Velvet is my thing. The first batch of fabric I ever got was a big black bag full of stretchy velour velvet, and I’ve kept a good stockpile of the stuff ever since.
I found a lovely skater dress in a bargain bin once that fit me so nicely and had such a nice cut. The only problem was that I hated the print. I bought it anyway, and after wearing it out a few times I decided to take it apart at the seams. My first deconstruction project! I felt like Dr Frankenstein, mwahaha! Trusty seam ripper in hand, I got all the pieces properly seperated and traced them out onto some divine purple velvet.
This was the result!
Considering that this was done some 7 or so years ago, I’m pretty proud of myself. Who needs training and technique when you can just copy an existing dress? Nah, I’m just kidding, that’s exactly when you need to know what’s cracking. But in this case, I lucked out and managed to sew fitted sleeves and box pleats without ever having seen it done before. Thankfully the original had no zips or closures of any kind, because trying to reproduce any of that would have been a disaster.
There was a vital sewing rule that I didn’t know, and that was PAY ATTENTION TO THE BIAS! Obviously with a one-way stretch fabric like this, it’s really important to lay your pattern pieces the right way. (Or the sad remains of another dress, in this instance). Thankfully, my ignorance didn’t lead to any huge disasters in this area though. One sleeve was cut on the bias while the other wasn’t, with the result of one stretchy sleeve with a bit of give, and one with no stretch at all. Whoops.
Also noticeable is where my skirt side seams connect – there’s a teeny bit of gathering on the one side, but shhh! Our little secret. It’s not really noticeable thanks to the drape of the skirt and the weight of the fabric, phew.
The dress today…
Back when this was made, I was youthful and more active. And thus quite a bit skinnier, but now, I have grown. In body, if not in mind, teehee! Although velour velvet has A LOT of stretch, it has its limits. I love this dress too much to force it to its maximum just to fit over my head. It has been hanging in my closet, coveted but untouched for years. I’m pleased to announce that at the end of this week it will be going to a happy new home.
While very kindly helping me out with a photoshoot, Lauren modelled the dress and it fit her beautifully! So while it is a sad farewell from me, I’m pleased that it will actually get worn. And is this not just a match made in velvety heaven?
If you liked this Creation Chronicle, contact us to arrange your own Studio Brinnjal purple velvet skater dress in South Africa.