Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Red Velvet Holiday Dress

Well, it certainly has been a while.

Finally my studies are over for the semester and I can relax - and naturally do some sewing!

I had thought about making a holiday dress for myself for the 24th of December when we go visit family, but I didn't have anything in particular in mind.

I usually try to make clothes I can wear for more than one occasion, but when I scored about 3 yards of red stretch velvet for 1.5 euros at a thrift store, I decided to go all out and make a holiday dress that is wearable for only that one day of the year.

The fabric was a rich red, with star imprints. The imprint on the fabric is really hard to photograph and it's very subtle even in real life, but still I think it adds to the overall holiday-ness of this dress.

I used a pattern that was very loosely based off of The Garden Party Dress pattern by Honig Design. I started off with the pattern but then I altered the sleeves to a bishop sleeve style, then I needed to adjust the fit of the bodice so I ended up making darts that ran over the shoulders and then I also wanted to change the neckline. I didn't use the pattern for the skirt at all, but instead made a gathered skirt. Oh, and the original pattern is made for non-stretchy fabrics and since my fabric had stretch, I skipped the zipper. So in the end, it's like 10% of the original pattern and 90% of my own mess, but I thought I should mention the pattern (it's free!) in case if fits your body better than it did mine. :)

Here are my pieces all piled up:

I used two full-width rectangles for the skirt (and added pockets, of course!):

As I was making this project, I learned that velvet makes a huge mess. Red velvet stuff everywhere (I think it's called "pile"?) Well anyway, velvet pile everywhere. I also learned that velvet is a pain to photograph. The color looks different in every photo I took...

I gathered the waistline by hand and then serged the waistband on.

I assembled the bodice and sleeves (the sleeves have cuffs and are gathered to fit), then noticed the bodice didn't fit me at all - the shoulders were too wide, which made the sleeves look funny when I put the bodice on.

I didn't want to take the sleeves off to make the shoulders narrower (because laaaaazyyyy), so I played around a bit with some darts that ran from the original darts over the shoulders to the other side of the bodice. And with these weird shoulder darts I managed to make the bodice fit better. I also made the neckline wider and deeper and made a facing for it.


Lastly, I attached the bodice to the skirt and hemmed the skirt by hand.

Hem, hem, hem your skirt, gently with a needle; merrily, merrily--


And the dress was done!

Seriously, the color of the velvet seems to change in every. damn. photo.
It was so annoying to take photos of. :D

Here are some photos of the dress worn:

"Oh, what a nice dress you have there." "Thanks, you too!" :D



I am fairly pleased with how this dress turned out. It's festive and it has sleeves (necessary because it's kind of cold) and pockets (necessary because pockets), and overall I like the style of it.

How do you like this over-the-top Xmas dress? :)

Satu / Sew Scoundrel


  1. So cute!!!
    I wish I could find fabric in thrift shops...

    1. Thanks!
      I've found that I need to make rounds at the thrift stores pretty regularly to find anything. If they have any good fabric it goes right away, so I need to be there when it comes in... which means pretty regular visits at my local secondhand stores. They already greet me by name at one of the stores, that's how often I go there :D

  2. A great job again! Maybe you could use it on New Years Eve too? XD

    1. Thanks! Hmm, maybe I could, but I think New Years Eve is more black/gold/silver/glitter colored than red :D