Made Up Initiative D Day

Vintage Vogue Collage

A month of fundraising with the Made Up Initiative. Over £2500 raised for the National Literacy Trust. More than 220 donations. And at least one dress sewn! We did it. Our original goal was to raise £1000, and we’ve smashed that.

Have you completed your Made Up pledge? If so, it’s really important to leave a link in the comments below or email me a photo, as per the outline in my original blog post. I am too feeble a human to rigorously track shares on other social media sites (much as I adore and appreciate them). So, if you want to guarantee your chance to win, you know what to do! You have until 11am GMT Saturday 12 September to add or email your make. Then, I’ll be pulling names from a hat – possibly in a live situation at our Made Up Meet Up.

For myself? I’ve managed to finish my Vogue 5098 in time for today’s deadline. It’s been a labour of love. Can you believe that this make came from my stash? The fabric was bought over four years ago on my very first trip to Mood Fabrics. I was a young and inexperienced Sewist at the time, so bought far too much of this brocade – enough for two dresses! The belt buckle was a gift from a reader. Forgive me, dear reader, can you remind me if it was you? It’s been used, at last.

belt detail

This was an intense make to a deadline. Two toiles, kimono sleeve gussets, a bound buttonhole, seven seams to match up at the waist… You get the drift. But I loved the journey. Well, until the very end when I arrived close to that intense hatred you develop for a dress you’ve loved sewing. Ever had that?

The finished make is significantly more flattering than I’d expected. I was concerned about those pleats around the tummy, but actually they work brilliantly. (You can sew them down, which helps with the silhouette.) I’m glad I chose to make the version sans collar – that would have been too much.


Brocade is lovely to work with but there isn’t a smidgin of give, so you really don’t want to over fit. The great detail about brocade is that it doesn’t need lining. All inside seams were overlocked. (A couture purist wouldn’t approve.) The skirt was pegged 1.5 inches at each side seam and shortened from the original pattern by a good 5 inches.

I am very happy with this dress. It was a lot of work. If I had to self-flagellate (and why not, this is a sewing blog after all) I wish I’d anticipated that front centre seam in the skirt and been a bit more canny with my pattern placement. But honestly, a rat’s arse I do not much give.

Thank goodness for the Made Up Initiative, which forced me to complete a project first mooted five months ago. Nothing like a rocket up your behind, eh? Have your rockets worked?

Thanks so much to everyone who took part; we’ve achieved something rather wonderful. If you haven’t already, I urge you to go visit the Justgiving page and read through the inspiring and touching pledges. Maybe make a donation whilst you’re there!

Even if you didn’t manage to complete your Made Up Make, you still have reason to be very proud, raising funds for the National Literacy Trust. Changing lives.

I’m made up to be Made Up. I hope you are, too.

vintage vogue ii

Don’t forget to come along to our Made Up Meet Up on Saturday 12 September – everyone is welcome! I may use this as an opportunity to off load patterns and fabric stash.

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87 Responses to Made Up Initiative D Day

  1. Melody A. says:

    I think you look absolutely stunning in your dress, and it certainly does look couture even if it does have overlocked seams. . Congratulations on your wonderful achievement. and thank you for encouraging all of us to take risks sewing that transfer over to life as well.

  2. kaitlynssimplyvintage says:

    This rocks. You look awesome in this. Great to see the final product

  3. Red W Sews says:

    This dress is amazing! And yes, the initiative did get me finishing something I would otherwise have given up on as being too hard. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have started it! So thank you and I’m so pleased you raised so much cash!

