Designin’ December Part 2…The Dress

Well at the end of Designin’ December Part 1. The pattern….I noted that I had not sewn with velvet before and now that I have I won’t be rushing to do it again in a hurry…

To recap, I decided to take part in Linda Maki’s Designin’ December, the point of which is to ‘copy’ a designer garment that you like but wouldn’t actually buy for whatever reason. In my case the price tag of this dress at £500 is the line in the sand that I cannot cross..


I purchased 4 metres of woven viscose velvet in a colour called Bordeaux from Stof and Stil and after much research I also ordered 100 silky tassels from a Chinese website on eBay as ordering them in the UK would have meant that just the cost of the tassels would have been over £100 as against Chinese price of under £20.

The fabric arrived pretty quickly and once I had got the pattern sorted out (see previous post) I was able to cut out the dress body from M6959 and my self drafted raglan sleeve amendment. I also lengthened the skirt and flared it out slightly at the bottom.

I had read quite a lot about sewing with velvet before I started and used my walking foot together with lots of pins in the seam allowances but the fabric STILL slipped all over the place, how is that even possible ? I also hated not being able to press the seams. I hadn’t realised quite how much I use the iron for pressing my projects. Steaming and finger pressing the seams just doesn’t cut it for me.

I also took advice from The Closet Case on wrap dress construction and added 2 poppers on the wrap section of the top for modesty. I also lined the skirt to give it some weight although with the tassels on the hem this probably wasn’t necessary.

After a month the tassels hadn’t turned up so I researched an alternative trim which was a feathery lace and was resigned to using that when LO ! A  small parcel arrived from China, surely it didn’t contain the 100 tassels I had ordered ? but actually yes, they were all present and correct. Each tassel is enclosed in its own little tube and expands massively once released. They are nice and silky and actually exceeded expectations.

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I then started attaching them to the dress, it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t get them to lie in the orientation of my inspiration picture as they have a natural inclination to hang downwards which I guess is gravity doing its work. I decided not to try and defy gravity and instead attach them the way they wanted to hang.


I din’t quite need all 100 that I had estimated but only used 63, each attached with a french tack stitch to keep them mobile.

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So this is the finished garment. I think it’s not far off the designer original I set out to copy. However with me not being 5’9″ and tiny size the worn effect on me is rather more Oscar Wilde Dowager but that’s fine. I shall sit in the corner at the works party tsking at the antics of the younger generation occasionally saying….A HA..NDBAG ?!?! What larks !

I’ve really enjoyed the challenge, researching patterns, selecting the fabric, sourcing the tassels, adapting the sleeve pattern, but will probably avoid sewing with viscose velvet for….forever !!




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5 Responses to Designin’ December Part 2…The Dress

  1. This is a great Designer me-made Copy! Lucky your tassels arrived on time. The fabric might not be great to sew with but it looks great, just like the Designer Original!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim says:

    I love it! Wear it everywhere and be massively over dramatic 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s really fab! I do love a happy ending too. What a relief when the tassels arrived!


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