Hello and Happy Nearly Christmas to you all!
If you are a sewist on Instagram, you can’t have failed to have noticed that the Little Red Dress Project is back this December. This challenge started in 2016, and this year, Rosa from Rosabella Angelica and Renata from Running in Style are hosting.
The idea is that you sew a red dress and do the reveal on Instagram between 17th and 24th December.
I didn’t take part previously, but this year, I had a dress to make for the New Craft House Winter Party so I thought I would combine the two.
Normally, I am a dive right in kind of gal. I rarely make a toile and just fit as I go. However, as I don’t make many party dresses any more, and wanted this one to be a real labour of love, I spent quite a lot of time on preparation.
I liked the look of the By Hand London Flora dress, so made a toile of the bodice out of some old pillowcases. It really didn’t work for my figure and would have needed a lot of fit adjustments, so I abandoned that one in favour of the By Hand London Anna dress.
Initially, I did think that I would mix the Anna bodice with the Flora skirt to create a Floranna mash up. I made a toile of that and I really loved it as the skirt is much fuller and more twirlable (!) than the Anna skirt. But, after watching an episode of Mad Men where Peggy has a navy dress with the most amazing red godets, I came up with the idea of adding godets to the Anna to give that extra fullness. And not just any godets, sequinned ones!!
I bought some stunning deep red satin from Barry’s in Birmingham when I was up there for Sew Brum. I bought the red sequins and lining fabric from Fabricland.
As with my Liberty Anna, I decided to fully line it, especially as I didn’t want the sequins to irritate my skin. I didn’t add the godets to the lining skirt, as I didn’t think that would be necessary.
The godets were a bit of trial and error, I ended up making them a bit smaller in the end as I preferred how that looked.
I usually love a dress with pockets but decided not to add them to this one, as I didn’t want to ruin the line of the dress and the satin showed every single thing so they would have really shown through.
The sequinned fabric was really good to me – I just sewed it up on my normal machine and I even managed to overlock the edges, with only one broken needle to show for it! I know you are normally advised against overlocking sequins, but as I was only finishing the edges in a single layer, I went for it and it paid off!
As an extra flourish and to add a bit of detail to the bodice, I added some sparkly beads, which I painstakingly hand stitched. The plan was to add quite a lot of them cascading down from the shoulders, however, when the four rows that I did manage took about 3 hours, I decided to call it quits then!
I had to be really precise with my stitching as the plain fabric was not very forgiving. I also decided not to hand hem, as even the tiniest of slip stitches would have created a pull on the outside, so I used bias trim and then folded it under and machine stitched. It is visible but it almost gives the effect of a horse hair braid hem.
I am glad that I took my time and I am really pleased with the overall dress.
As an added extra for the New Craft House party, I also made myself a fake fur stole and a silver pleather clutch bag. I will do a separate post on those as I am aware that I have gone on quite a bit here!
I can’t wait to see what everyone else has made!