  4. Lorna Matty says:

    Hi Karen. I love your dress and you tell it was a labour of love. I have managed to make my items, but they are much simpler. I don’t have a blog (yet!) so I emailed you my efforts last night – so hope you received it. Regrettably I can’t make Saturday, but I am sure it will be a wonderful affair for a wonderful cause. Looking forward to more Made Up Initiatives…

  5. ooobop! says:

    This is stunning work, Karen. So darned sophisticated. I love the fabric and the style of the dress. You look amazing!!!! Know exactly what you mean about brocade and ease allowing. I made that mistake on my BHL Georgia! Will totally be there on Saturday in my totally not couture dress. Thank you for organising this. It was definitely a rocket much needed! xxx

  6. Rachel says:

    It is very fitting that this dress has turned out to be so elegant and flattering – mimicking the elegance of raising such a good total for a great cause. Well done indeed.

  7. JaneyB says:

    Absolutely gorgeous dress! Here’s the link to my slightly less glamorous make I’ll be there on Saturday. Thank you for organising this initiative!

  8. Nicola says:

    What’s the email address can’t find it please but I have finished my tulip skirt and did unpick and correct my little mistake so really happy with the result . I did post a picture #madeup on Instagram . And you look stunning in that dress

  9. Becca Porter says:

    Love how your dress turned out Karen. Very chic! The belt buckle is a really nice finishing touch.
    Very sad I can’t join you all on Saturday.I I have emailed my photos through though. Have a great time!

  10. Hannah Smith says:

    Your dress is amazing and it’s great to see how much money has been raised! Here’s a link to my completed project

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  12. stitchesoftime says:

    Brilliant Karen – I love the dress and the initiative has been a great success. Here is a link to my blog post with my finished ornament on it. Not a very large finish but have so many other projects on the go at the moment I wanted to pledge something that I could get done.

    Take care and thanks again for organising this.

  13. Jenna says:

    Congratulations on such a successful initiative! Your dress looks amazing, so elegant and flattering. Also, I love your shoes!!

    I have just blogged my finished quilt, thank you so much for giving me the push to finish it:

    Thank you for organising such a brilliant event.

  14. really beautiful karen! the fit is perfect. i just donated and didn’t make anything as my machines are packed away due to DIY (sewing room though – woo!) but i am looking forward to seeing what others have made.

  15. poldapop says:

    First, absolutely gorgeous dress – and very inspiring that the process took you only a month! Second, thank you for the rocket. As a lover of books, former reading teacher, and as a Yank who spent nine years living in England, this is a cause I could get behind. Lovely to be able to give back to stories and places that have shaped me. Third, my Made Up swimsuit is at Thank you, Karen!

  16. Christina says:

    Well done, you dress looks great!

  17. danvillegirl says:

    Your dress looks fantastic!!! Love your shoes as well!

  18. Very classy look! The dress is gorgeous and you look absolutely elegant! (And the buckle is perfection.)

  19. That style of dress really suits you. It’s amazing what a well fitting item can do for you. I’ve often found I can suit different styles now that I make stuff, just because they fit me properly. Wonderful job!

  20. nuala says:

    Well, I think rockets up the behind make for some great work done! Your dress is a beaut! And well done raising so much money x

  21. Caro says:

    Stunning. Well done.

  22. Janice says:

    Absolutely stunning! Beautiful color on you.

  23. S says:

    Congratulations on the success of this very worthy initiative! The length and shape of the sleeves on this dress are particularly flattering on you.

  24. Linda says:

    Gorgeous! Have fun at the meet up!

  25. tamsinwp says:

    Wow Karen! Stunning! I shall look forward to seeing you in it on Saturday!

  26. Stunning dress, the fabric is gorgeous and I love the style. You look amazing. Great shoes too. Looking forward to Saturday. I finished in time for the pledge too.

  27. Jane says:

    Karen, you look fab! I’m very envious of your growing collection of stunning cocktail dresses, I particularly like the vintage details on this one. Thank you for running the Made Up initiative – it’s been so cheering to see the sewing community get behind such a worthwhile cause. The amount you’ve raised will make a significant difference so I hope you’re proud of yourself my friend!
    I blogged about my finished blouse here: and would NEVER have made it without the rocket up the arse, so thank you once again! x

  28. absolutely smashing! and perfect hem length. great use of that fabric.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Karen, I believe I was with you when you bought that fabric!!! How exciting. It’s just gorgeous on you. I love the dress. Beautiful silhouette on you.

