Peek at my Minerva party frock

Today I’m sharing a peek at the making of a dress for a special occasion: the Minerva Crafts meetup this weekend. As you’ve probably noticed by now (I’m one of the last!) all of us Minerva bloggers are showing a preview of our dresses before the big meetup party on Saturday night, and will share the finished frocks after this weekend. You can see the other bloggers’ previews here – I can’t wait to see them all in person.

My dress went through a ton of twists and turns before ending up nothing like I planned – in fact it’s not same project as I originally picked at all – but I’ve ended up with something that I REALLY love and can’t wait to show off.

Sooo, I won’t dwell too much on my first failed dress as the pain is still raw: it was supposed to be Simplicity 1876 in a really lovely satin-backed dupion, but everything that could do wrong, did. I really fancied the challenge of all the new techniques – boning, strapless, peplum skirts – but several ill-fitting toiles and an abandoned half-finished garment later, I decided it was a step too far, especially with the time pressure added in. Plus, I realised I would never go for a flouncy, fitted style like that in RTW so even if I’d nailed the construction I don’t think I would have felt comfortable in it. Sadly, it was what we term a ‘wadder’.

In a bit of a panic, I emailed Vicki from Minerva to say I was ordering a brand new kit and could she rush it through – it showed up the very next day leaving me plenty of time to sew my next dress. I’d picked two new fabrics just in case I didn’t like one in person, but they both turned out to be gorgeous so I wavered for a while on which to use. In the end I went for the cheaper one just in case I needed to call it a toile and use the reserve fabric as well – but I ended up loving it just as it was!


While I really needed this second try to work out for me, I still wanted a challenge and something that would look impressive at the party. So I went for something that was at the far bounds of my comfort zone, but much more ‘me’ style- and silhouette-wise. Here’s a little mood board I put together based on some lovely frocks from ASOS (I’m especially obsessed with that Markus Lupfer one; memo to self to make a rub-off). I find looking at RTW clothing online a really useful way to help me decide what to sew: if I wouldn’t buy a certain style or print in RTW I know that a similar sewing project will likely not get much wear either. From my mood board I noticed several key style elements cropping up – neckline asymmetry, directional draping/pleats, waistline blousiness, digital prints – and tried to base my project on similar elements.

Juuust some little peeks at my finished dress for now! Luckily the construction went really smoothly this time. This pattern I chose is ingeniously drafted and it was incredibly fun to sew. And the fabric is just gorgeous and brilliant to work with! I’ll share a bit more about all the making process in my next post.

Perhaps you can do some detective work to figure out which Minerva fabric and Big 4 pattern I ended up using. Hint: here’s Angelina Jolie in a very similar style by the same designer…

So, I do have something to go to the ball in, even if it isn’t at all what I originally had in mind. Check back after this weekend for the reveal of the finished dress, and if you’re coming to the meetup I can’t wait to see you there. I’m so excited to shop the Minerva fabric cave in person, it’s going to be a blast.

8 thoughts on “Peek at my Minerva party frock

  1. AvatarSam

    I can’t wait to see your dress (and meet you of course! ) on Saturday. It looks gorgeous from the sneaky peeks you’ve shown here.

  2. AvatarAmy Beeton

    Sorry you r dress didn’t turn out as planned. i always find I learn loads from my mistakes, so in that aspect it’s not a total waste of time. Your 2nd dreaa looks fab! hope you enjoy yourself at the minerva day x

  3. AvatarMelanie

    Oooooh, another great London event! I wish I was living in London…such a great sewing community there (and looks like you have some great fabric shopping too)! Enjoy the party…looking forward to the “big reveal”.

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