Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My hen night dress

Well it's taken me ages to get this post written up, my excuse was moving house and other more important things!

Anyway, Mr N popped the question in Amsterdam about three years ago and now we've finally moved to New Zealand, we decided it was time to set a date! We didn't want to rush things you know :-) Plus it makes it certain that we'll only have a small number of people, since few can afford to come out! Only joking! This is where we want to live as a married couple and so this is where we wanted to get married - simples!

Since many of my friends couldn't make the wedding, I had a hen night in England, when we went back to at the end of May briefly. By all accounts, I think it was when they had their summer. No kidding the whole time we were there it was wall to wall sunshine, temperatures in the high 20s AND all across the country they'd put the flags out for us - even in central London - we were quite touched... :-)

Mr N's daughter offered to organise my hen night for me, so I had no idea until the day before what I was doing, when she presented me with a large envelope with the details! Unfortunately she was busy finishing off her fashion and knitwear design degree at uni and couldn't come along. :-( [As an aside, the hard work has paid off and she got a first for her dissertation and a 2:1 overall, we are so proud and chuffed.]

Anyway, I keep digressing! I needed a dress for such an occasion. What is a girl to wear for a hen night? I toyed with a 50's style fitted bodice, full skirt dress, then eventually found the perfect pattern...McCalls 6505. Hang on, I hear you cry, that's not a 50's style dress. Mm, I know, but this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I bought the pattern online and downloaded it, being meticulous with my taping together.

Fabric, what fabric? Mm, anything in the stash? Nope, oh well, it looks like I'll have to go to Global Fabrics - such a hardship - I love that shop!

I found this beautiful grey silk with lime green embroidery. Is it not gorgeous and so much nicer than lace! What to line it with? I guess if I wanted I could have found a lime green, but I decided to stick with the grey instead.

I promise I'll iron the fabric next time!

Only after buying that and getting home, I realised I needed a trim for the neck and sleeves. Nothing in Global Fabrics, it's no good, I'll just have to go to Spotlight... But I found exactly what I needed. I thought it was going to be too cheap looking to start, but the lime green sequin trim works.

Being slapdash as usual, I didn't make a muslin, I just cut it out, measuring meticulously, honest! I still measure twice/three times before cutting, even if I don't create a muslin. I actually cut the lining and sewed that together to check the fit before cutting the silk. The theory being the lining didn't cost so much and I'd not wasted it :-) Like my thinking or no?

The instructions were not the clearest in some places and I ended making some of it up! According to the pattern the darts in the back dress should have been stitched with the lining, I did them separately. Truth is, I got confused between dress, lining and underlining! Yes, the lining is actually lined as well, there's fabric all over the place! The dress called for an invisible zip and had I thought about it earlier, I'd have left the back seam open before inserting the zip, as it was I struggled with the dress and lining sewing in the zip with the seam already sewn up. Then I had to attach the underlining to that!

I honestly think the Gods were on my side, the whole dress went together without a hitch! The sleeve and neck edges on the main dress are finished with a zig zag stitch before hand sewing the sequin trim. The back of the neck is finished with the lining fabric, this is the one bit of the dress I'm not convinced by, but at least I chose a neutral lining, it might have looked odd with a lime green lining fabric. Any other thoughts? Would it be too much to sew more sequins down the back? The front of the neck also has gauze or net attached to it to give a bit more stability.

All the seams in the main silk dress are French seams and I hand sewed the hem on the silk too.

I was really pleased with the finished dress and certainly my hens liked it! Methinks it may have to have another outing my my kiwi hen night! :-)

Oh, you want a photo of the real thing, I nearly forgot!

 Oops! Wrong one!

Is this one better?


  1. Gorgeous. love the fabric too

  2. So lovely! I'm glad it was a dream to go together as well. As an aside, Global Fabrics has a 50% off sale at the moment, I'm heading down to Wellington just for it... Fancy meeting up? Fabric hopping is much more fun with a partner in crime!

    1. Mm, I got the email too! I got to the VIP sale and bought far too much, but a girl can never have too much in her stash and I'm very good at convincing others to buy stuff too! Arthur Toye has had a sale, but that may have finished now... When you coming down? Email me 1107nikki at gmail dot com

  3. (Belated) congratulations on your engagement! Your dress is just lovely, that fabric is so gorgeous. The lime green sequins are the perfect touch,they look wonderful together. Sounds like a really fun night!

    1. Thanks Carolyn! It was a great night. Tickets to Singing in the Rain on stage, a meal out, then off to a cocktail bar! I have to admit, I think it was your New Look 6699 dresses that convinced me to try a dress out like this!

  4. Fantastic dress!! That silk is just lovely. Perfect choice. Belated congratulations on your engagement as well :-)