The “Love Me, Love My Car” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Stretch denim covered with teeny tiny red sparkly metallic polka dots – two pieces in the ‘surplus fabric’ section of my local Goodwill thrift store for $8.98
Patterns: Simplicity 2444 (2nd time used)
Year: Contemporary
Notions: 22″ zip $1.98, hook & eye
Time to complete: 20 hours (the stretch confounded the fitting a few times)
First worn: 12th February 2012
Wear again? Absobloominglutely! Especially for 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday.

Total price: $11.96 (or £7.57, I still have to convert everything even after 2 years here)

The challenge: Red – This week, for Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating the colour red.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a not-so secret love. I rave about him frequently. He’s smooth, slick and he gets me places I want to go. He holds a place in my heart after I squish Mr Devyne, Goth Child (14) and Melchett (9) to one side. He’s Hartley Pipkin, my PT Cruiser. And that’s ‘Cruiser’ despite what the rest of my family tell you about him being a PT Loser.

So what better plan than to make a dress for Valentine’s Day to complement the gorgeous metallic red of my beautiful car?

This is exactly what came to mind when I was on my regular browsing trip (ok, shopping trip, I very rarely come away without buying something to add to my stash) to my favourite thrift shops. They’re always a fab place for fabric, mainly for wearable muslins, but occasionally I come across a beauty like this stretch denim covered in tiny red metallic dots. I have no idea what the previous owner might have used this for, but they’d kindly donated two 2 yard-ish unused pieces that I snapped up for just $8.98. My determination to make a dress out of it was cemented when I got to the till (cash register) and the assistant asked what I planned to use it for. “I’m going to make a dress”, I confidently said. “Oh no, it’s too heavy a fabric for that”, she replied.

Well as I’m never one for being told I can’t do something, so I made my dress.

And having already learnt a few things from 6 weeks of Sew Weekly challenges, it’s probably the best thing I’ve made so far. It’s not too heavy at all…but I did do a few things including lessening the fullness of the skirt to minimise the amount of fabric used (and hence possible weight).

Other tweaks I made having had a go at Simplicity 2444 once before for my Pinky Blue Freaky Déjà Vécu dress included:

  • Although the original wearable muslin fitted me, the waist on it was uncomfortably tight…I had to suck everything in all the time and it hurt my back. So I made this dress with an extra 1/2″ on the bodice pieces at the waist.
  • I also paid a lot more attention trimming the spare material with pinking shears as close to the seams as possible to cut down possible bulk caused by the heavier fabric at the waist.
  • And last time I tried to make the bust fit a little better by making almost horizontal darts from the armholes…but I did this after I’d sewn in the armhole facing. This time I left putting the armhole facing until last and kept tacking in reductions down the side seams until I was happy with the fit, but that I’d still be comfortable when wearing it out to an anniversary dinner! I then pinned the armhole facings to the remaining armholes to work out where to sew the joins.

The only thing I’m not totally happy with is the neckline. It’s very wide and so doesn’t quite sit flat on me. If I make this pattern again (and I think I may well do that, I really want a plaid/check version having seen Jessica Quirk’s version on What I Wore) then I’m going to make dart/incision/alteration on the pattern piece at the centre of the neckline before cutting out the fabric.

I took more time with the finishing on this dress. Using a running star decorative stitch on my machine for the hem, neckline and armhole edges. I’ve always been a fan of the little extra finishing touches – like the rose I’m wearing that I made from wired sheer/sparkly red ribbon glued onto three green felt leaves which I then embroidered with a lime green embroidery thread. And the handbag (purse) I picked up at a charity (thrift) shop a few years ago to which I painstakingly on sewed hundreds of red sequins. I’d like to say I made the personalised double heart necklace too, but this is by a UK company called Clutterfly….though I do have plans to try out making some FIMO jewellery at some point this year….I’ve spotted everything I need at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

But all in all, I seriously love this dress. If it wasn’t quite so showy I think I’d wear it as an everyday dress….perhaps this gives me a perfect excuse to make another….and another….

