Sparkle Sparkle FLASHBACK

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Hey Guys,

We sort of need to have a little flashback to June.

I kind of didn't get the chance to go through all of the construction details of the sequinned dress! 

This post is majorly picture heavy (just a warning!) and unfortunately most of the construction pictures are taken with my phone. Bad habit! So what's coming is a bit of a hodge-podge of before and after photo's! And of course the dress lining could do with a press/steam too, but never mind.

Oh, and I couldn't reach the hook and eye! It was difficult taking new pictures, as the light was super reflective on the sequins :)

When I dreamt of my dress, I wanted a scoop neck and a full floaty tea length skirt. Those were my criteria and I managed to fill them! I thought long and hard about what bodice to use. I wanted as few seams as possible, and although there are a few in this one, they were in manageable places! And also, I knew that I had already gotten a good fit with this bodice, and I was loathe to start muslining a new one.

The bodice of the dress is a modified BHL Anna bodice. I redrafted the front and back neckline to be scooped for a change. I had to redraft the front once, as it was slipping off of my shoulders. It was just a touch too wide.

The sequinned fabric is a sequinned Spanish lace from Minerva Crafts, and the lining was a butter soft cotton poplin from Fabrix on Goldhawk road. It was stashed a long time before but was a beautiful match!

Ok, let's start from the start.

Firstly I cut out the lining pieces. 

I had spent a long time trying to work out the construction of the bodice to get the scalloped neckline just right. I decided the best was to to construct the bodice with the lining acting as an underlining. 

I bias-bound the edges of the neckline and sleeve hems of the lining. I then basted the lining pieces to the sequinned fabric.

I spent too many hours trimming sequins out of the seam allowances. I utilised the blank edges of the sequinned fabric as much as possible for places like the back seam but unfortunately I couldn't use them everywhere and there were a hell of a lot of sequins to go! I wasn't risking my machine.

I kind of lost feeling in my fingers.

I also trimmed the sequins out of the darts. I hand-basted each dart also. I stitched up the centre of each dart to secure the fabric before I stitched the dart legs.

After I put the bodice pieces together, I bias-bound the shoulders, side seams and hem - enclosing both lining and sequins together.

I cut the scalloped neckline by eye, and ended up having to shape the scallops, as opposed to following the line of the individual fabric pieces. I used fray-check on some but most were okay.

I tacked the scalloped neckline to the lining under the edge of the bias binding so that it was invisible.

I also bias bound the skirt lining pieces, which I had cut as a half circle skirt. 

For the sequined fabric, I used a full width of the fabric, utilising the blank edges for the side seams. I pleated the full width of the fabric into the front lining piece and half onto each back piece. 

Oh and I pleated it all by eye. And re-pleated it repeatedly until it fit. I then stitched the pleats to the lining fabric and bias-bound the waist seam. I had french seamed the sequined fabric so that it was loose over the lining. The sequin fabric is only enclosed in the back seam.

Then came the nerve wracking bit, where I joined the skirt to the bodice. I'm a terror for pulling fabric up into seams, so I used some of those wonder-clips to try and hold things together. Thankfully the sewing god's heard my prayer and when I opened up it was perfect.

I inserting a lapped metal zipped in a pale pink to match the fabric. 

I didn't want to grade any seams so the fabric was impossibly thick, especially with the binding. I hand-sewed it in, and had to use a kind of pliers to pull the needle through. It was hellishly hard to get through but I got there in the end.

Turns out taking the sequins off leaves behind the horrible nylon thread, so I had to sew in some last minute grosgrain ribbon from Clare's stash as they were killing my shoulders.

I'm assuming the side seams would be the same, but I wore the dress with a waist-cincher which protected my skin.

The weight of the skirt with all the sequins was pretty impressive, so I added in a grosgrain waist stay. I machine sewed it on to the front half of the dress only. It really did an amazing job of supporting the weight. 

By the way, I'm super glad that none of the bulk of the fabric layers translates to show in the dress :)

I used skirt hooks to close the waist stay. I added two different hooking points, but in the end had to add another section with another looser point. Although I could close the tightest, it ended up pulling the dress in too much, and caused distortion of the bodice.

I also hand-scalloped the hem of the dress. The final job, and thankfully was a lot quicker to complete than I thought it would. I left it to hang longer than the lining, as you do.

I was sewing this up until the Thursday night, before the Saturday. I was heading to London on the Friday, so I was definitely down to the wire. I think it took the guts of a fortnight to sew.
I was sick of the sight of it... until I put it on for the event :) It kind of felt like the effort you might put into a wedding dress! And it feels that way when I put it on too...

And just in case you forgot, some flashbacks of the night in question. I wish I had taken more photo's. I was equally as proud of my hair!

Oh, and lastly, some indication as to the state of my house afterwards! The camera couldn't even pick up half of the sequins - whatever you can see, times it by 5!

I have a terrible photo of myself just after finishing, and covered in them, but we shall leave that for another time :)

Well done for sticking with me!

Emmie x


  1. I love everything about this dress! The fabric is just beautiful and the fit is just spot on and it just looks amazing!

  2. Elaine O'Connor6 September 2014 at 20:53

    Stunning! Looks fabulous inside and out.

  3. What a labour if love but also incredibly worth it! I adore this dress as it sums your style up very well!

  4. You did a fantastic job. The dress fits you perfectly. The way you tackled all those sequins is very impressive - looks like it was totally worth it!

  5. Wowsers! There is so much work in this dress, and it was definitely worth it because it is gorgeous! The last photo of ehe sequins is so funny - you'll probably still be vacuuming them up at Christmas! Lynne

  6. This is an amazing dress, so beautifully finished inside and out too. You look fab in it.

  7. You look so stunning in this dress, it's like a perfect match of you + hair + dress. Just gorgeous.

  8. Thank you! Believe me, I don't doubt it!

  9. Thanks! Wish I had had the effort to recreate my evening hair!

  10. Thanks hun, I adored your one. The fit was unbelievable! And I'm so glad you just made that bolero - I didn't even realise I have that pattern too! Loved it

  11. Absolutely stunning!!!

  12. That is an absolutely beautiful and yes stunning dress. <3 <3 <3


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