  30. Totally gutted I can’t make the #MadeUp meet up, but thank you SO much for the rocket up the behind, which has enabled me to feel part of a worthy cause and to finish a project bought for me last Christmas:

  31. Jacqueline says:

    Your dress is gorgeous. When I saw your original post, I was going to pledge to make an Aster blouse. I bought the material and everything. However, it is still unmade, and a skirt I made at least a month ago still needs a hem. Maybe if I’d put it in writing….. What is it they say about procrastination?

  32. amcclure2014 says:

    I love your dress. You must be proud of being behind such a great initiative! I’ve already emailed you and received an acknowledgement saying I was entered for draw. As my pledge was to redo my blocks for class, I didn’t email photo of bits of cardboard. Do you need one?

  33. Tasia says:

    Gorgeous dress. It’s beautiful and timeless and I’m sure you will treasure it always, especially now that it has such a wonderful purpose attached to it.

  34. Caroline says:

    What a beautiful dress x The fabric is so gorgeous and it really suits you.
    My Made-Up pledge make is here:

  35. Katrin says:

    I have been waiting for this post ever since you introduced the pattern. I LOVE the dress!

  36. Rachel says:

    Wow – this is simply stunning. I managed a much humbler project:

  37. craftycreeky says:

    Love your dress, I made a shirt from a fine Swiss cotton and like you, needed the challenge to make me do it, so thank you for organising, my link is

  38. Kirsty A says:

    Fantastic dress and a fantastic cause! Good work on the dress and inspiring everybody to donate and pledge. Unfortunately mine is unfinished as they don’t fit. But I’m still glad I started them and they will give me the kick up the bum I need to shift some more baby-weight (Can it be called that if you were bigger before you got pregnant??) Here is my link –

  39. Pennie Roberts says:

    Wow what a day Saturday is going to be. Will be out on a bell-ringing tour but glued to my phone in between rings waiting for the result of the Labour leadership election and the result of the Made Up Initiative. I don’t know which will be more tense!

  40. Gorgeous Karen! I can’t believe how quickly you’ve whipped that one up! Love the style lines of that pattern and the brocade works really well with it

  41. gabsong says:

    Your dress looks amazing! So happy that we all reached £2500 – it’s a brilliant initiative that I’m proud to be a part of. I don’t know if I linked to my make properly or not so here it is:

    I’m gutted I can’t be with you on Saturday but have a good one!
    Xox Gabby

  42. Danielle says:

    That came out wonderful!! You look fabulous! and you managed to include a fundraiser with it that blew your expectations out of the water. Well done you!

  43. Leanna says:

    You look smashing! What a beautiful dress.

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  45. V. Kathryn Evans says:

    Wow! That i stunning – as are you. Am I tiny bit jealous. Aside from repairs, sewing has taken a complete backseat to writing recently…how can I rectify that…hmmm….

  46. Jacana says:

    The fabric is wonderful and suits the pattern beautifully. You look stunning in it. Very well done.
    Have fun at the meet-up.

  47. fabrickated says:

    1.Your dress is very composed and sophisticated. I hope you get an opportunity to wear it (perhaps the Meet Up?).
    2. Kudos for launching this initiative and raising so much money for an important cause, close to your heart
    3.I made a skirt and a coat for my daughter as I promised I would. I don’t suppose I would have got round to it without the public promise.

    So three cheers for you. I have written about my garments on my blog.

  48. Joyapple says:

    You look a million dollars – or £2,500 at least! I’m racing to get my wee challenge completed in time. Enjoy the Made up meet – I was imagining a network of made up meets across the country/world… Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to announce a country cousins get together in Scotland! Thanks again for getting this all together – well done.

