Phoenix Dress – Tessuti Awards

I made this dress for the Tessuti Awards this year which I have never entered before. The premise was to make a knee length formal dress (suitable for a wedding, cocktail event etc) using one of the two fabric options supplied, in my case, Flame Red Taffeta. You could use a commercial pattern or design your own.

I came up with my own design, inspired by a phoenix (literally the first thing I thought of when I thought ‘red’ and ‘dress’ – too much Harry Potter?), the main phoenix design element being the cutout back which is questionably a bit flame-like and feathery.

This dress was one of those sewing experiences that I have learned enormously from, but nearly gave up sewing over!! Often when I sew, I make decisions that I know I will regret later but carry on with them anyway, thinking that future self will be smarter than current self, and come up with an effortless solution to the problem. One of the worst decisions here was choosing a really flimsy lining for the stiff outer fabric (seriously because I thought it wouldn’t be as cold to wear as a bemsilk lining; I live in Brisbane, is it ever actually cold?). This made lining the dress EXTREMELY difficult and time consuming and is unfortunately rather unprofessionally finished.

Overall it was a good first time experience I think, and there were some amazing dresses entered, particularly this one by Erica Lewis, which I hoped would win the minute I saw it. The finalists are here.

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Fabric: Tessuti Flame Red Taffeta
Pattern: My own design

Elephant Garden Dress

Righto, it seems that I am writing a blog about what I make to wear. And there’ll probably be some other stuff here as well. I find this a largely self-conscious process but wanted somewhere to keep track of what I’ve made and what I’m doing so this was it.

I made this using the Elisalex Dress pattern from By Hand London with some alterations. Nothing huge, just lowered the front neckline and used a gathered skirt instead of the tulip skirt the pattern comes with. I also didn’t add sleeves to this. I wanted this to be an everyday summer dress so it is overall quite casual. The fabric is from Spotlight, when I was there to JUST get a zip.

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