Red Silk Party Dress

As mentioned in my last post, I was commissioned with a party dress for Niece #2.  Something dry-cleanable only.  I wanted to make it out of silk taffeta or a tightly woven duppion, but couldn’t find the right colour of red for the right price in the right quality.  And then one sunny day, browsing through my local thrift store, I stumbled across a custom made garment in the right red silk duppion.  It seems to be a plus-sized garment, so there was no question that I would be able to cut the flared skirt for this dress.  The garment was remarkably well made.  Here’s a shot of the interior underlining.  You can see a full shot of the original dress interior

I salvaged every scrap of silk and the lining from the original garment.  N2 wanted a halter style dress, so I thought I’d start with Vogue 7503, which is OOP and I’ve had in my stash for ages and never used.  The front of the dress is Vogue 7503.  The back of a smocked sundress is from Australian Smocking & Embroidery No. 75.  I took the measurements of the back elasticized band of the sundress and the measurements of the skirt as my pattern.  Once I had cut the rectangle of fabric for the back waistband, I thought I may as well use all the width and flare in the original skirt, and so stitched the back and side back pieces together and gathered them into the waistband.  Then I turned down the facing, stitched three channels for the elastic and attached it to the side fronts.  IMG_3593For the halter ties, I chose the tie pattern from another Australian Smocking & Embroidery No. 61 sundress called Frangipani.  They’re about 2 inches wide at the top and are shaped like elongated leaves.  You can see another picture of them here on a sundress I made for Niece #1.

IMG_3595  Here’s the rather plain, princess a-line front.IMG_3601 And the more interesting back.

IMG_3602As dear N2 wanted the skirt poufy and big and party-ish as well as mid-calf to ankle length, I thought I’d add some sparkle to an otherwise plain dress.  I attached about 12 inched of red sparkle tulle to the bottom 8 inches of the lining.  It looks uneven in the photo above, but that’s due to it’s not hanging straight on the hanger.  If I manage to get any good pictures at the party this weekend, I’ll post them for you to see.IMG_3591 Oh, and as a lark… yeeeeeeears ago… a good friend suggested it was rather not in the best interest of my abilities (!?) to send all my smocking, embroidery and little dress coats out into the world without any credit, so he designed a label for the garments I make for children.  Three buttons for my three girls.  Cute, eh?IMG_3606Well, this dress is a good example of how I mix and match patterns to get what I’m wanting.  Do you do this pattern slash, burn and mix & match thingy, too?

MMJ Day 5

tie dye 2Well, I salvaged the tie dye knit from that dreadful concoction called Vogue 1250.  You can see the original disaster in my previous post.  I purchased the fabric to make another version of Donna Karan’s wrap dress from Vogue 1159, and, thanks to piecing the remains of the disaster and the little bit of yardages I’d not used, managed to sew it up after all.

So here’s my salute to the tie dye world.   And I like it a million times better than that other dress. Outfit:  Vogue 1159

Activities:  My niece’s first communion and a small family get-together at my MIL’s afterwards.

Thoughts:  This design is very comfortable to wear.  I did change a few things from the first version during the construction, and fiddling afterwards while wearing it.  I was still pulling threads and cutting away linings in the car on the way to the church!mommy bella hannah

It was a day full of me-made items.  DD1 and DD3 decided to wear dresses made at home.  Hannah’s dress was her summer project last year, and although she loves wearing it, she is not interested in sewing for herself.  She’d rather be creative on a miniature scale.  Here’s the Flickr set.    And Isabella is wearing a sundress I smocked for Hannah about 5 years ago.   I’ll add the details to Tia Dia Needleworks soon, I hope.  It’s a green & white gingham with hearts picture smocked on the front.  There’s small ruffles around the arms and neckline, and a deeper one at the hemline that are accentuated with orange and pink spider web flowers.mia dress smocking

And my first niece wore a sundress I’d made for her birthday last year.  There’s a certain sense of fun and satisfaction to see garments one’s made being worn with pleasure and flattering the wearer.  This little dress was made of batik, bound withmia dress back Liberty of London and smocked in the front.  I must say smocking the batik was awful.  It’s not a dyed batik, but a printed one, and the printing put an almost impenetrable finish on the cotton, so the smocking could only be done in small doses.  The original design was navy blue with white binding, which is very classic, but doesn’t suit the lively personality of my niece.  Every birthday she requests a new dress, and this year she wants a “something made by Tia Dia” in purple!

And here’s my parting shot…

mmj 5 shoes

Some needlework

Wow.  I can’t believe it’s almost the end of May and I’ve hardly done any sewing… or blogging for that matter.  I just haven’t done much to share with you, dear reader!

I did sew up a gown for a friend of mine who had a concert a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t able to get any decent photos, so I haven’t mentioned it.  She’s coming over on Wednesday, and I hope to get photos and write the review later this week.  We used Kay Unger’s design for Vogue 1206 and a french navy satin-backed crepe.  It was very elegant, and I can’t wait to show you the pictures!

image courtesy of

Last week was spent shopping and opera-going with a good friend of mine visiting from Edmonton, so my sewing table was very sadly neglected.  I did manage to finish up the smocking on a dress for DD3, though.

P5230002It’s now blocked and ready for the embroidery, which I will take along with me this coming weekend  on a training course.  Hopefully I’ll get the embroidery finished so I can put the dress together when I get back next week…. when it’s JUNE!

And speaking of June, I’d like to add my little commitment to Me-Made-June ’11.

I, Tia Dia of MezzoCouture, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June ’11. I endeavour to wear at least one Me-Made item each day for the duration of June 2011.

Voilà!  Now I’d better get sewing and pray for warm weather, since most of my MezzoCouture garments are for warmer-than-we’ve-been-having weather….