Gold silk Eclair dress (and bonus purple bow tie!)

Sorry for the delay – I finished the Colette Patterns “Eclair” dress last week but couldn’t quite squeeze in a photoshoot until we were actually at the wedding venue on Saturday (the very nice London Canal Museum in King’s Cross. Though all the tiny canal boats made me feel like the 50 Foot Woman in comparison!).

If you recall from the previous post describing the invisible zipper details, I’m making this newly released dress pattern in gold silk crepe, with aubergine silk crepe ties and gold silk habotai lining.

I was a beta-tester for this new pattern company, so mine was only a rough photocopied draft, but it was enough for me to see that this is a definite keeper! I’m really jealous now after seeing the finished storybook packaging that I almost want to buy it again, just to have a pattern as beautiful as the dress itself!

The lovely thing about using all lightweight silk is that it moved with even the merest breath of wind, and made the most fantastic rustling noise. You can see some of the movement below, though you’ll have to rustle for yourself…

It also meant that the skirt almost took on a ballerina feel, and nicely reduced the amount of bulk that could’ve been at the waist seam with the huge amount of gathered fabric joined there. The only changes I made to the pattern were to include boning in the bodice – I find this is key to stability in strapless or halter dresses (like the Porsche dress). So I inserted boning into the two back seams and the under-bust portion of the two front seams. I figured that’d be enough to keep it all up without having to deal with boning interfering with the invisible zipper on the side seam, and it was. I’m told that optional boning instructions have been added into the final copy that’s on sale now!

The other change was just a purely personal one – I have massive problems getting in and out of dresses with side zippers where the dress is still connected at the top and bottom, so I shifted the zipper up here so that the dress fully opens at the top, adding a hook and eye at the top of the zipper as an insurance policy.

James had already decided, independent of my dress plans, to wear his Ted Baker tux to the wedding and was mentioning that he just had to buy a shirt and bow tie, when I piped up that I’d make him one to match! So I grabbed the free David bow tie pattern from BurdaStyle and made his from extra aubergine silk crepe leftover from my waist ties (with the last scrap of it going in his pocket!).

My own personal stroke of genius here was to use the metal sliders from an old bra instead of going out and buying the sliders suggested in the pattern, so it ended up being a free project! The other change was that I used very lightweight interfacing on the entire bow tie, and cut it on the grain despite the bias instructions (just because I was dealing with scraps).

In all, I think the bow tie took about 5 minutes to sew and press, though I’m not about to divulge how long it took to actually tie the *&£^$@^% thing! Let’s just say that we were running around the moorings, ten minutes after we should’ve been at the venue, shouting “does anyone know how to tie a bow tie??” after dismal YouTube failure (not that there aren’t a million bow tie tying videos, more like that they’re all very vague about the tightening bit!).

But emergency cabs and spare shoes prevailed, and we cleaned up alright:

As the night progressed, everyone involved drank far too much wine, danced wildly with flailing arms, and screamed along with Duran Duran. Like you should at a wedding!

And the dress performed magically well – no shifting, no pulling, no “unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions”, nothing. As far as strapless dresses go, this one was more than secure enough to stand up with my crazed dancing techniques, and I think that’s mostly down to the great fit. I think if this were only released two months earlier, it could’ve been the most perfect prom dress ever, young things!

So under the pretext of showing you the bow tie opened up, and also that the dress was still looking good at 1am, here’s the “oh dear very drunk” set:

(Sorry Leslie!)

And I had the mother of all hangovers yesterday. But I wouldn’t change anything, including wearing my most beautiful, but dangerous, brocade wedges, but above all else, being able to share in the wedding of one of my best friends and his utterly perfect match when even a month ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to. So here’s to Iain and Steve, who make me glad we’ve got an extra year to plan our wedding now, because we’re going to need that time to try and top theirs!

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