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  50. Hila says:

    Beautiful dress! Inspirational initiative. Wish I lived closer to London to make the meet up. I will. however be there in spirit 🙂

  51. Lynne says:

    Yey to finishing your dress – it’s gorgeous, and I LOVE the waist pleats; and yey to the success of the Made Up Initiative! Here’s a link to my finished, but not so exciting or glamorous, pledge –

  52. Gill says:

    Thanks for organising this Karen – a great idea – AND I got my dress made. I’ve blogged about it here….
    I hope to see you tomorrow, and I’ll bring a photo – I don’t want to wear the dress as it’s for a special occasion – not that a Meet Up isn’t a special occasion, you understand.

  53. Thimberlina says:

    Stunning! And congratulations on the success of such an fab idea!! Here’s the link to my make on my blog. I instagrammed it yesterday to prove I made it in time! But I didn’t have chance to write my post until today!

  54. Ruth says:

    It’s a gorgeous dress! Hope you enjoy some well-earned celebrations of such a successful fundraising project at the meet up!

  55. WendyBee says:

    This is a glorious dress! Brava! And so inspiring…

  56. mpostings says:

    Love your dress I finished my top and shorts early ready for my holiday, its on my blog

  57. Helen says:

    This is beautiful. The fabric is perfect and I would not have noticed that central seam/lack of pattern matching if you hadn’t mentioned it. I just completed my pledge in the nick of time. You can see it here:

    Thanks for such a lovely idea! Not least for finally forcing me to sew something for one of my children!

  58. Vicki says:

    Hello! I finished my made up project last weekend: a wedding outfit for my boyfriends mum. Thanks for organising this – great idea. Your dress is beautiful!

  59. sylkotwist says:

    Well done Karen on your make and the initiative! Here’s my make:
    Thank you!

  60. ellegeemakes says:

    That is so gorgeous! Your brocade choice is perfect and so ‘on-trend’. What a special dress you’ve created…I made a dress from brocade last winter and thought it was great to sew with, but really struggled to get the fit perfect. Your comments about it needing to be careful are spot on with what I experienced (LOL).

  61. LLADYBIRD says:

    Your dress turned out so beautiful! I loveee that brocade and the fit is just perfectly. Absolutely worth every ounce of effort that you put into it.

    I know you’ve already seen and commented on my Made Up post, but just to keep things easy for ya – here’s the link again ( Once again, I thank you so much for putting all this together! I enjoyed the challenge aspect and I’m so impressed with how much the community was able to raise! Awesome job to everyone!!

  62. Louise says:

    Love that brocade it looks so stylish!!! But then you always do!! I hope I’ve just about made it to the Made Up… Thank you for organising, I’ve now completed something that has been in the plan for ages….
    Here’s my Butterick 5526 shirt….

  63. Stina P says:

    Stunning! The dress is so beautiful – I would wear it in a heartbeat – and you look so good in it! Add to that your good cause – I hope you feel proud. 🙂

  64. izychampion says:

    Love the dress Karen! It’s a really stunning silhouette and it suits you perfectly! I think I’m just in time to add my Made Up makes to the list – two pairs of Tap Shorts! (and two donations along with them!)

  65. Janet says:

    Waaaah! Forgot to reply with my link. Oops. Thanks for a fun challenge, Karen, and well done on a great total. I am onto my fifth pair of dungarees now… 2x foxes, 2x mice and (WIP) 2x badgers. Indulged children, or what?! Janet

  66. Olivia says:

    Brava! That’s a beautiful dress! I might be the one who sent you the belt buckle but I’m not sure either… I see this kind of buckle regularly in thrift stores here in switzerland. Cheers! Olivia

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  69. says:

    Hi, You are stunning in this dress, beautiful!! Laura

  70. Gail says:

    I am madly in love with your dress and would happily make an offer for the pattern.

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