Hot! The “Celebration” Dress

My fav in front of tree close-up
The Facts

Fabric: 2 metres of red velvet from a curtain £8 from a charity shop
Pattern: Butterick 8131 from the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle pattern swap
Year: 1950s
Notions: red zipper £1 and white ribbon for neckline and bow £0.50

Time to complete: 10 hours

Wear again? yes!

Total Cost: ~£9.50

2 continents, 50 weeks, 55 sewn items, 33 different types of fabric and countless numbers of fabulous friends!  I feel like I’ve just won the Amazing Race! Woot! Woot! Wow!!! I can’t belive I actually made it through a whole year of sewing weekly!!!  I’m absolutely delighted.

It hasn’t always been a smooth ride.  In fact, nearly the entire time I felt like I was just barely hanging in there!  I missed two weeks, had one UFO (well actually three but I finished the other two), moved house twice, lost someone in our family, almost got laid off, then had my job, then almost got laid off again (now I’m good), worked one, two and even three jobs at a time and met-up with 60 other sewists during the course of the year… Sarah has already mentioned, The Sew Weekly has been one of the few constants in my life.

This week, in celebration, I thought it was the perfect time to use the pattern I received from the lovely Trish through the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle pattern swap organised by the wonderful Kat.

Picture 12
You see, The Sew Weekly has been more for me than just contributing to the blog every week.  It’s been a community of wonderful ladies that are so supportive and wonderful.  Seriously, you all have carried me through ups and downs and this celebratory post is for you.  Thank you so much–it’s been so much fun to share our weekly projects, cheer each other on, meet in person (wasn’t London and NYC a blast???), and share our love for sewing.  I look forward to actively participating in the Sewing Circle next year and cheering on the new contributors to the blog!!

I’m really excited that I got to work with the pattern that Trish sent me.  It’s such a lovely pattern and was a dream to sew up.  It only took so long because I was working with velvet.   I took the advice of several commenters on my Scarlett O’Hara dress and ended up pressing the velvet on top of another piece of velvet and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

Hands on hip
The dress has three panels in the front and three in the back.  The sleeves are cut in one with the dress so it’s really quick to sew up.  I ended up using the same velvet curtain that I used for the ruffle collar and cuffs in the outfit from last week’s challenge.  I absolutely adore this fabric.  It feels like a cotton velvet but it is fairly lightweight and a dream to sew with.  The lining of the curtain is actually fused to the velvet–so it acts as a underlining of sorts.  I changed my needle to a size 11 to work with this fabric and found that was perfect.

This dress has lots of hand sewing… I hand picked the zipper and also hand basted the white bow trim before sewing it on.  The part that took the longest on this dress was the hem!  You see, my hem helper (David) was working and wasn’t able to help me hem it.  So it required loads of fitting and adjusting of the hem, not to mention that pressing velvet is a slow process.  Since the fabric is a bit thicker and the dress is quite full, I ended up hand basting gathering stitches on the hem.  Then I drew those up and sewed seam binding over the edge before hand hemming the dress.  I think the hem alone took about 3 hours!

Full skirt
Overall, I love the fit of the dress and the way the velvet feels.  Perfect for the year end celebration!

Thank you everyone for your comments and for reading my posts each week.  Here’s to an amazing year and to more sewing, more friends and more good times together in 2012!Wine_1


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. Congratulations on surviving a HUGE year. Thanks for all the wonderful outfits – you have always been inspirational.
    Happy New Year to you and David, and I hope to see lots more of your sewing in 2012.

  2. Lovely dress! I can’t stand hand sewing but it looks totally worth it! I can’t believe how much you ladies did this year – congrats!