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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Party time with Lilou

An unexpected invite to a black tie event arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago.  When I called Gareth to check he was around to look after the kids so I could go, he asked me if I had already been looking at dress patterns.  He knows me too well...

I have been looking for an opportunity to make the Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes since I first got the book.  The pleated option with bow belt in matching fabric is a lovely retro-style cocktail dress:


I bought a red stretch cotton for the dress and Liberty tana lawn from the lining, both from Sew Over It.  I got the idea for using the tana lawn as lining fabric from a Joan Dress that was on display at the Sew Over It stall at the handmade fair.  I absolutely love sewing with tana lawn (I last used Liberty fabric for a tie for Gareth and a Sorbetto top for myself), it adds a real touch of luxury, and looks beautiful:


This was the second lined dress I have made.  Attaching the lining went well, but I found sewing it to the underarms tricky.  I was tempted to turn it right side out, but couldn't bear to turn it inside out, then back to the right side again afterwards, so I followed the instructions in the book and it turned out fine.  The pleats were made using a method that was new to me, and I have to re-read the instructions several times before finally pinning it correctly.  I love the movement and fullness they give to the skirt.  I had to adjust the fit on the bodice by taking a 2cm seam allowance on the back seam, and I think I could take taken more off.  I think I might need to start making the next size down in Tilly's patterns soon (yippee!).  Annoyingly, the waistband seam wasn't level after inserting the zip (seems to be a recurring problem for me at the moment).  At least it is hidden by the bow belt!

I ended up having to ask my Mum for some help with adjusting the fit at the shoulders - she had to unpick the lining and reattach to make the adjustments.  I think I might start making a toile for any bigger dress projects in future to avoid this.  The bow belt ended up being trickier than I thought it would be, but I love it.  I added poppers as well as hook and eye so that it would definitely sit straight.

Here is the finished result (modelled before all the champagne):


It was a great night (The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For awards dinner - we came 43rd), and I'll definitely be wearing Lilou again.

I joined Instagram a couple of weeks ago and am already slightly addicted to all the lovely sewing and fabric related posts.  You can see more of what I have been up to at @adventuresinfabric

Finally, I was the lucky recipient of this stash of vintage sewing magazines last week:


I'm very excited about trying out some vintage sewing projects soon! x

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