Lady In Red

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight,
I’ve never seen you shine so bright,
I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance,
They’re looking for a little romance, given half a chance…

Believe you me,  in the bleak, grey light of a winter morning (when these photos were taken) there were no invitations to do the pasodoble. ‘I’ve got to leave in ten minutes,’ my boyfriend mumbled as he peered into the viewfinder.

So, what do you reckon? The V1183 is finished! Mum and my boyfriend have both repeatedly asked me if I’m happy with the dress. This means either

a) they think something is wrong with it, but are too scared to say so


b) they’re bracing themselves for the fall out if I’m not happy.

But, I’m happy. I really am. After a first attempt, a muslin (toile, Karen, toile!) I finally gathered the confidence to cut into the red cashmere, and doesn’t it work up a dream?  I still love it and have enough left over for a make of something else. All of that top stitching and edge stitching gives a brilliant finish.

This pattern is rated ‘Easy’ and I’ve read other Sewists exclaim over how simple this is to put together. Erm….. Not for me. Because of the clean silhouette, you want a really good fit. Not easy straight out of the packet for most of us. It’s fully lined – a first for me on a dress – and it was my first attempt at a centred lapped hand-picked zipper:

Can you spot the deliberate mistake?

As you can see, I couldn’t quite get the midriff sections to meet squarely at the zipper. So what? There are approximately one million different seams on this dress that I did get to match up accurately, so I’m not going to beat myself up. I tried, I failed, move on.

Other thoughts on this dress?

  • Make a toile. Definitely make a toile.
  • I’ve been peering at other versions of this dress, and I suspect that deep midriff section is a challenge for more people than me. (If you recall, I had to shave some of the depth off, following your wonderful suggestions.) A design flaw? Wash your mouth out, Karen!
  • Like every other Sewist on the planet, I found that the overlapping front bodice sections needed sewing closed. Otherwise, the rest of the world would be tortured by a very good view of my underwear. On which point:
  • Wear a good bra!

On to other matters.

Look at this gorgeous lining:

And this sumptuous shot:

What the *@$*!

Learn from my mistakes. Do NOT have a seam ripper on the sofa next to you when you’re all relaxed and doing some hand sewing in front of the telly. As I inserted my zipper, the dress lining caught on the seam ripper. I didn’t notice, until something (the tug of a blade tearing through fabric?) made me look up and a neat little hole had been created in my lining. Weep? No, I didn’t actually. But, hell’s teeth!

Inspecting the nail varnish – very important task

I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved on this dress, but it taught me that I’m nearing the limits of what I can manage alone. I need a teacher. So on the back of the V1183, I’ve signed up for a Clothes Making course at Morley College starting in January. I. Can. Not. Wait. We each have to take a pattern to work on during the evening lessons. I think I need something that’s going to make me try new techniques, challenge me and need a toile. Any suggestions? I have a totally open (empty?) mind!

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32 Responses to Lady In Red

  1. Elizabeth says:

    It looks beautiful!!!! I love that shade of red on you. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you made a fully lined dress for chrissake! Enjoy! And I can totally relate to the seam ripper on the couch mistake, unfortunately! Enjoy your classes!

  2. Roisin says:

    So beautiful, and you’ve done that gorgeous fabric justice! I love the way the top stitching gives it such a finished look. Well done you!

  3. Jessica says:

    Your dress is truly gorgeous! All the extra steps you took (muslim, handstitching, topstitching, using nice materials) really shows. It looks gorgeous on you and I love the way you styled it (fabulous jewelry).

  4. Karin says:

    I love the shade of red too! After all that trouble I think you got a terriffic result. A proper sewing class sounds like a wonderful thing. I’d get help making a TNT pattern for trousers.

  5. Sharon says:

    It’s beautiful! That color red is gorgeous. I sewed this in red also, but yours is a much richer red. Don’t worry about those minor things like the seam ripper incident. I’ve done that before along with many, many other oopsies. Great job!

  6. Debi says:

    I LOVE the dress! It is so classy and chic! It’s really fabulous–you did a great job! Perfect for the holidays.

  7. Jane says:

    Very stylish, gorgeous dress, love the brooch too – and the nail varnish! I did exactly the same thing last week with a seam ripper on my last buttonhole, it slashed right through the buttonhole and into the skirt. Unlike your brave self I DID cry!

  8. Kat says:

    I think it looks stunning! Its a great colour. Well done!

  9. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments. I’ve had a stressful week, so really nice to get the feedback. Thanks, guys!

  10. Lysy says:

    It (and you!) look absolutely beautiful! I’m so impressed with all the lovely finishes you put to it. The dressmaking course sounds like a fantastic idea!

  11. Aldara says:

    Oooh, what a lovely dress! And so beautiful with the accessoires! Do report about the dressmaking classes, maybe we readers can learn from them, too…

  12. Roobeedoo says:

    Oh wow! Your post title says it all – is really is very “lady-like”! You could wear that to the poshest of occasions and not look out of place! From where I am sitting, the fit is great – very flattering over the tummy and sits at a good place under the arms – not too high, not too low. As for bras – I am slowly realising that a lady needs more than one for varying degrees of… err… up-lift … to suit different dress shapes! And in fear of peek-age!
    Morley College – woo hoo! I did a soft sculpture course there and it was brilliant!

  13. Rita says:

    This dress is just absolutely lovely!! The color, the fit, everything looks just perfect on you. What a fantastic job and fully lined! The course sounds very interesting.

  14. Helen says:

    It’s a really beautiful dress – you did a great job! Unfortunately I can relate on the seam ripper – except in my case I was happily snipping threads and cut right through the fashion fabric on the centre front of a top I wanted to wear the next day. I think I was up til 2am taking the whole thing apart and starting again!

  15. Tilly says:

    Karen, this is beauuuuuuuuuutiful! Good work you! I hope you’re feeling suitably smug. Gosh, that looks like a lot of seams – not an easy pattern at all!

  16. I’m so inspired! I admire your bravery – buying such special fabric & then being able to cut into it! You have made such a beautiful dress – its fit, its lining – you look gorgeous!

  17. superheidi says:

    I’ll take my hat off! Honestly, if only I could work as neat precise like you do…

  18. zoe says:

    Wow! Your dress is gorgeous and suits you very very well. Good fabric choice and excellent job putting it together. I am very jealous of you signing up for classes – have just had a look at the website – it looks great. I, like you, am entirely self taught and to just have the ability to ask someone questions sometimes would be really good – no amount of research in books and on-line can beat talking to someone who knows what they are doing. If I were you I think I would pick up a pattern for a tailored, lined pair of trousers to do at the classes.

  19. Lindsay says:

    The courses avialable at the college look very good. You’re very lucky to have such a choice of courses! If I were you I would chose something that makes you feel a little out of your comfort zone and it should be something you would aspire to be able to make – for me this would be a coat or a tailored jacket. Whatever you chose, have fun!

  20. The great care you took in making muslins resulted in a beautifully fitting dress. It is gorgeous on you.

  21. Marcia says:

    Stunning dress. Sewing such a beautiful fabric can be very daunting. As a sewing instructor I was wondering, did you line or underline? If it is lined, I recommend heming the lining and heming the dress separately for less imprint. No matter what, wear and enjoy. Good luck with your class

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