Bombshell (Part 1)


F1309_2-vintage-style-mother-of-the-bride-dressJust look at it!  Possibly the most perfect dress ever created.  Unfortunately I cannot take credit for it, it isn’t one of mine.  It is a creation of the fabulous Whirling Turban who make the most beautiful, vintage styled clothes ever!  Unfortunately they are a little out of my price range but one day……..

It’s the neckline that I love most, so I have set about making something similar.  It is going to take a while, but all good things come to those who wait.

My starting point is from Butterick B5814 by GertieBombshell starting point

I appreciate that this may not look that much like the dress above but when you look at the construction it is an excellent place to start, and a damn fine dress in its own right!

Having read some reviews on one of my favourite sites, Pattern Review, I decided that a muslin was a must.  In most modern patterns I am a size 14 on top, increasing to a 16 for the waist or hips depending upon the style.  The reviews had said that this pattern is a snug fit, and having read the finished measurements I decided to go 16 all the way.



2014-03-24 003The muslin was not impressive.  It didn’t excite me and needed tucks here, and adjustments there.  The shoulder adjustment was expected as I have slightly narrow shoulders, and Gertie has done a whole tutorial and making this adjustment.  I needed to also do a toil for the skirt to see how low the top came.  So I made the skirt and then couldn’t find where I had put the top!  House turned upside down, I even remember vaguely thinking to myself that I shouldn’t put it there as I’d never find it again!  Anyway, I haven’t and as I knew it didn’t fit I had to do it again.  Given that it had seemed quite large, I decided to try the 14 so did it again.  Please excuse the fabrics – curtain lining skirt and son’s quilt cut offs for the top.The ugly fabrics did show me something though – how nice it was to have the stripes running down the left hand front side – just a lucky cut as the lower left front is a separate section.

The fabric I had chosen from my stash as a first attempt is a rather loud floral cotton.  My only concern is that given the details within the dress, it might become too busy, but I am going to try and match the pattern in some of the most eye catching places to reduce this issue as much as possible.  I am considering it to be a wearable muslin but hoping it will be fabulous.

It has been a slow process – most of the pieces were cut out separately as it is asymmetric and also to pattern match as much as possible.  I haven’t used boning since the early 90’s and managed to sew the first piece in the wrong way round.  I unpicked it, then sewed it in the wrong way round again!  Luckily the third time was a charm.

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Gorgeous but a little too revealing!

The dress is fully lined/interlined and has, in my opinion, been quite fiddly, but gorgeous takes time and effort.  I was delighted with the final result upon first try on.  Unfortunately, upon wearing it (around the house) I have discovered that it is too low/short in the bodice for me.  It is supposed to be a low dress and I was prepared for that and, in a snap shot it is fabulously saucy!  But when I pull the waist down to my natural waistline, it gets a little too low and shows my bra.  I deliberately added the skirt to the muslin to check if it would be decent, but didn’t face it.  That 1.5cm seam allowance can make all the difference.  My plan is to separate the bodice and the skirt and insert a ‘belt’ panel, possibly in red if I can find a good match.

This was never expected to be a one attempt wonder, I am glad that, once altered, it will be a fabulous dress, and one step along the road towards the dress of my dreams!

TO BE CONTINUED…………………………….


red roses


2014-08-09 006I bought this fabric a couple of years ago to make a dress for my sister’s wedding, but couldn’t decide what to make with it so it sat in my stash until I found a dress that I thought would be perfect for it.  It is a fairly heavy weight printed cotton with a slight stretch.

When I finished my ‘Playclothes Captain‘ dress I thought that I had finally found the perfect dress after a two year wait.  I love that dress so very much, especially as it feels so weighty and wanted something in a more summery fabric, which this is, but it retains the weight due to the fabric.

The bodice is based on the bodice from Butterick 5603, with the scooped out neckline from the previous dress, and the skirt from Butterick 5813.  I did add an inch to the length of the bodice, just for comfort.  In addition, when I attached the skirt I wanted one from each set of pleats to line up with the bodice darts, so I moved them outwards slightly.  I felt that this made the flat section at the front too wide, so redid this, having the outer pleat in line with the dart and felt that this looked much better.

2014-08-09 020I wanted this dress to have some schwoosh factor, and had finally managed to source some horsehair braid.  I have been desperately trying to find some since I read about it on Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing a couple of months ago.  This is a tape, originally made from horsehair but now generally synthetic.  It comes in different widths and weights, stiffer ones can be used to make hats and fascinators.  It can add weight and stiffness to a hem and I wanted to try it rather than having a full underskirt which feels a little dressy for everyday wear to me.

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The secret to finding it in the UK is knowing its other name, crinoline tape, or crin tape.  I got mine from Sew Curvy.  They only do the one weight/width, and I would say it is on the firm side, but it suited this dress perfectly.  This is my first attempt with crinoline tape, but I am really pleased with the result.  .

Thanks to my photographer, Logan.

Thanks to my photographer, Logan.