Jul 132014
Tropical fruit printed dress with ribbon trim and sewing machine

Adding the metres of grosgrain ribbon trim

Yes, it hurts. Every time. Although you don’t necessarily remember that part until the first flush of enthusiasm is over and the hard work begins. At which point you think to yourself, “Oh no, I remember this now…” but it’s too late to do anything other than carry on. Well, if you want to be able to eventually return to sleeping at night and not obsessing over small details, fabrics, trimmings, etc. When there’s a new frock in your head, there is no option but to make it.

And so it was with this one. Personally, I blame one of my favourite bloggers. Somehow, probably via Facebook, she managed to to sneak this little gem into my consciousness.

Pouting Brigitte Bardot meeting Pablo Picasso

Never mind the pout, check out the frock!

Yes, I know. Utterly gorgeous. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the dress. For years I’ve had a major problem with tiers, having seen too many droopy hippies in ghastly patchwork and crushed velvet skirts. So much so, in fact, that I’d forgotten what a joy they could be. Can’t imagine a droopy hippie in this little number, though, so I thought I might have a go at recreating it. And once that thought was in my head, there was no getting out of it.

The obvious fabric, a pastel-based rose print cotton, was already in my possession but something about another roll called to me. I’d ordered it because I loved the sample. When it arrived, I discovered that not only was it, technically, a one-way design (my OCD won’t let me put the writing upside down) but it was also printed across the fabric rather than along it, making it impossible to cut the full circles I usually use. So it was absolutely ideal for this new design. Perfect! All I had to do was cut strips, gather ’em up and stitch it all together. Piece of p… Well, you get the idea.

I did some basic calculations in an attempt to get the length of the skirt and the proportions of the tiers right. I scratched my head. I sighed a little, worried a bit and then said, “Oh, to hell with this,” and went off plan.

And produced this:

Tiered sundress in tropical fruit and flower print

I’ve road tested it for comfort, ease of fitting behind the driving wheel of a sports car and audience approval factor. It passed everything with flying colours, although I wouldn’t recommend trying to drive the sports car whilst wearing it with a petticoat as there is just too much floofiness for comfort. Without the petti, it’s fine. Do be aware, though, that it’s not a frock for blending in. I’m not sure that any other frock I’ve ever made has garnered quite so much attention from people who wouldn’t normally go for an obviously retro style. Everyone seems to like this one. Including the lovely Welshman in a Cornwall Council carpark, who said, “Ooh, you look gorgeous!” and didn’t appear to register the fact that I’m a 46 year old grumpy midget. I call that a good frock!

Now, there will be a few tweaks to the design before this one goes into “production”. I’ll be re-cutting the straps to give them some shape, making a slight change to the curve of the neckline and possibly taking out a little of the fullness of the skirt. Well, a 12 metre circumference might just be over-egging the pudding. Just a tad…

The full blog post that inspired me can be found at http://www.messynessychic.com/2012/04/26/when-bardot-met-picasso/

I’m aware that the link isn’t working. Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t working properly for me at the moment so posting and editing are very difficult and I can’t get links to work. I’m surprised I can even post anything! If you haven’t yet discovered Messy Ness Chic, may I suggest following her on Facebook? She’s fabulous.

And watch out for the next version of the Bardot dress. This one has the working title of Carmen Bardot. The Brigitte one should be lovely but closer to the original. I can’t wait to make it!

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