Devon Treadtales and The Dress Makers Ball By Angela Best

It’s that time of year again - when the weather is turning, and summer is becoming a bit of a distant memory.   It can only mean one thing . . . Party season is upon us!!! 

    I’ve wanted to make a “special” dress for some time, and in fact I had bought a pattern several years ago - pre Covid, to make a dress for a Frocktail party that was going to be held at Make, before Covid finally put a stop to any gatherings!    

    Jump forward a few years, and the opportunity arose again to make a dress and go to the Dress Makers Ball in Leicester.   I dug this pattern out, and tried desperately to think of what fabric would suit it.   The Vogue V9252 has a fitted, lined bodice, and full skirt that is dipped at the back.   Because if this dipped feature, I thought that a contrast from the inner and outer fabric would be great.   

     So when Lizzy started selling Studio Walking Talkie Jacquard fabric, my brain went into overdrive!!!! Make at 140 stock 8 varieties of this fabric, they are all a mid weight, with good drape, each in a different variety of colours, like the monochrome I have used here, greens, blues, Orange and cream and more.  They also feature a metallic thread that runs through the fabric.   This colour way that I have chosen features a beautiful geometric leaf in black and white with a gold metallic thread.   Absolutely perfect for a winter party dress - and it’s reversible!!!

    This fabric is fairly stable, but I didn’t want to take any chances, and so I overlocked the cut edges of this fabric prior to washing it.   I washed it on a 30 wash, and a gentle spin (this was for my own piece of mind, but in fact I think that it would have been fine on a normal spin cycle) Left it to air dry and ironed it ready for my project.  It washed beautifully, lost no colour and little to no shrinkage. As this is Jacquard fabric, you will notice that it tends to look like it has shrunk into the pattern after being washed, however, as you iron it, it restores its size and shape.   

     So - onto the pattern.   I chose my size according to my body measurements.   I made a toile of the bodice only, from some fabric similar in weight to the jacquard, and I am very glad that I did.   The fit was way off.   This is always the longest and most laborious part of any project, but I can not emphasise enough how, especially when making a fairly fitted garment, that this step is essential!   I made the Toile including zip, I turned the garment inside out, put it on again, and pinned the places that needed adjusting.   This was mainly around the bust and under the armpit area.   I re drew out my pattern pieces again with these adjustments, and made a second toile.   The fit was better but still not quite right.  I made further tweaks, and felt confident that this time it would more than likely be ok, so I made a third toile, but this time with the added lining.   

     Getting to this point, and knowing that the pattern fitted me well meant that once I cut out the “actual” fabric, sewing it together was quick and straight forward.   I did not toile the skirt section as it had so much flare, I knew that it would be plenty big enough over my hips.

       I used the jacquard for the main dress, a plain black thin cotton for the lining of he bodice, and black ribbon to make the straps, as the main fabric would have been far to think to make these.   I  kept the black side on the outer, and the underside of the dipped skirt showing in the white.   Prior to cutting the fabric, I did debate doing it the other way around, but I am glad I kept it this way.    I just sewed the garment together with a straight stitch, and used white thread on my overlocker to overlock the seams together.

       Lastly, I was unsure what to do with regards to hemming.   I didn’t want the hem to look obvious on the reverse as it would be on show.   After a bit of experimenting, I finally decided on overlocking the bottom edge with black thread, and then simply turned the hem in by the width of the overlooking only, and stitched into place.

       I am so delighted with this dress, and overall finish.   I felt amazing in it, it is so swishy!!!   Annnnddd. . . .it has pockets!!!!! Enough said! 


      Thanks for reading 😊

      Angela x

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