Dress · Vintage Look

The Vanessa Dress

It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.

Ever since I started dressmaking I’ve dreamt about designing and making a bespoke dress but I never thought that I would actually be able to achieve my goal.  However, ever since I enrolled on this online draping course by Paul Gallo a few months ago, I haven’t looked back and this way of creating a garment certainly suits my way of approaching a project.   First I made a simple toile made to my measurements and realised how easy it was.  Then I started to think that maybe I could design something…  I just needed a willing volunteer …

Photo 3Vanessa (my lovely friend and colleague) was the perfect choice – she loves a cute dress!  The main challenges were:

a) I had never sewn a made to measure dress for anyone else before

b) we are completely different body shapes (she has the classic hourglass figure, lucky thing!)

After a quick measure up, a long gossip and a few cups of tea we got down to talking about styles. Vanessa showed me one of her favourite dresses that she bought from Tara Starlet a while ago which has a lovely sweetheart neckline.  I had some vintage plaid fabric in my stash that Vanessa fell in love with so I set about making a toile out of an old bed sheet.  I was really nervous about the first fitting but I was surprised to find that I only needed to make a few adjustments (mainly in the sleeve width) so it was time to cut into the main fabric!

I really enjoyed working with the plaid and it really helped me to get the pleats lined up nicely!  Here’s a quick peek of the pleats in progress:

Photo 8The fabric was not so easy to work with!  The weave in the fabric was quite fragile and so if anything needed unpicking it would cause the fabric to ladder!  There’s nothing like a bit of added pressure to help focus the mind!

I decided to use the plaid on the bias for the waistband and the bottom hem as Vanessa likes her dresses to be on the longer side.  I really like the change in direction as it adds some interest to the dress.Photo 4The sleeves have a gathered sleeve head and a ruched detail at the bottom.  I used ribbon to reinforce the seam on the inside of the gathering stitches.

All in all, I’m really happy with the results and the dress fits Vanessa beautifully.  I think she’s happy with it too…

Photo 2Now I’ll just have to make a Vanessa dress for myself!

Until next time… x




26 thoughts on “The Vanessa Dress

  1. Well done with the “Vanessa” dress, It looks stunning on your friend, and, I think she is well pleased looking at her modelling it for you to see. Love everything about it!!! 🤗 😉 XX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoah I’m totally jealous now – it’s great to have that skill! Now a whole world of possibilities has opened to you. This dress is super cute and I LOVE those shoulder pleats! I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

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