The ‘Royal Engagement’ Dress

 

The Facts

Fabric:  Viscose jersey
Pattern: McCalls 5752 Palmer Pletsch Fitted Dress
Year: 2011
Notions: None!
Time to complete: About 5 hours (Most of this was spent dyeing the fabric and cutting out)
First worn: January 2012
Wear again? Definitely!
Total price: (Dye – £12 and Material £12) £24

Like most of the world I fell in love with The Royal Engagement dress. Unlike the Royals I did not have a spare £550 in my back pocket to buy the genuine silk jersey dress. This look prompted a slew of copycats – both in the shops, by the pattern companies, by lots of home seamstresses and now me!

(Photo from New York Times/Net-a-Porter)

Luckily I happened across some viscose jersey in my local fabric shop nearly a year ago. It was a funny pale blue colour but had a lovely sheen, so reminiscent of the original Issa dress that I knew immediately this would be perfect. As it was viscose I knew it would dye fairly well, except that when I first tried it didn’t! So, I popped it back into my fabric stash and promptly forgot about it, another item on my never ending ‘to do’ list. So when this challenge came up, I knew I had to make it once and for all. This time though, I used a different dye (Procion MX) and the finished colour came out perfectly.

Which is when I discovered I had bought too little fabric… (Feel free to add multiple swearwords at this point!) Stubborn girl that I am, I refused to admit defeat. I took a little off at the sides of the skirt and did not lengthen the pattern pieces, which I would normally alter. The only downside is that I couldn’t make the tie as I just didn’t have any fabric left and I suppose the sleeves are a bit shorter. However, I love the end result and it does look pretty similar to the original if I do say so myself!

Apologies for the terrible photos – as luck would have it (or not), I had this dress finished on Friday, went away for the weekend but forgot to take the dress with me to take pictures, so when I came home the only time I could take a picture was before work this morning when it was still fairly dark AND chucking it down with rain outside!

Author

Handmade By Freya

Freya caught the sewing bug a couple of years ago and is now pattern and fabric obsessed! She desperately needs to commit to making things weekly as her fabric stash is out of control.

7 Comments

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  1. This dress is on my list to recreate! I just learned to use my serger, so someday I will give it a go with the same color fabric; I bought Simplicity 2145 to make it. :)

  2. This is a great effort :D And nice work on the fabric dye job!

  3. Ah great idea for inspiration, I also love that dress and yours looks great.

  4. I bought Simplicity 2145 to make a version as well! I think we all realized that this is the kind of dress that flatters many figures, but who has £550 to spare?

    Even though you don’t like the photo, the dress looks great! ;)

  5. Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the comments!

  6. You’ve made some very good modifications to get the look you wanted with what you had. Perfectly lovely dress.