Icy winter wedding frock

Self-draft dress

Classic sewist situation: a family wedding at the weekend with people who know I sew and will definitely ask if I’m wearing a me-made… so naturally a new frock was called for, since I don’t have a stock of fancy frosting dresses to pull out for special occasions. I didn’t have much time to make something, so stuck with an easy but statement fabric and guaranteed fit by using my block with minimal adjustments.

Self-draft dress

As it turned out I nearly didn’t make it to the wedding at all due to a suspected case of norovirus (which was luckily a false alarm) though I was feeling decidedly peaky all day anyway, hence these rather rushed photos and my sallow face. Shame as the wedding was set in beautiful grounds and it was a nice day for mid-December.

Here’s what I did to my block to make this dress:

soft pleat dress

1. Rotated the shoulder darts into the waist darts on the front bodice. Cut the front and back bodice with about 1″ extra ease at the side seam.

2. Cut the skirt front and back with about 1″ extra ease at the side seam too, tapering out to about 3″ extra at the hem for a gentle A-line.

3. Instead of sewing all the darts as normal I just folded and stitched them down between the notches as soft pleats, all tucked towards the centre. Easy!

Self-draft dress

Since the dart placement already matched on my skirt and bodice block, the pleats match up nicely too.

Self-draft dress

The fabric is lovely stuff that I bought as a 1.75m remnant at El Palacio de las Telas in Mexico; I’m not sure if it has a bit of silk in or it’s all synthetic. It was drapey enough for the soft pleats yet sturdy enough to be fairly easy to work with, and didn’t require lining which saved a bit more time. I didn’t have loads of spare fabric to play with but tried to do a cool print placement on the front at least, with the dark area concentrated in the centre.

Self-draft dress

It’s got a mix of serged and French seams, a side invisible zip, and blind hems on the hem and sleeves. The bias-faced neckline is slipstitched down by hand.

Self-draft dress

This dress was supremely comfortable to wear, due to the good fit and little extra ease I added. Definitely a frock I can roll out again for other occasions, and I may use the same pattern again in a more casual fabric for a day dress.

20 thoughts on “Icy winter wedding frock

  1. Lizzy

    Aw, I’m sorry you’ve been unwell – I hope you’re feeling better now. I always love your dresses, you have such an elegant style and this fabric is beautiful. Having the basic dress blocks seems like such a canny idea, I think this might have to be my next drafting project!

  2. Katie

    Such a pretty dress!! I love that you were able to use your block to whip up something new! I’m doing Camp Workroom Social in October (so far away!), and I’m super excited to learn how to make my own block during it – so I can do the same type of thing!

    1. Katie Post author

      I’d love to try marbling some fabric, I wonder if it’s possible. I did make the wedding, just not for long!

  3. Barbara

    Lovely outfit and the toning tights and shoes make it even more elegant. I hope you have completely recovered now.

    1. Katie Post author

      Thank you, I was quite pleased to find well-matching tights and shoes! Feeling much better now thank you.

  4. lisa g.

    I hope you’re feeling better now, those stomach bugs can sure wreak havoc! I love the design of this dress; the soft pleats are very flattering and a great detail. I’ve been coming to terms that I should probably get to making a block to draft from. It looks like such a useful thing to have!

    1. Katie Post author

      I’m on the mend! Fingers crossed that’s the worst of it for the holiday period. I definitely encourage you to get your blocks made, self-drafting is great if you need either quick win, or to have some fun and experiment with design…

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