to now have the links to many other blogs 🙂

Everyone looked fabulous of course! So many gorgeous dresses.


ImageHere are the patterns and fabric I brought home. I’m thinking I will try and squeeze a dress out of the white and multi-colour fabric and some tops out of the black and white knit.

ImageThanks to Lizzie and Marjorie for organising! And thanks to everyone for making it such a great day.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Make-up bag


How is it that I don’t own a make-up bag already? 

With impending travel it was time to get sewing. I found this fabric at Spotlight ages ago and always intended it to be a make-up bag. It is a printed, woven cotton that has been covered in some sort of clear, waterproof stuff. Pink is not normally my thing but there was a limited selection of prints/colours. And anyway, I like to venture outside my usual colour favourites when I’m not going to actually wear the thing.

I decided to include a front pocket so as to have a separate section to put brushes. The main part is lined with the same fabric. I also decided to make it flat so that it will only take up as much space as what is inside it, rather than having body itself.

Don’t you just love the zipper pulls? They are my favourite thing for bags at the moment. To attach them you have to cut off the zipper pull already on the zip with some side cutters and then just clip in the new ones. 

Err… not much else to say about this. It was just a simple, quick make to serve a purpose. It just happens to be very cute while it serves its purpose. 


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Daytime ensemble for travel

black wrap skirt


A couple of years ago there was a Valentino exhibition in Brisbane. All the information sheets for the outfits said either “daytime ensemble” or “evening ensemble”. The phrase stuck, I love it, it sounds so grand, and now here is my modest ensemble. Two separates designed to wear together and to work with my shoes.

We are going travelling soon and the first thing I thought of was my wardrobe and how most of my clothes need ironing which would annoy me if I took them travelling. So to the sewing machine.




The top is actually just a purchased singlet that I added the ruffle thingy to. A quick way to make a top more interesting. The skirt is a wrap skirt and my very first vintage make. My guess from looking at the illustration is 70s. I found it in an op-shop ages ago and bought it for the novelty factor not thinking I would actually make it.

I’m so converted to wrap skirts now. No fitting! After just holding the paper pattern pieces up to my body I decided it didn’t need any alterations for fit. The only thing I changed was the length and the way the waistband secured. The pattern is for a D ring but I decided to make the waistband much longer and put in a buttonhole to put the tie through and a couple of belt loops to keep it all neat. Normally I wouldn’t go for the pocket but decided that actually it is pretty cool and handy.

It was so simple to sew up. Though the pattern instructions included unpicking! Since when is that a plan? Anyways, I know how to do it differently for next time now. And there is definately going to be a next time. For some reason I had no idea that a skirt sitting at my natural waist would suit me so well. Encouraged by this skirt I’ve already bought the most gorgeous, good quality, textured cotton in navy with large white dots.

This fabric is a polyester and viscose gabardine. Yes, I know that I’ve previously bagged this same gabardine but I realised that the problem is me, not the fabric. I was treating it like cotton and getting cranky that it didn’t behave. But after turning the heat down on the iron and not pressing like a fiend I’ve made friends with this fabric. Which is handy as my local fabric store always has heaps in stock in a huge range of colours. It is great for skirts/bottoms that hardly crease, dry quickly, and still manage to feel comfy like a cotton.

I bumped my husband’s shirt to make these outfits before we travel, but now that they’re finished I have no excuses but to go back to finishing his shirt. Sigh – I just want to make more things for me 😉

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments