Monday 14 October 2013

Red October: Meet my Poodle Dress

Poodle Dress - how cute is that? ;)
I know the fabric and pattern was not in my sewing list, but when I saw the fabric I just couldn't resist! It actually screamed at me "buy me". So I did :) I knew immediately that I wanted to use it for a dress with the Poodles being the skirt and a black or white fabric the bodice.

The only problem was, I didn't know which pattern I could use. I don't really have a nicely fitted bodice - I thought - because then I remembered that I actually fitted the bodice of Vogue V8766 in the Craftsy class "Sew the perfect fit" with Lynda Maynard. I never came around to fit the skirt, but I did fit the bodice. Win.

Vogue V8766 - I made the bodice of the blue dress.
I wanted to have a floaty skirt, one that was not cut on the bias because then the Poodles wouldn't be straight. The problem was all my skirt patterns are on the bias. But then I remembered the Picnic Blanket Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. This was one of the first skirts that I made and I thought it would be perfect to go with the bodice!

I love this lace!

Luckily I had some black poplin and lining in my stash and so I could sew a lined bodice. I made a proper lining - the one where you pull the bodice through the shoulder to turn it right side out. I then finished the side seams with french seams (first time that I used this method) to get a neat finish.

More lace, cute tights and boots :)
Then I gathered the skirt to fit my bodice, sewed it on and went to bed. But then made the mistake to watch the free Craftsy class about how to insert a normal zipper, got excited and got up again to sew in that zipper, hem the dress and attach the lace until 2:30 am! I went happily to bed until the next morning.

Ugly zipper and as you can see fluff loves to stick to the bodice.
When I tried on the dress I realised that it was 2" to big at the waist! My boyfriend was still in bed and when I said "Hm, at least it will still fit me when I am pregnant some day", he told me to go and make breakfast, hihi. Not only is the dress to big, but also there are lots of puckers next to the zipper. That is because there are two layers of lining under the zipper and they were slipping like crazy despite basting and pinning.

Too big :(

Having a little chat with Charlie from thisblogisnotforyou, she convinced me to take out the zipper again and make the dress smaller at the waist. That's what I did. And surprisingly my date with the seam ripper didn't take that long :) I made the dress 1.5" smaller at the waist and now it fits nicely. This time when sewing in the zipper I just attached it to the poplin and later hand stitched the lining on. In case you wonder that I am not showing you any photos of the improved dress - the zipper still looks ugly - I have the feeling even worse.

And because the dress has loads of red and because it is October I decided to participate in Red October organised by the Sewcialists. Check out their Flickr group to see all the other makes that will pop up in October :)

Linked at


  1. Hmmm... I'm not sure what is causing the problem with your zipper but it might be that the fabric is not stable enough to stay in place while you're sewing your zipper. I can see two possible solutions. The first would be to hand sew the zipper. You might look at this post for some help with that:

    The second option would be to use stay tape. You might look at Gertie's method (posted today) for some instructions:

    If you decide to unpick the zipper and do it again, either of these methods might solve the problem you're having with your fabric. Otherwise, a cute cardigan would do the trick! Your dress is so cute the only thing I would find unacceptable would be to leave it hanging in the closet!

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Debera. I just checked out the sewaholic tutorial and I might be able to follow this one without actually having to unpick my hand stitched lining. Thank you! And as for the use of stay tape, I think I will try this one for my next zipper!

  2. This is an adorable dress - I love that poodle fabric! As for the zip, I've started adding a strip of fusible interfacing to the fabric where the zip will be placed (based on tips from the fashion incubator ) and that has really improved my zips :)

    1. Thank you :) Actually, ahm, I put some fusible interfacing on the red fabric to stabilize the zip but didn't fuse any to the black fabric because I thought the lining is there and might make it more stable. Thanks for this reminder and also the link!

  3. omg! I love it! I love the poodle fabric - where did you get it? Too bad the zipper still didn't work out the second time, but the dress looks amazing anyway. If I saw it in the store, I'd buy it immediately :)

    1. Thank you :) I bought the fabric in fabricland in Brighton. Its an Hill-Berg fabric and I found it in the kids fabric corner :) Hopefully my next zipper will look better!

  4. That poodle fabric is AWESOME! Love the lace trim, too.


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