Peacock Arielle

My latest project has been an Arielle skirt from a pattern by Tilly Walnes. I bought the peacock fabric without a plan, then I saw this pattern and thought it would be perfect.

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Just before I started to sew this, we moved house and I got to use one of the bedrooms as a sewing studio! That is about halfway fixed now, but I splashed out on a new cutting mat and a rotary cutter!

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This sped up my cutting no end. The pattern was a joy to follow, really straightforward and quick to make up.

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I picked out a peacock blue lining to line the skirt with. By this point, it was coming together so quickly I decided I was going to wear it when I spoke at the CIDM Best Practices conference in Florida at the end of September.

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I added some purple velvet ribbon to the waist to help stop my top riding up (not on the pattern). The pattern had some beautiful touches, like the understitching above that really took it out of the “quick sew” class, and into a beautifully structured garment.

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There is the finishing on the inside at the bottom – the pattern has no visible stitching on the outside, which is a nice touch.

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And the buttons. I sourced these peacock buttons from the Czech Glass Bead shop on Etsy. I have three different coloured peacocks, and a peacock eye on the skirt.

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Overall, I’m really pleased about this skirt, and I’m planning to make it again soon in a different fabric – it’s so comfortable!

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Alice in Wonderland dress

I decided to try and design my own dress, to wear to a couple of weddings we were going to in the summer. I knew I wanted a square neckline, no sleeves, knee length and a full skirt.

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I found a lovely strong blue cotton twill at Fabric Land, and started experimenting with darts, necklines and armholes…

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It was a bit fiddly to get right, but once the bodice was pretty much there, the skirt was a bit easier. I seems I was a bit lax in taking photos of the process!

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Here it is at the first wedding – I dressed it up with a sequinned jacket and a little handmade brooch (and a top hat and moustache…it was the dress code!)
I had a few meters of very old broderie anglaise to trim it with.
It was at this first wedding that I realised it was an Alice in Wonderland dress!

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Here is a picture of it at the next wedding a week later (different group of friends, so I could get away with it!)
I found a 1960’s petticoat on ebay that makes it stand out nicely.

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There’s a little peek of the petticoat! I had to do an emergency take – in of the skirt before the first wedding, as it was much bigger than the petticoat!

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Oh and here is the fascinator that I whipped up to match the dress!
Overall, I was quite pleased with my first attempt at designing a dress and sewing without a pattern!

Emerald ball gown

I had a ball to go to, and none of the dresses I had quite fit the bill – I needed a floor length satiny number!
I found Simplicity 2442 and picked out an emerald duchesse satin from Fabric Land.

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The bodice took a bit of time to come together, as it was ruched and lined as well as interfaced.

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I liked the top of the sleeves and the neckline for this dress. I was planning on doing a lot of dancing at the ball, so I needed something that would stay in place!

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The bodice was ruched by hand, and finished by hand. I had to be very precise and neat with my hand stitching – not my strongest point!

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The midsection was ruched by thread pulling, another thing I hadn’t done before, it took a few minutes to get it even, but I was happy with it in the end.

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Once the bodice was in place, I pinned the skirt up to see how it looked!

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Here it is at the ball! The zip was a bit tricky to get in as the ruched waist was so thick, and I did have to tack the bottom of the V in the neckline so I wasn’t showing too much flesh when I leant over!
And of course Mike had a pocket square, bowtie and cufflinks to match – he even cut his own bowtie out!

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