I have never been a party girl. I ducked out of my 18th, 21st and 30th not because of the ‘age’ thing, but because I’m not good at being the centre of attention. However, last year I decided that I should make an effort to mark my 40th year and planned a ‘small’ gathering of friends and family. The party was amazing – most of our friends are dancers, musicians and singers and so we entertained ourselves and had the best time ever! It seems that everyone else did too and I was asked (countless times) if I could have another 4oth this year. How can I pass up on staying forever 4o? So, needless to say that tomorrow we’ll be doing it all over again. 🙂 So a party is the perfect excuse for a new frock and earlier in the year I met the lovely ladies on the Sew La Di Da stand at the Olympia Stitch Show and bought a couple of their gorgeous patterns. One of my purchases was the 1950’s Rose. I really love this style with the sweetheart neckline, nipped in waist and box pleats and knew it would make a stunning party dress if I could find the right fabric… This parasol cotton material is from Minerva Crafts and it is a lovely weight for a tea dress. There is small amount of stretch in the fabric (which is a bonus) and it is lovely and soft. This material is a dream to sew with and moves beautifully. It feels like a really expensive fabric but it really isn’t – honest! The pattern was really straight forward and easy to sew together. Sew La Di Da patterns come with a detailed instruction booklet with plenty of photographs to help you through the process. Their packaging is really lovely too! I only made one change to the pattern and it wasn’t a massive headache. I needed to take 4 inches out of the centre back seam as I am small across the shoulders and apparently I stand very straight! This didn’t affect the fit of the dress at all – in fact it fits me perfectly! 🙂 Another thing I did (that wasn’t in the pattern notes) was to stitch very close to the pleat lines inside the skirt so that it holds the creases after washing and this makes the ironing process much easier !