The Perfect Dress

Strong words, I know. But it was my first reaction when I tried this dress on.


It started with some rather bossy fabric:




The photos don’t do it justice – it’s deep black, and rich browns, with gold highlights.

I was in Spotlight, at a 40% off sale. I’d already found one fabric (used to make my blue dress) but was having a nosy to see if anything else caught my eye, when I came across this. It spoke to me, and told me it’d make a perfect New Look 6094/6457 hybrid. I tried to walk away, I really did, but it called me back and didn’t let me leave. In the end, since there was very little left on the bolt, I decided to leave it up to fate – if there was enough for a dress I would buy it. If there wasn’t I could leave knowing at least it wasn’t MY fault that this beautiful dress would not happen.

As it turned out, there was 1.85m of the fabric – only barely enough, but I bought it as I hoped I could squeeze something out of it. It then got put on  hold for a few months – I made the blue dress up first, as I was a little dubious about other people’s reactions to this fabric, much as I loved it myself (I mean, plaid AND paisley AND floral? And sparkly to boot? It’s awesome, but… a little ridiculous). And then I didn’t make this one after, because I was trying to save some sewing to do when I got back to uni (hah, like I needed to save it. I’ve bought 5 dress-worths of fabric since coming back to uni, and only sewed up 2). And then I bought new fabric (see previous statement) and made up those dresses. This one finally came back up when I realised that if I ended up going to a party in May, I would not have anything me-made to wear, and this was the most party-like dress I had the fabric for. (It turns out I am going to a party next week – but as it’s a costume party, I still have to work out what me-mades I can wear…) I cut the fabric on Monday, and sewed it between Thursday and Saturday, including hand-sewing the zip (I tried to study on Saturday, I really did, but the fabric was far too bossy and I couldn’t think about anything other than the dress. I ended up doing my readings for the week while I was doing the hand-sewing, so I did get at least a wee bit of work done).

And here it is:


That is the face of someone who has sewn something perfect and knows it.

The fit is wonderful (it looks less good in this photo. Not sure why. It’s actually amazing – just enough space to fit a warm top underneath, which is rather necessary for it to be worn in Dunedin). The previous dress I sewed with this pattern had a gaping neck, and I guessed how much I needed to take out to sort that, and it’s just right. I also hadn’t transferred the adjustments I made to the darts and side seams to make it fit at the waist to the pattern, so I guessed that as well, and it fits even better than that one.


The pleats worked perfectly. The skirt pattern is actually gathered, so I made up the pleats, and they match up perfectly with the seams/darts on the bodice, and are even on the two sides.

The facing worked. This is a revelation – I had to resew parts of it three times to get a nice finish, and at this point was swearing I’d never make the pattern again, but it has worked out pretty well.

All seams are finished. I pinked everything, and it makes me feel a lot happier about a garment to know the insides look good too.

I have the accessories to go with it – a couple of choices of gold earrings, or a copper/black pair, and then basic black cardi, tights and shoes and the gold belt, to tone it down a wee bit. I can wear it without the belt, but I think it looks better with it.


I really am radiantly ecstatic with this, hence the excessive smiles in the photos.


This is definitely a new staple in my wardrobe. Although I do worry I’ll spend all day moving slightly to watch it sparkle. I went over to my friends’ flat to show it to them yesterday, and then sat around chatting for a couple of hours, but I would periodically disappear from the conversation to admire my dress and make it sparkle, because it’s exciting.

(my fabric choice was validated by one of them, who said “that is wonderful. I would wear that in a waistcoat.” Part of me wants to test this by making him a waistcoat out of it for his birthday…)

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Dress

  1. You’re right! It IS perfect! I love this design in both this fancy fabric and in the blue. Isn’t it wonderful when you can make something that makes you smile like that? Looking forward to seeing your next success!

      • We have to learn to go with our instincts! I have a couple of dresses like that — I second guessed myself wondering if it was too bright or too big a print – and then it turned out to be one of the best ever. You’ve got good taste in fabric, so trust it!!!

  2. I am learning to trust my instincts. In fact, I’m hunting down more ridiculously awesome fabrics – I’ve discovered I really am happier the brighter or bigger the print is! I really love the fabric in your latest dress, actually, I’d like to have some just like it.

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