Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jess' 21st Dress

Now I must admit that I made this dress, oh nearly 2 years ago coming up in April 2012 - birthday of my daughter Jessica but I really wanted to do this post as part of my sewing archive.

Jess fell in love with this fabric, you guessed it, from Tessuti, so it was destined for her 21st party dress.  I think it was called Siren sequin but alas it no longer exists.

Sequin has grey marking

Found this old pattern I had from when my mum was sewing for me - Style 2033 and modified it to fit Jess.  No need for darts etc - thought easy.  Made a sample in some stretch fabric in my stash and it fitted well (she still wears it today).   However, this was not to be the final design - it was only to be a guide.

When I looked at the sample dress I thought that the front was too low cut, so I used the 'back' also as the "front" (wanted a boat neck look) - I know this is not the proper thing to do but this fabric was so forgiving because of its stretch factor, that it worked - didn't need darts and was basically fit to shape i.e. her body.  I did need Jess to try it on a few times as I needed to take it in on the sides to get a really good fit so I really ended up making the dress in situ and the initial paper pattern became the shell from which I just used the shape.

Jess wanted "Balmain" shoulder pads - the amount of testing for this was educational.  Using existing shoulder pads, I traced out the shape and layered bigger to smaller shapes of cotton/wool batting (used for quilting) to give me the effect -  I was thrilled with the result - it worked.

Boat neck and Balmain shoulder pads

In case you're wondering, I actually took out all the sequins before I machine sewed the dress and then hand sewed them back - did this for all seams and zipper - yes it took a while to put them back.  I must have OCD as I then found myself looking for areas that needed filling - days of hand sewing sequins - but worth it.  I didn't line the dress - Jess just wore a slip underneath - the sleeves were a little itchy but not that uncomfortable, according to Jess.

The finished dress
Jess had a wonderful time at her party and she was thrilled with the dress.  Actually, she got a lot of comments - said "My mother made it"  I was so proud because it really looked great and I couldn't believe that I had made it myself.

Jess' brother -  Cameron

Here are my two most special people in the world - love them to bits!!!


  1. Eeep! That dress is just gorgeous. I can't believe you hand sewed the sequence to each seam.

  2. Holy Crap! That dress rocks! The shaping is perfect, the 3/4 sleeves suit the look and I think the 'bateau' neckline is divine. Damn right your daughter should have been proud wearing this - it's awesome!

  3. Thanks Melissa - she did look pretty special that night.

  4. Wow- a stunning dress and she looks beautiful in it! Wishing you a fantastic new year too.

  5. How did I miss this? It is stunning!