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The Exam Stress Dress

Polkadot dress

Nothing beats stress like avoiding your responsibilities and doing some crafty sewing instead! This post is so titled because I whipped this dress up while I was studying for my final Art History exam. Polkadots cheer me up, and if you could see the stacks of books and notes on my desk, you’d be in need of a polkadot dress too.

Polkadot dress

I allowed myself 30 min study breaks every so often (too often!) and so the dress progressed in half-hour sessions. It was the shortest amount of time I ever spent on one garment start-to-finish so there must be some magic that happens within a 30 minute sewing session! I bought the polka dot fabric yonks ago with plans for a flirty summer dress, but couldn’t quite decide on which style I preferred. During my internet browsing (ahem, studying) recently, I was drooling over some vintage katjusha style dresses and finally made up my mind.

The Job

I never knew shirring could be so fun until now. I was actually loathe to insert the elastics once I had done the casings – I was too excited about my beautiful (sans a ruler) straight lines! But playing with the elastics and gathering was equally fun for a while. Am I becoming a crazy seamstress of the cat lady variety to find such things so exhilarating? The neighbour’s cat visits all the time and if I leave food out she’ll sleep on the bed… I don’t actually have a cat, sadly. However, le Boyfriend and I are considering getting a fluffy companion in the near future. 

Polkadot dress

Aaaanyway, I don’t really have much to say about this dress, except that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it come to life. I made the boobies a liiiittle too big, but no-one would really know. Padded bras are useful. It’s fully lined, and I was originally going to do piping along the bust but settled on using the ribbon as bias tape instead. Oh my word what a schlep to get that done evenly, I should have used a wider ribbon. Or actual bias tape. The hem is just folded over double and stitched. Still playing with the idea of adding halter neck straps, but right now I love the straplessness.

Polkadot dress

There’s an awesome pattern with instructions for a bustier dress by Miasu on BurdaStyle, which I used for the bodice of this dress. I had to adjust the pattern quite a lot though because I have quite a different body shape to her. Instead of her zipper back piece I did the elastic shirring. The skirt is a quarter-circle and self-drafted, with one seam at the back – easy peasy. It’s a remarkably comfy fit that hides my broad hips, yay, and the flirty cheerfulness of the whole ensemble makes me happy.

Polkadot dress

A note on the background:

The purple starry effect is completely accidental, but so, so magical. We had pinned up a large sheet of black fabric over my curtains, which are red with white stars. The idea was for a plain black background for professional-looking photographs. We took the photos during the day with light coming through the window, which led to this stunning effect.

Polkadot dress

Special thanks to Jess for helping with the photoshoot and lending me the gorgeous red heels!

If you enjoyed this Creation Chronicle, feel free to contact Studio Brinnjal for your own custom polkadot dress in South Africa.

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