I loved the silhouette, but mostly the golden bees on the collar. Bees communicate through the medium of dance, which makes them instantly awesome in my book. Also, honey. A google search pointed out that the dress was available here, with a Silence of the Lambs reference I don't really get, since it's called the black bee dress and those are clearly bees, not moths... Did I miss something in the book?
Anyway, I liked the dress, but didn't care for the price tag or the mystery material so I pulled a Roisin and set out to make my own. I've loved the Bleuet pattern by Deer & Doe for ages but was a bit unsure about it working on me. After realising that I could just unbutton the top buttons like I'd do with any shirt I stopped resisting and went for it. (The gorgeous versions Paunnet has been churning out might have helped as well!)
And what fabric do we use for a dress we've never made before, with some fiddly details such as a collar stand and loads of buttons? Black velvet of course! I had been warned about how tricky velvet was to sew with, but the cocky me took over and just went 'pshaw, it'll be fine!'. I don't have to tell you, it was not. I was making this dress on a deadline, for a job interview I had in a store where everyone had to wear black (the mission maxi was a bit too dramatic for the occasion...) and after cutting everything out with no problems I was sure this was going to be a breeze.
All those stories about sewing with velvet? THEY'RE TRUE. LISTEN TO THE INTERNET FROM TIME TO TIME. This is what I had to do to make my fabric stay put whilst sewing:
Yeah, that's a shitload of pins and hand-basting. I'm not lying when I say I basted every single seam on this thing. Good thing I enjoy handsewing.
You know what else velvet likes to do? Shed. My place looked like there was a massive bug infestation, the boyfriend even reported bits of black fluff in his underwear. As a consequence, I decided to bind every seam with seam binding:
All this meant loads of extra work, but in the end I'm very happy with my dress (even if I didn't get the job). I'm sure you're tired of hearing me complain about making it by now, so here it is:
|I look very pissed because there was sun in my eyes.
The dress is a really cute and girly take on a classic shirt dress. It has the collar and collar stand, but the princess seams give a great shape and the little bow at the back finishes it off perfectly.
I really wanted to add the bees from my inspiration picture, so I set out to find a way to embroider on black velvet. In the end I found a local store that sold Soluvlies, white and papery stuff you can draw on, baste it in place, embroider and then rinse off. It looked like this when I was working on them:
I loved how this worked and will definitely use this method again! Just not on velvet. or with metallic thread (seriously, it's like my brain just went: 'sewing on a deadline? Let's use the most complicated materials you have around!').
I'll end with another picture of
I'll definitely make the Bleuet again, it's a flattering dress that can be made in a variety of fabrics, working for loads of occasions. My kind of pattern!