Which will also give me a chance for more mother/daughter bonding time doing photoshoots. I say ‘bonding’ but if you’d seen me yesterday being ‘bullied’ by my David Bailey of a daughter, how she made me play russian roulette with lawn sprinklers, tried to get me to kiss Hartley in public….and worst of all, made me climb in the most un-ladylike fashion up two levels of raised planters:

But I wouldn’t have swapped a minute of it for giggles and photos like this:

Thanks Goth Child! (And yes, I do possibly love you more than Hartley….but don’t tell him).

Author

tempestdevyne

Tempest Devyne started sewing about 3 years ago in order to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.

24 Comments

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  1. Love your fabric choice! Super cute:D

  2. What a fabulous find! Great result.

  3. Thanks Clarissa and Marguerite…yes, I’m not only very lucky to have a thrift store that regularly has something I can pick up that’s a bit different (you’ll see me wearing a lot of ex-curtains this year) but also that I was lucky I got to this gorgeous fabric before anyone else snapped it up.

  4. You know, it seems to me that most necklines on modern patterns are simply to wide. I have that problem constantly!

    • One of the great things about going on this Sew Weekly journey is gradually discovering what my body is actually like (or you’re right, how it wears modern patterns) and learning to accommodate that in the cutting stage a bit better. Loving the journey :)

  5. Wow what amazing fabric, it looks like Dorothys shoes! And I want that car when I grow up – v cool. And you know I love that pattern, works well with out the sash maybe I can unpick mine when I get sick of it!

    • Thanks Trish. When I made a wearable muslin of the pattern a few weeks ago I made the sash too – and it’s great for cinching in your waist that little bit further (that little bit more flattering) but the problem with it is it obscures the beautiful darts which I quite like as a visible feature.

  6. This might just be my favorite thing you’ve made yet :) I love you in red, which is perfect, because there is so much of it in these photos! Love love love your inspiration and your amazing accessories – excellent work!

    • Thank you so much Meg :) Yes I like red a lot. I also live by the words of Colonel Hannibal Smith “Overkill is Underrated”….so expect to see more red in the coming months.

  7. That is some super fabric, what a great dress! I hope you get lots of reasons to wear it!

  8. Awesomely sparkly fabric! I love the running star stitch detail on the neckline, too. What a great finishing touch! Your love for Hartley Pipkin definitely shines through.

    • Thank you :) Yes, I think it’s about time I speeded up my basic constructions to give me more time to add some finishing touches, they’re fun and make things a little more special….and it’s a bit of a waste only using 2 or 3 stitch settings on a sewing machine that can do hundreds.

  9. I’ve seen this pattern around and often wondered about it. You make it look great! :)

  10. You look great. Happy wedding anniversary!

  11. Love the PT Cruiser and it goes so well with the choice of fabric. I really like the extra stitch finishes on the edges. Great job overall.

  12. Shine on you brilliant red jewel, you! Love this dress and post x(infinity)!

  13. Nice work! And I always enjoy the way you write your posts. They just radiate enthusiasm and enjoyment of life!

  14. Very lovely! I love all of your photos. I think daughter’s take better pictures and can be a lot more creative than hubbies. I can relate to your mother/daughter bonding and also to celebrating over twenty years of marriage. I’ll celebrate my twentieth this week also. Happy Anniversary! You’ll look absolutely charming in your adorable red dress.

  15. You do your car proud! The decorative stitches are beautiful icing on a spectacular cake.

  16. You and your red cruiser are the cutest thing. And finding (let alone sewing) red sparkly stretch denim is something only you can pull off with such sass and class. I love how spent extra time on the fitting and finishing…all the extra touches were worth it. You look lovely in dress and your husband better agree. Happy Anniversary, too.

  17. Red sparkly denim dress! Never let a naysayer say nay! I don’t know what I love more, the dress, or the mental image of your daughter bossing you around a photo shoot.

  18. Happy Anniversary, you look devyne standing next to your PT Cruiser. I drive a black limited addition. A PT Loser LOL. Great photos and such a great read.