My sister asked me to make her a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding. The problem is that we live a few hundred miles apart and only had one toile fitting, so I was concerned about whether it would fit. I started to wonder how a set of measurements taken by one person (a friend of my sister’s who kindly took some measurements so I could make a toile) be so different to those taken by another (me)? Which are right? Are they both? How can I learn to take more accurate measurements? Sis isn’t known to wear a lot of dresses so I felt all the more pressured to make her something she likes…

I managed to finish the dress on Tuesday, and took these dark and not great snaps before wrapping it up to post it. I’m hoping to get some of it being modelled, but the fact that the recipient is very camera shy means they will just be for my records (unless she authorises a neck down cropped portrait!).

Things I learned:

  • the only affordable non-shiny lace will probably be stretchy, this is hard to work with, especially if you try to get clever and treat it as a non-stretch (I knew this before, but decided to go ahead and struggled as I only had a small amount of time)
  • cross-over straps are difficult to line. I did them with a combination of hand and machine stitching. If I did this style again I would look at alternatives
  • if I put my mind to it I can make quite a complicated dress in a limited amount of time (“faffing” is a word that might be used to describe my usual practise)
  • drafting patterns from scratch really does make fitting complicated designs easier. The toile was almost there with regards to fit,  meaning minimal changes were made for the actual make

The dress was made from 3 metres of sand brushed(?) silk from a shop in Goldhawk Road, 2 metres of silk lining, and lace from the friendly guys at Borovick Fabrics on Berwick Street.


My original drawing (plus a bit of help with Photoshop)