Ah, the Melbourne Cup...fashion, food and champers. Horses? Oh yes, there may have been horses. Actually I wish there hadn't, I disagree with horse racing. However, I do love a fancy lunch, so couldn't refuse when invited by a lovely friend to a Cup lunch at a local private school. What a day! Beautiful food, great company, a fashion parade, prizes. I loved every minute.
But back to the fashion, since that's what I really want to talk about. This is the Amare dress by Savage Coco Patterns, the designer of the hugely popular Presto Popover Top.
The thing is though, this is not actually a new dress, it's a refashioned version of the Amare I made some time back. The original dress was supposed to be the length of this remodeled dress, but in a fit of poor decision-making I chopped the hem and made it knee length. Although I loved the dress, the length and proportions were wrong, so I never wore it. When pondering my wardrobe for Cup day contenders, I pulled it out and decided to lengthen it.
I had the fabric to add to the bottom of the dress, but I didn't want to attach it with a normal seam as it would have looked like the afterthought that it was. I cast my mind back to some sewing I did in the eighties (!) where I used store-bought faggoting to lengthen a dress. I knew I would never be able to buy faggotting in a matching colour, so did a quick search and found a tutorial for hand-sewn faggoting. Basically, the raw edges are overlocked and turned under. They are then basted to paper to hold the opening in place for the hand-stitching (I used extra, extra long stitches on my machine for the basting).
Once the hand sewing is done, the basting is unpicked and the paper removed. You can see where I unpicked the basted paper and the original hem below, but only on very close inspection!
I think the dress looks way better with the length increased to what was intended in the original design. I'm also super-pleased with the faggoting. It adds a little something to the plain linen and was pretty easy to do. As an added bonus, Nicki informed me on Instagram that faggoting is totally up to the minute and that Zac Posen used it in his latest collection. When I saw that longer hemlines were also in at the Melbourne Cup this year, I knew that finally my fashion planets had aligned and I was on-trend for one happy day!
I was planning to make a hat to go with my outfit, but ran out of time. Instead, I whipped up this flower from leftover linen. It was made by tearing long strips of linen, approximately 5cm wide, gathering them along one edge and rolling the strip into a flower shape. The underside was secured with hand stitches and I sewed it on to a clip to put in my hair. Done in under 30 minutes.