Special Occasion Sewing

Every year I try to make something to wear during the holiday season. Last year I made a fringe dress and this year I’ve already made a sparkling bolero. I was planning on making a special occasion dress, and midway decided my dress was better of becoming a three-piece.

The idea was to make an outfit for my nieces’ wedding that I could also wear for Christmas and/or new years. I knew I could get some pretty lace and embroidered fabrics at the market so after a though selection process I bought this blue embroidered tulle with a thick satin type fabric to put under it.

The initial idea was to make a dress that had the embroidered fabric on the skirt and to cut out one of the flowers of the embroidered fabric to put on the bodice. Whilst sewing the base of the dress I really liked the dress as a plain dress and decided to make the embroidered fabric a loose over-skirt. Because I had some fabric left I also made a bolero to wear on top of the dress. I’ll break down how I made each piece.

The dress

For the dress I used piece I’ve all used before. The bodice is the princess seam bodice from Gertie’s ultimate dresses book. I’ve used this bodice before and really like the fit. I also used short sleeves from the same book. The skirt is a half circle skirt I drafted myself and use regularly for skirts and dresses. The flared skirt from the book is very similar to this shape.

Because this fabric is on the heavy side I chose to not line the dress. I used a facing to finish the neckline and serged all the edges for a clean finish on the inside.

I haven’t used any of the embroidered fabric on this dress so it’s a great basic to wear with other things. It goes great with the sequin bolero I recently made. I worn the dress with the sequin bolero to Christmas dinner.

The Bolero

It was a bit of a puzzle, but I’ve managed to squeeze out a bolero of the fabric I had left. I really like this bolero pattern, since I’ve made it twice in a row. It’s just a great basic and quick to sew.

Just like the dress I’ve opted to not line this bolero jacket. The seams are all serged on the inside for a clean finish. The neckline edge is bound with bias binding from the same fabric.

To tie the bolero in with the embroidered outer skirt I very carefully cut out one of the flowers from the top end of the fabric to create an applique. I pinned the applique in place on the front of the bolero and stitched it by hand to the fabric using tiny stitches. I also used four different colors of thread to match with the different colors of the applique. This was a time consuming project but very worth it!

The Over-Skirt

The final part of this outfit is the over-skirt. I decided to do boxpleats all around. First I cut the fabric to my desired length. After cutting is was a lot of measuring, pinning and pleating to get it the way I wanted. I then basted the pleats in place and added a waistband.

Inserting a zipper wasn’t an option for this skirt because it would be very visible through the fabric. I made a hook and eye closure on the waistband to get the skirt on. I left a part of the centerback seam open (where the zipper would normally be) and stitched the seam allowance down so it would look more finished.

I’m really happy with the end result! I really like this idea of having three pieces in my closet that I can mix and match with other pieces in my closet to make them suitable for multiple occasions.

Also, the wedding of my niece was amazing. A beautiful winter-themed wedding! I can’t wait for my turn to get married, now a short 6 months away!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you all the best for the new year!

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