I did not sew this dress

I finished my birthday dress yesterday, so it just needs a final pressing and photoshoot this weekend before you get to see it on Wednesday! But in the absence of pretty green silk photos to coo over, I thought I’d do something different and share some photos of this amazing RTW dress I bought recently.

I bought this dress (now sold out) from AX Paris for an absolutely astounding £20! By the time I got to it, most of the sizes were sold out, so I took a chance and bought my pre-illness size with the thought that it’d be a fantastic goal dress later this summer. To my surprise, I was able to get into it and get the zipper up, but it was not pretty without the girl’s best friend, Spanx, so you’ll get to see it on Susan instead (though as it turns out, Susan needs some Spanx, too, as I couldn’t get the zipper entirely closed on her!) –

That’s the front and back view of it there. It’s made of polyester/lycra blend crepe satin, but they’ve very cleverly used both the matte and shiny sides on those diagonal skirt panels to get some great contrast in the same colourway (make sure you click on all these photos to get a zoomed-in view, btw. The detail and craftsmanship is amazing here!)

The bodice has an angular folded, pleated piece of satin that extends from the waist all the way to to the tip of one shoulder, being topstitched in place at the waist end, and gradually coming free into its folds the further up it goes. It’s a one shoulder dress, with that pleating being supported by a strap on that side.

And here’s an inside-out view of it on the hanger, which is just as spectacular as the outside!

The inside is fully lined, with a separate hanging bodice lining that’s boned both in the front and back! Looking at the dress, I honestly have no idea how they could possibly have made a profit on it. The amount of pattern pieces, seam lines (all stitched, then topstitched through the seam allowances on either side of the seam!), folding, and pleating involve would’ve taken a huge amount of manhours to construct, and the only shortcut I can see here whatsoever is that the fibre is polyester rather than silk.

I thought perhaps that even if this didn’t fit, I’d use it as a pattern to make myself, but there’s no way I’d want to tackle sewing this as an exact copy! With garments like this, sometimes it’s best to just take one or two aspects of it to recreate elsewhere, and I think for me, the use of matte/shiny is something I’m going to store away for use elsewhere…

The funny thing is, just as I was contemplating the above, Sandra got in touch with me to share her idea of having a common place somewhere for all of us sewers to put these inspirations that we could put to use in our own work! I think it’s an utterly fantastic idea, especially we tend to notice different construction details than the rest of the shopping population. So I’ve set up an Inspirational Sewing Details flickr group in the hopes that all of you will place your own photos into it as you come across details that inspire you. I’m still in the process of scanning and uploading mine, so please add in your own and help it grow!

I’m off to Goldhawk Road again tomorrow to go fabric shopping with/for the bridesmaids, so wish me luck and restraint!

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