Christmas Dress 2014

For this years Christmas dress I wanted to use a beautiful purple (I think cotton) velvet that my friends gave to me for my birthday. I had 1.5m which basically directed the design of the dress. I went for a strapless bodice, because it takes barely any fabric, with a half circle skirt which would give the fullness of a gathered skirt without the extra material needed. To make it special I added a little bow feature at the front.
The strapless bodice pattern is the same I used for my floral maxi dress, which made the whole process so much quicker because I knew it fit. I made sure I cut at all of the pieces so the nap was facing the right way. I slip-stitched the seam allowances on the velvet outer bodice down, because I didn't want to risk using an iron. The lining was the leftover rayon from my greek chiton purely because of the colour co-ordination. To make the rayon more stable I underlined it with quite a heavy calico. I then attached boning to the lining to give the bodice more structure.

The skirt is a half circle, with a seam at the centre front and back because that was the only way that if fit on the fabric. Hopefully the seam at the front isn't too noticeable! Ideally I would have made it a full circle for a little more volume, but a petticoat underneath does provide a certain amount of poof. The dress is fastened with an invisible zip down the center back, and the hem was overlocked and turned over once to preserve as much length as possible.
For the bow I used a rectangle of velvet which was sewn into the top seam at the front and back, not not the sides when joining the bodice and the lining. The part that wasn't attached in the seam I can slip my arms into to form little wings. I was going to elasticate the top so they would be level with the neckline but I don't know. I quite like the drapy-ness that's happening. The center was then ruched up to form a bow.

I'm really happy with how this dress turned out. It's miles better (both with the fit and finish) than last years Christmas dress. Now I need to figure out what I've got to do next year to better this one!

Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx