The Fuchsia party dress

Ooh I am so excited to show off this dress to you, and even moreso because it has a great origin story!

Did you know there’s a new sewing, knitting, and jewellry-making social network in town – Kollabora? It’s from some of the people behind the original and I helped beta-test their new site a few months ago.

As a big Thank You for sending in tons of detailed bug reports (a nice side-effect of my day job, which involves a lot of online testing, is that I can write a mean Steps to Replication!), they offered to send me any fabric and pattern combo from their shop! They stock loads of great independent patterns like Colette, Wiksten, and Sewaholic, but I thought I should pick something I wouldn’t normally buy myself. So keeping that in mind, I chose this very! bright! fuchsia stretch cotton sateen from Mood + matching thread + Simplicity 1873 (one of the Cynthia Rowley designer patterns).

I made View C – the low neckline & short hem option, but without the button tabs at the waist. I ended up making size 14 instead of my usual Big Four size 16 because 14 was the biggest size in the envelope I was sent, but it turned out just perfect in the end – nicely snug at the waist, but not overly tight. With a skirt this full and pleated, I really think it needs a nipped-in waist, and that’s another reason I didn’t want to add any bulk in the form of the button tabs there, either.

One thing I hadn’t noticed until after I’d made my dress is that Oona (she of Kalkatroona and I can play twins! She also made this pattern in this fabric! Just get over here to London already, and we’ll take our party dresses out of the town, okay girl?

The neckline isn’t as low as it looks on the envelope cover (I could easily go lower), but the skirt hem really is as high as it looks in the photo, eep! I made the hem as shallow as humanly possible, which mean using a lace tape I bought off eBay and hand-stitching that instead of pressing it under and topstitching like in the instructions.

It does make for a lovely hem though:

The instructions were surprisingly sane, offering a good method for lining the bodice, but overall, this pattern was lacking in any real designer touches, in my opinion. I mean, it’s a nice, well-proportioned dress, but it’s lacking the oomph of the Vogue designer patterns I’ve sewn.

Hello there, marathon legs! I knew all that running would pay off eventually (yes, I also have been sewing more lycra over the weekend, too…).

I lined with black, lightweight satin which was a gift from Claire. There’s just something so 1950s about hot pink and black, but I thought it was a nice combo and meant I could shop my stash!

The pattern doesn’t include facings so I opted to prickstitch the neckline and armhole edges for an added couture finish. Then the lining got severely caught in the zipper (twice!) while trying it on, so I had to go and prickstitch along the zipper edge, too. Triply couture.

The funny thing is, I hardly ever sew Big Four patterns anymore (for a variety of reasons), and when I do, it tends to be designer Vogues. So I went back and looked at the last time I sewed a Simplicity pattern, and here it was I haven’t sewn a Simplicity pattern since January 2010, and even then it was heavily modified!

Now I just need a party to wear this to (not to mention appropriate heels – I can barely walk in the wedges worn here). It’s certainly not a dress for wallflowers, that’s for sure!

Ooh – everything’s 30% off in the Kollabora store right now, too! Not that I’m enabling or anything…

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